Calling on the UN General Assembly to investigate Israel’s crime against humanity of apartheid
Dear [title and name of official]
We are writing to you in the wake of Israel’s recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza to implore you to take immediate action to end the ongoing systematic oppression and murder of Palestinians. With the United National General Assembly (UNGA) meetings coming up in September we ask that you heed the calls of Palestinian civil society and demand that the UN establish an investigation into Israel’s crime against humanity of apartheid.
Israel’s recent aggression, its 5th since 2008, resulted in at least 44 people killed, 15 of whom are children, many murdered in their own homes. In besieged Gaza, there is no safe haven to protect Palestinians from Israel’s violent aggressions.
Already in its 15th year, the siege is older than most of the children murdered in its repeated massacres there since 2008. The siege deprives over two million Palestinians, the majority of them children, of basic necessities, including clean water, jobs, reliable electric power, as well as adequate housing, healthcare, and education. As a result, morbidity, mortality (especially infant mortality), stunted growth, and poverty rates have risen sharply, reducing the lives of people there to hell. Israel’s siege of Gaza is condemned by the UN as illegal and described by human rights experts as a crime against humanity. Ilan Pappe, a prominent Israeli historian, has described it as “incremental genocide.”
The repeated massacres in Gaza and the continued criminal siege are one especially deadly aspect of Israel’s settler-colonialism which has been imposing a regime of apartheid against Palestinians since 1948. This year has seen an international consensus of human rights organizations and experts emerge confirming what Palestinians have been saying for decades, that Israel is an apartheid state. This consensus, which includes the world’s most prominent international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International¹ and Human Rights Watch², United Nations Special Rapporteur³, as well as Israeli human rights organizations⁴, highlights the urgent need for the UN to take concrete action to dismantle Israel’s apartheid.
South Africa and Namibia, whose populations have a first hand experience of apartheid and the struggle that ultimately dismantled it, have been spearheading the growing recognition also among governments that a paradigm shift and international action to investigate Israel for the crime of apartheid are essential for peace and justice in the region.
We therefore urge you to ask our government to join other states during the upcoming UNGA to re-establish the same mechanisms that helped dismantle apartheid in South Africa.
Palestinians have been suffering for over 70 years because of the silence and inaction by the international community, which is responsible for creating their plight. Our country has a moral and legal obligation to stop crimes against humanity wherever they take place. Silence is complicity, so we must stand on the right side of history. We urge you to take the righteous and courageous step at the upcoming UNGA and help the Palestinian people end the systematic oppression they have endured for so long.
1. Amnesty International, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity, 1 February 2022.
2. Human Rights Watch (HRW), A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, 27 April 2021.
3. UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, Report, 21 March 2022, UN Doc. A HRC/49/85.
4. B’Tselem, A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid, 12 January 2021.