Discover more from House of Wisdom
Human Rights Watch hates Israel
New York-based group to Palestinians: Binational state is what you want
Human Rights Watch hates Israel, which is understandable given that it is in vogue these days to see the world from a binary perspective: People are either white evil oppressors or non-white oppressed. The woke narrative has it that evil whites are successful only because they abused non-successful non-whites.
Perhaps because of its exceptional story of success, Israel is lumped with evil whites. In “decolonization” debates, nuance is not a thing. Nations are either colonizers or colonized. Even though half of the Israeli population had lived — until 1948 — as Arab Jews under colonization, Israel is still lumped with the colonizers, the Palestinians with the colonized. Human Rights Watch goes as far as sketching two people, Israeli Nirit and Palestinian Wissam. Nurit’s skin is clearly drawn in much lighter shade than Wissam’s skin. The organization clearly thinks that all Israeli Jews are fair skinned white people.
The arrogance of woke Western organizations becomes visible when they inject themselves into debates in faraway lands, and state — with authority — how conflicts should be settled. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the New York-based Human Rights Watch has decided: Israel should become a binational state where Israelis and Palestinians live as citizens with equal rights.
But says who that Palestinians want to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel? Says who that Palestinians are not seeking their own state, where Friday and End of Ramadan, instead of Saturday and Yom Kippur, are the official state holidays. That Human Rights Watch decides how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be settled is, to say the least, Orientalism — a tired concept that woke Western de-colonizers love to use as an accusation against White Man.
To make sense of its report, Human Rights Watch opens with a false assumption that “two primary groups live today in Israel and the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] OPT: Jewish Israelis and Palestinians.”
But among Palestinians, there are Zionists — the Arab Israelis who are members of mainstream political parties, such as the Likud, Labor and Israel Beiteinu. There are also Arab Israelis who oppose the existence of Israel and want it destroyed and replaced by a Palestinian state over all the land. Then there is the majority of Palestinians who want a Palestinian state over the 1967 land (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem), and a significant Palestinian minority that wants an Islamic State of Palestine on all the land. Palestinians who seek a binational state are mostly in Diaspora, the majority of whom can barely speak Arabic.
The Human Rights Watch report claims that Israel has “a state policy of ‘separation’ of Palestinians between the West Bank and Gaza,” and of prevention of “the movement of people and goods within the OPT.” Even in the rosiest of scenarios, the one that enjoys near global consensus, a sovereign Palestinian State would not be contiguous between the West Bank and Gaza. These two territories are separated by the internationally recognized state of Israel, and if these two Palestinian areas are ever to be connected, that can only happen with Israel’s approval. Israel’s refusal, a sovereign decision, does not constitute apartheid or crimes against humanity.
Human Rights Watch also equates another perfectly legal measure with crimes against humanity, as it cries foul against the “Judaization” of “areas with significant Palestinian populations, including Jerusalem as well as the Galilee and the Negev in Israel.”
Under international law, it can be argued that Israel is a force of occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and thus, Israel is expected to govern in an interim manner and avoid any policies that might fundamentally alter the status quo. But also under international law, Israel has sovereignty over West Jerusalem, the Galilee and the Negev, even in “areas with significant Palestinian populations.” If Israel “Judaizes” these areas, that would be the equivalent of France requiring that all its villages, even those with a predominantly North African population, raise the French flag, sing the Marseillaise as their national anthem, and use French as their native tongue.
Note that Judaism here is not religion, but culture — mainly the Hebrew language, national traditions and founding narratives, such as surviving the Holocaust. Israel does not order its citizens to observe any specific religion. There are hundreds of thousands of secular, atheist and non-observant Jews.
Then, in the middle of bashing Israel for treating its citizens as two different monolithic blocs rather than as individuals with equal rights, Human Rights Watch writes the exact opposite: Israel restricts Palestinians access to land “confiscated from them.” Them, in this context, does not refer to owners as individuals, but to Arabs as a bloc. In 1950, Israel passed a law through which it confiscated real estate of absent citizens, mainly Arabs. Most Arabs who stayed in Israel became Israeli citizens and retained ownership of their real estate.
The report applies even more spin. It tries to depict Israel as the sole authority issuing building permits in the West Bank. In reality, 40 percent of the West Bank — whose area is 2260 square miles (5,600 square km) and where the majority of the 2 million Palestinians live — is under exclusive administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, which issues building permits. In the remaining, sparsely populated, 60 percent of the West Bank, where 300 thousand Palestinians and 500 thousand Israeli Jews live, building permits are issued by Israel (and here, Israel treats its citizens with favoritism over non-citizen Palestinians).
For some reason, Human Rights Watch projects a building permit problem that affects 4.5 percent of all Palestinians on all 6.8 million Palestinians that live in both Israel and the Territories (population number is given by the organization, and cannot be substantiated).
Human Rights Watch then switches from spinning to playing on words. “In the Negev in Israel,” the report says, “Israeli authorities have refused to legally recognize 35 Palestinian Bedouin communities, making it impossible for their 90,000 or so residents to live lawfully in the communities they have lived in for decades.” Notice that these Bedouins never owned land in the Negev, and only “lived on it for decades.” This is because Bedouins are nomads, and started settling only recently. Still, Human Rights Watch wants to make it sound as if Bedouins do own the land without actually using the word “own.”
The report’s arguments get even weaker when it tries to prove that Israel, which withdrew from Gaza and dismantled Israeli settlements there in 2006, is still in fact occupying the strip. To do so, Human Rights Watch cites the Red Cross as the authority declaring Israel an occupier of Gaza. To further support such a flimsy argument, the report also cites the UN, without specifying which UN agency has declared Israel an occupier of Gaza (maybe the Human Rights Council, whose membership includes human rights champions like Iran and North Korea).
Finally, the New York-based Human Rights Watch prints outright instigation: “The Palestinian Authority (PA) should end forms of security coordination with the Israeli army.” Also, global businesses should boycott Israel, and world governments should suspend ties and arms sales.
Anyone familiar with the UN Charter of Human Rights knows that it was designed to protect individuals, or the fundamental unit in society, which the UN defines as “the family.” Human Rights prohibit arbitrary detention, torture or other forms of abuse. But Human Rights say nothing about “access to land” or jobs.
The UN charter does not expect states to take care of non-citizens. In cases of occupation, a different regime applies where the occupying power is expected to govern, but only on an interim basis and until a settlement is reached, which is exactly the situation in the Palestinian Territories. If Human Rights Watch wants Israel to treat Palestinians as citizens, Israel will have to annex all of the Palestinian Territories, a step that will definitely be opposed by the majority of Palestinians and the world.
That there has not been a peace settlement that brings the interim situation in the Palestinian Territories to an end is not Israel’s problem alone. Peace needs two to tango, and the Palestinians have yet to show that they are able to create a state that is not failing and that does not pose an existential threat to Israel.
Human Rights Watch does not seem to have read the UN Charter of Human Rights in a while. The group has been probably busy reading hyper partisan literature from advocacy organizations that do not even claim to be objective, like Peace Now and BTselem. Perhaps a report is required to assess the performance of Human Rights Watch, and how the group better stick to human rights, and leave politics and hating Israel to the partisan organizations.