The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and several Palestinian factions on Tuesday welcomed Amnesty International’s report that accuses Israel of “apartheid,” saying it paves the way for filing “war crimes” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“The State of Palestine welcomes the report by Amnesty International on Israel’s apartheid regime and racist policies and practices against the Palestinian people,” the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement published immediately after the controversial report was released.
“Amnesty International joins a long list of distinguished Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations and experts in exposing Israel’s colonial occupation for what it is: an institutionalized system of oppression and domination over the Palestinian people, designed to legitimize its colonial settlement expansion, deny the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination, and erase Palestinian history, present, and future in their homeland,” the statement read.
It described the report as “a detailed affirmation of the cruel reality of entrenched racism, exclusion, oppression, colonialism, apartheid, and attempted erasure that the Palestinian people have endured since the  nakba [catastrophe].”
The PA ministry called on the prosecutor of the ICC to investigate Israel’s “crime against humanity of apartheid without delay.” The Palestinians will continue to “exercise their legitimate right to oppose and resist all forms of occupation, colonization, dehumanization, racism, and apartheid until they achieve justice and realize their rights to self-determination, return, freedom, and independence,” it said.
Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official in Ramallah, praised the report, describing it as “an international testimony and new documentation that qualifies to prosecute Israel for its crimes.” The report “gives an accurate description of the racist and fascist occupation practices and war crimes” against the Palestinians, he said.
Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, hailed Amnesty International for its “courage” and called on the Arabs to stop normalizing their relations with Israel.
“It is shameful for some Arab countries to normalize their relations with the apartheid regime,” he said. “Instead, the Arabs should boycott it and impose sanctions on it.”
The Palestinian People’s Party, formerly the Palestinian Communist Party, said this was the first time that Amnesty International had used the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s actions and policies.
“The report represents a bias in favor of truth and justice,” it said. “The report, in addition, is a victory for the rights of the Palestinians and thousands of victims who were subjected to brutal killings and racial discrimination.”
Hamas praised the report, saying it would contribute to exposing Israel’s practices against the Palestinians.
Hamas “views with great appreciation and respect the efforts of Amnesty International in issuing this professional report,” said Hisham Qassem, head of the “Hamas Media Department.”
The report “puts the facts in perspective and describes the tragic reality of our Palestinian people,” he said.
Qassem condemned the Israeli campaign against the report and urged all international human-rights organizations to continue “exposing” Israel’s actions and policies.