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On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Dehumanizing Racist Hate Speech Towards Palestinians is Inciting Genocide
21، Mar 2024

Today, 21 March marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This date was chosen to commemorate the victims of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in Apartheid South Africa. In Palestine, this day echoes profoundly amid almost six months of ongoing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, carried out by Apartheid Israel. 

For over 75 years, the Palestinian people as a whole have been subjected to Israel’s apartheid, which is a tool of the Zionist colonial project in Palestine aimed at creating and maintaining Israeli Jewish supremacy, with the ultimate goal of gradually eliminating the indigenous Palestinian people and settling the territory with Israeli Jewish settlers. To this end, since its establishment as a State in 1948, Israel has instituted a series of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices to maintain its regime of systemic oppression, domination, segregation, and fragmentation of the indigenous Palestinian people.

Long before 7 October 2023, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been fragmented and subjugated under Israel’s apartheid regime for decades. As established by Al Mezan, Israel’s 17-year-old unlawful closure of the Gaza Strip is but one of the many manifestations of its apartheid regime against the Palestinian people as a whole. The closure of Gaza has also served to isolate 2.3 million Palestinians –– separating them from the rest of Palestine and the outside world –– effectively turning Gaza into a Bantustan. The use of the closure to fragment the Palestinian people and manipulate the demographics of historic Palestine also underscores its settler-colonial nature.

This year, Palestinians mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination while over two million Palestinians in Gaza endure Israel's genocidal military campaign that resulted in the killing of at least 31,800 Palestinians and the injury of another 74,000. In October, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) raised their concerns on “the sharp increase in racist hate speech and dehumanisation directed at Palestinians since 7 October” highlighting specifically, the remarks made by “Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, in which he referred to Palestinians as ‘human animals’, language which could incite genocidal actions”. 

In December, the CERD called on “all State parties to fully respect their international obligations, in particular those arising from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and to cooperate to bring an end the violations that are taking place and to prevent atrocity crimes, particularly genocide”. On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, it is crucial to recognize that apartheid and genocide are taking place in the context of Israel's settler colonialisation of the Palestinian territory.  As we advocate to end the ongoing genocide, we reiterate that Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people will continue unless the root causes of its violence are dismantled. 

The dismantlement of Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime must involve the immediate end to the occupation, and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. A decolonisation praxis requires the dismantling of all structures of domination and oppression and the collective realisation of the Palestinian people’s rights to self-determination and return.   

To learn more about Israel's apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, please refer to our comprehensive reports: