In a new report released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli government of committing crimes of apartheid and discrimination against Palestinians, prompting an angry response from Israeli officials.
The US-based advocacy group claims that the word apartheid has been used in a "descriptive or comparative" context in relation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and as a warning of what might happen if current trajectories with regard to Palestinians continue in its 213-page report.
However, the report claims that the "threshold" into a crime against humanity has already been passed, despite decades of warnings. The report states, "The Israeli government has demonstrated an aim to preserve Jewish Israelis' dominance over Palestinians throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory."
Palestinians have been subjected to systemic persecution and inhumane actions as a result of this purpose. When all three components are present, apartheid is committed," the report concludes.
The study was labeled "fiction" by Israel's Foreign Ministry, which said the allegations were "preposterous and baseless."
"Human Rights Watch is well-known for having a long-standing anti-Israel agenda, consistently promoting boycotts against Israel for years. This report is part of the organization's ongoing campaign... it has no connection to facts or reality on the ground "In a statement, the ministry replied.