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Israel is an apartheid regime: UN official

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights has accused the international community of complicity in Israeli settlement policies and says Israel is implementing an apartheid system.

Richard Falk made the remarks during a press conference after addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday and delivering a report, AFP reported.

"The international community is conspiring — maybe unwittingly — in a process that has no way of bringing justice to the people involved in this conflict," Falk said about the Israeli settlements.

He noted that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are offered no protection in Israeli law, adding that their treatment is akin to apartheid.

"I think one has to begin to call the reality by a name," he said, likening the "discriminatory dualistic legal system" in the West Bank to the former system in South Africa.

Falk criticized the work of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the region as the so-called Middle East Quartet's peace envoy, calling the process “a trick rather than a way to find a solution to the problem.”

In his report, Falk also expressed concern about Israel's use of administrative detention, the expansion of settlements, and violence by settlers.

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

Talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis stalled in September 2010 after Israel declined to renew a 10-month freeze on its illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The international community regards all the Israeli settlements across the West Bank as illegal under international law.

Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).


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