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UN rights expert compares Israeli occupation violations to apartheid

[JURIST] An independent report [text, PDF] by UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories John Dugard [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] to be presented to the 4th session of the UN Human Rights Council [official website; JURIST news archive] in Geneva next month criticizes Israel's continued military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and characterizes "elements of the occupation [as] constituting forms of colonialism and... apartheid." The report, which also condemns human rights violations by Palestinian militants, such as the "firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage," nevertheless reserves its strongest condemnation for Israel [JURIST news archive] due to its state status and the systematic violations perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [official website]. Alleged Israeli violations of human rights include the restriction on Palestinian freedom of movement by the Israeli West Bank barrier [official website; JURIST news archive], and walls in East Jerusalem and South Hebron, as well as the targeted assassinations of Palestinians [JURIST report] which the report describes as the "back door" imposition of the death penalty.

Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an independent expert by the now-defunct UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) to investigate Israeli violations of human rights. Israel and the United States have dismissed his reports as one-sided. AP has more.

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