Facts About Israeli Apartheid [index]

Apartheid and Discrimination in the State of Israel

In Israel, Jews and Palestinians are labeled from birth and treated differently throughout their lives. They have unequal access to social and economic privileges including land, education, employment and social welfare. 1, 43

Separate is Never Equal.

The descendants of Palestinians that remained in Israel after the 1948 war are now over 1 million people, approximately 20% of the population. These Palestinians face rampant discrimination. The discrimination is sometimes from individuals and other times, systemic and codified in law. 2, 44 Israel is a very segregated society. Most Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews live in separate communities, go to separate schools, and shop at separate stores. 3, 44 The state also categorizes them separately: The Population Registry Law (1965) requires all residents of Israel to register their ethnic group and religion with the population registry and to obtain identity cards, that usually indicate these differences. 48

This discriminatory policy fits the United Nations' definition of Apartheid.

Separate Unequal Application of the Law to Jew and Non-Jew

The Israeli Law Resource Center tracks apartheid laws in Israel [view]

- Beginning with the rights of residence and citizenship, the Law of Return grants immigrant and residency rights to anyone who claims a Jewish identity (defined as a child or grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew, and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew)but refuses the right of return to Palestinians and their descendants who were expelled in 1948. 2, 3, 4, 44

- While Jews receive citizenship to Israel for just being Jewish, even Palestinians who marry Israelis are denied citizenship and even the right to live with their family in Israel under a 2003 law. B’Tselem and other human rights groups say the law is racist. 2, 3, 4, 44

-70% of prisoners in Israel are Palestinian. Under a 1979 emergency power law, people in Israel may be arrested and held without charge for 6 months. This law is almost exclusively applied to Palestinians. 37

- “A dual system of law discriminates between Jewish Israelis and indigenous Palestinians based on a constructed status of 'Jewish nationality'. This prejudicial application of law is apparent in all processes of the legal system, from the rights to information and fair trial to detention and prison treatment.” Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 5
Institutional Discrimination
  • B'Tselem reports that 67% of Palestinian families live below the poverty line, comparted with 29% of Israeli families. 30, 31
  • Arabs have lower levels of education: 35.3% did not attend high school. The proportion of Arabs in the workforce is low (54.9% in the 25-54 age range). 30,32
  • Infant mortality rates among Arabs are twice those among Jews. The gap has existed since the establishment of the state and has grown over the years. 32
  • Israeli Arabs have lower rates of employment and are over-represented in low-paying jobs. Jews have considerably higher employment rates (57% compared to 39%, of Arabs over the age of 15). 32,22
  • Annual spending per welfare case: Arab 900 NIS vs Jewish 2100 NIS. 32,33
  • Arab citizens are not eligible for the "Child Benefit" social security program - entitlement is conditioned to military service. 34
  • According to a report by the US State Department, in 2004, only 3% of civil service employees in Israel were from the Arab sector. 35
  • Arabs hold only 50 out of 5,000 university faculty positions; and of the country's 61 poorest towns, 48 are Arab. 36

Palestianians ethnically cleansed in 1948. 47

Apartheid started with Ethnic Cleansing and Land Expropriation
Information on Ethnic Cleansing

- Between 1947-49: At least 700,000 Arabs were displaced and ethnically cleansed and their villages were destroyed. More than 80 percent of the total Palestinian population was expelled from the country. “More than 530 Palestinian villages were depopulated and completely destroyed.” Many Jewish settlements were then built on top of the destroyed villages. 9

- Approximately 30% of the 150,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel were expelled from their homes and became internally displaced refugees. 10

- From 1948 until 1966, Palestinians inside Israel were subject to military law, while Jews lived under civilian law. During that time, 66 percent of Arab-owned land was confiscated. These lands were transferred for the exclusive use of Jewish citizens and new immigrants, and over 600 Jewish settlements were built over former Arab towns.

