It is a perilous time for human rights in the State of Israel. An Israeli public exceedingly hostile to human rights, and a government that incites them, have made defending human dignity and equality all but anathema. Israeli officials regularly denounce human rights groups as traitors, and a malicious video campaign has spread online, accusing prominent human rights defenders and civil society activists of being “moles” for foreign governments sent to enable terrorism. In the Knesset, politicians continue to push for laws that limit the funding of human rights groups and label them “foreign state entities.” Now, more than ever, human rights are threatened in this climate of hostility.
From Marginalization to Delegitimization is our latest report on the human rights situation of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. The report discusses current issues, such as the recent escalation of violence and the State’s severe security response, that beset the Arab minority; and it situates them in the context of the overall climate of hostility that is now a daily reality in the State of Israel. The report analyzes these by reference to international human rights law and, where applicable, international humanitarian law, and it calls upon the international community to join our efforts of pressuring the State to abide fully by its legal and moral obligations.
Last year, on the eve of his reelection, Prime Minister Netanyahu set the tenor of his government’s treatment of the Palestinian Arab minority: “The Arabs are coming out to the polls in droves.” Since then, developments in the State of Israel have confirmed a dire new reality for Palestinian Arab citizens. Our report sheds light on these developments and measures them against the international laws and norms to which Israel is bound. These include excessive force by law enforcement, arbitrary detentions, incitement by government officials and suppression of dissent that jeopardize the lives and liberties of Palestinian Arab citizens; as well as policies of collective punishment and social discrimination that further disenfranchise an already marginalized minority.
These are not simply the products of the current political and security unrest—they are also a source and reinforcement. As the human rights of the Palestinian Arab minority, and those who defend their rights, are continually stigmatized and delegitimized, it is imperative to speak out.
The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) presents this report to raise awareness of this deteriorating situation. We call upon the international community to take effective and immediate measures, in its dealings with the State of Israel, to ensure compliance with international human rights law. We hope you will answer our call to prevent further escalation and to promote a lasting, just and peaceful resolution to the crisis before us.