This is a PSC statement in response to this week’s Israeli elections
With the passing of Israel’s third round of elections in less than a year, nothing has meaningfully changed for the Palestinian people. The reality is that racism, discrimination and institutional oppression against Palestinians are embedded within Israel’s entire political system.
Benjamin Netanyahu, who is claiming victory, publicly reasserted last year that Israel “is not a state of all its citizens”. Meanwhile his main opponent, ex-army chief Benny Gantz, released a video in January 2019 claiming credit for the destruction of 6231 targets in Gaza and the killings of 1364 Palestinians, boasting that “parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age”.
Outside of the Joint List – a political alliance of the main Arab-majority political parties in Israel – all of the political parties in Israel share certain core beliefs that Israel holds the right to settle on all of historic Palestine, that the rights of Jewish citizens should be privileged above those of Palestinians, and that Israel should allow neither the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state nor the alternative of a single democratic state.
They also all share support for Trump’s atrocious so-called “Deal of the Century”, which railroads over international law and represents nothing more than a demand to the Palestinian people to surrender their core collective rights, sugar-coated with the illusory promise of economic prosperity.
The narrative that Israel’s discriminatory policies towards the Palestinian people are a function solely of the Netanyahu government ignores the reality of the systematic body of law including constitutional laws passed by successive governments that have institutionalised racism within the state.
The elections also reinforce the fact that there is no substantial body of opinion within the Israeli population that is advocating for change to these fundamental political realities. Regardless of how the new Israeli Government is constituted, it will continue to pursue policies and enforce laws that are racist in intent and outcome.
As such, only fundamental regime change in Israel will bring an end to the country’s violations of international law and human rights, and clearly only external pressure from the global community will be a catalyst for this regime change. Without international accountability, Israel will continue to enforce its regime of ongoing military occupation and apartheid.
The UK Government, which claims to uphold an international rules-based order, must take immediate meaningful action to hold Israel to account. Alongside this, UK companies and public bodies must end their direct and indirect involvement in Israel’s crimes.
We will not stop campaigning until UK complicity in Israeli apartheid is ended, and until the Palestinian people enjoy freedom, justice and equality in their historic homeland.