- While military rule was lifted in 1966, Arab citizens of Israel continued to be subjected to state policies that restricted and marginalized them as a community. 12

- Land Expropriation: The Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights.

- The Absentee Property Law (adopted in 1950) declares that anyone who left the country in 1948 is an absentee, and that his/her property comes under the control of the state. This law was used only against Arabs. Arabs who remain in the country but who were compelled to leave their land are called "present absentees." 13 The land was eventually used for the purposes of Jewish only settlements. 14

- In 1945, Palestinians owned 85% of arable land. The U.N. Conciliation Commission estimated that about 80 percent of the land in what is today Israel is property formerly owned by Palestinians that was confiscated by Jewish organizations like the Jewish Agency. Until recently Palestinians were forbidden by Israeli law from owning it or leasing it. 15

- Today, Israeli Palestinians are largely landless -- they own about 3% of the land in Israel. Since 1948, the Arab population has increased by a factor of 6.6 but it has lost 84% of its land reserves. As of 1947, Jews in Palestine owned under 7% of the Palestinian lands, and after the 1948 war, 80%. 16

Palestinian Land Rights are Taken Away and Restricted

Unrecognized Villages: Today, 140,000 Palestinian Arabs live in over 100 so-called "unrecognized villages," mainly in Galilee and the Negev desert.

Village without power, power line above and generator below. Village with no access to water with well nearby. No garbage collection. 45

- The National Planning and Building Law (1965) retroactively re-zoned the lands on which many Arab villages sit as "non-residential." The consequence of this is that despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of the state, they have been afforded no official status. 17

- Unrecognized villages are not on any map, receive no running water, electricity, have no connection to sewer systems, no public support for school or health care. Residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages. 17

Housing Segregation and Discrimination in Funding for Arab Communities

-In 2011, the Knesset passed a law legalizing the use of admissions committees. The law officially authorizes the rejection of applicants for residency who do not meet vague "social suitability" criteria. The law and practice have been widely used to discriminate against Palestinian and other minorities. In all, these admissions committees operate in 70 Israeli communities. (49, 50)

- Palestinian Israelis have been ghettoized in a small section of Israel. Most land in Israel must be leased. It is not privately owned. Until recently, Israeli Arabs were not permitted to lease land from the Israeli Land Administration, which controls 93% of the arable land in Israel. This land is either state-owned (80%) or owned by the Jewish National Fund (13%). Much of it was expropriated from Arabs.While Jewish neighborhoods grow unchecked, segregated Palestinian communities have not been allowed to expand. No new Arab areas have been created while hundred’s of Jewish areas have been. 18,19

- Institutional discrimination is in community development plans, where Palestinian neighborhoods are held to existing land allocations. In the Arab city of Nazareth, for example, the population of 13,000 Palestinians in 1947 lived on 3,000 acres. In 2007, with a population of 70,000, the city occupies only 3,100 acres, with strict limitations on any expansion. 1

- Israel's planning authorities continue to disregard the development needs of Arab towns. Due to lack of official planning procedures, thousands of houses have been built without the necessary permit and face possible demolition. The families living in houses built without permits are deprived of basic services by the state such as water, and electricity, and face eviction and demolition, etc. 27

Housing Demolitions

2007 photo of a woman and her child standing in front of demolished home in Air (Shabtai Gold/IRIN) 47

- Even in the present day, Palestinian homes are being taken or demolished. One example is 500 Palestinian families in Jaffa, an ancient Palestinian city, are facing eviction. The purpose is Judaization of the city. 2

- The development needs of Arab towns are continually disregarded by the Israeli government. Due to lack of official planning procedures, thousands of houses have been built without the necessary permit and face possible demolition. The families living in houses built without permits are deprived of basic services by the state such as water, electricity, and face eviction and demolition, etc. 27 Each year, the state demolishes dozens of houses belonging to Arab-Bedouin families in unrecognized villages in the Negev. Each time this happens, dozens of families, including children, are abandoned and left without shelter. This ongoing policy breaches the Bedouins’ right to dignity, privacy, and security. 28

Economic and Social Privilege Given to Jews

- Military service, which confers many social and economic benefits—including mortgages subsidies, partial exemptions from course fees, and preferences for public employment and housing-- is compulsory for Jewish Israelis. Ninety percent of Arabs are exempt from service and thus are denied these benefits. Orthodox Jews are also exempt but still receive benefits. 8

Segregation Allows for Unequal Funding Between Jew and Non-Jew Discrimination in funding for Arab towns

- Arab towns and villages are systematically given less funding than Jewish neighborhoods. Arabs are 20% of the population of Israel but between 2000 -- 2004, Arab citizens received less than 5% of the overall regular budget of Israel. An average of $1,415 is spent on each Jew and $310 on each Arab. As a result, in Arab communities in Israel, such vital services as garbage collection, water and sewers are often unavailable. 20

Segregation and discriminatory funding of schools

- Schools for Arab children are completely separate and inferior to schools for Jewish children.

- Figures from 2001, published by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2004, showed that students in Jewish schools received at least four times as much basic funding as students in Arab schools. 21

- Human Rights Watch states: ‘The funding disparities between the two systems are enormous….” Palestinian schools lack computers, science equipment, remedial programs for disabled children and kindergartens. Arab schools are in disrepair; the teacher: student ratio is 1:20 for Arab but 1:16 for Jewish children. The situation for Bedouin children is particularly appalling .” 22

- Teaching Arab History: Teachers are not allowed to teach students in public schools about Arab history. Israeli textbooks do not show the “Green Line” or the internationally recognized border between Israel and the occupied territories. “Teachers for the Arab schools have to be approved by the state security service, the Shin Bet, and the curriculum is designed to remove references to Palestinian history and culture.” 23

Wide Spread Racial Profiling

- Arab citizens of Israel are often discriminated against through denial of access to recreation spaces, swimming pools, water parks and other public places frequented by its Jewish citizens. 38

- Arabs are frequently taken aside at Israel’s airports and train stations and searched, often invasively. They are more likely to be detained or accompanied to the plane by security personnel. 39

Other forms of State Sponsored Discriminations

Poisoning, Uprooting of Bedouin Israeli Citizens’ Crops
The government of Israel has sent planes to spread poison on Bedouin crops, poisoning livestock and causing health problems among the population. By some accounts, this practice was halted in 2006. More often now these crops are destroyed by Israeli authorities turning them under. 40

Failure to Protect Arab Citizens During Wartime
Almost all Arab towns and villages in the northern part of Israel lack public bomb shelters or air raid sirens, even though they have been constructed in most Jewish communities. As a result, people in Arab villages died in the streets during the Lebanon war while most Jews waited out the war in shelters. 41

Failure to Compensate Jewish and Arab Citizens Equally for War Damages
After the Lebanon war, Arab villages were denied compensation for damages, thoughmany Jewish neighborhoods received funds. Interest-free loans of up to $10,000 were available, but only to Jewish businessmen or those who had served in the Israeli army, which excludes almost the entire Arab population. 42
Attitudes of Israelis toward Israeli Palestinians

  • According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) 2007 report, Israeli youths are bombarded with stereotypic, racist imagery: Over two-thirds of them believe Arabs to be less intelligent, uncultured, violent and unhygienic. 24
  • The poll showed 50% of Israelis taking part said they would not live in the same building as Arabs, will not befriend, or let their children befriend Arabs and would not let Arabs into their homes. 24
  • 81% indicated that JNF Land should be reserved for Jews only. 24
  • A 2007 ACRI report indicated racism in Israel is on the rise. The report said there was a 26% increase in racist incidents towards Arabs and the general sense of hatred towards then has doubled. 25,26

1. http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/AAFWhyApartheid.pdf
2. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=2528&l=1
3. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/08/01/MN110656.DTL http://www.acri.org.il/english-acri/engine/story.asp?id=255 http://www.monabaker.com/pMachine/more.php?id=A2104_0_1_0_M http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/racism.html
4. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/nea/119117.htm
5. http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/jointngo5-PartIII-1.pdf
6. Haaretz, Jan. 13, 2009 http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/1054867.html
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8. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/826915.html http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases/pr.php?file=09_04_14
9. http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/171.shtml http://www.badil.org/Refugees/refugees.htm www.adalah.org/features/Absentee/Adalah%20Letter%20to%20Mazuz%20Absentee%20Property http://amerikanbeat.net/2009/01/25/on-the-nature-of-israeli-apartheid
10. http://www.cjpme.org/DisplayDocument.aspx?DO=795&RecID=149&DocumentID=219&SaveMode=0
11. http://www.indypendent.org/2007/12/09/israeli-democracy-arabs-need-not-apply/
12. http://www.cjpme.org/DisplayDocument.aspx?DO=795&RecID=149&DocumentID=219&SaveMode=0
13. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Right-Of-Return/Story441.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_and_Property_laws_in_Israel#The_.27Absentees_Property_Law.27
14. http://www.adalah.org/eng/publications/violations.htm http://www.caabu.org/pdf/Israeli-Arabs-final.pdf
15. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign%20Relations/Israels%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201947/1947-1974 http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/6831561 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_National_Fund http://www.adalah.org/eng/jnf.php
16. Palestine Conciliation Commission- Progress Report to the United Nations General Assembly- A- 1985- November 1951 volumes 1-2: 1947-1974
17. http://www.indypendent.org/2007/12/09/israeli-democracy-arabs-need-not-apply/ http://www.shalomctr.org/node/382 http://www.peykarandeesh.org/noFarsi/Condition.html http://www.caabu.org/pdf/Israeli-Arabs-final.pdf http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/03/30/map
18. http://semitism.net/2005/02/09/OLD97
19. http://www.indypendent.org/2007/12/09/israeli-democracy-arabs-need-not-apply http://www.adalah.org/eng/intladvocacy/cerd-major-finding-march98.pdf
20. http://www.fmep.org/analysis/articles/israels_arab_minority.html, http://www.jfjfp.org/factsheets/arabsinisrael.htm http://www.mossawacenter.org/files/files/File/mossawa%20news%202005.pdf http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/apartheid.php http://www.jewishcurrents.org/2003-jan-muraskin.htm http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27929.htm
21. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4525.shtml
22. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2004/08/11/israel-budget-discriminates-against-arab-citizens http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/ISRAEL0901-01.htm http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/ISRAEL0901-10.htm http://abs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/49/8/1075 http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/ISRAEL0901-06.htm http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/ISRAEL0901-06.htm#P1339_191271
23. http://www.peykarandeesh.org/noFarsi/Condition.html http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/796896.html http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/21480/format/html/displaystory.html http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0999/9909019.html
24. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3481668,00.html http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3480345,00.html
25. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/mar/24/israel
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27. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3480345,00.html
28. http://www.acri.org.il/eng/Story.aspx?id=556 http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=482
29. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Jaffa/Jaffa/Story12399.html http://www.al-awda.org/pdf/factsheet.pdf
30. http://www.arabhra.org/hra/SecondaryArticles/SecondaryArticlePage.aspx?SecondaryArticle=1743
31. http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/2007 http://www.interfaithpeaceinitiative.com/apartheid.php
32. http://lists.kabissa.org/lists/archives/public/pha-exchange/msg04365.html
33. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/jointngo6-PartIII-2.pdf
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35. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61690.htm
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37. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/003/1997 http://www.btselem.org/English/Administrative_Detention/Israeli_Law.asp
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41. http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/14/1358258 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5703.shtml
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50. http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/03/30/israel-new-laws-marginalize-palestinian-arab-citizens

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