Apartheid was originally a term limited to describing the apartheid regime of South Africa. However, in July 1976 it became a crime in international law, defined in the “International Convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of Apartheid”. In 1998, it was incorporated in article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as the “crime of apartheid” as a form of crime against humanity.
Beginning in September 2020, six respected NGOs have produced reports concluding that Israel has created a system of apartheid. The Israeli NGO Yesh Din, Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic jointly with the Palestinian NGO Addameer, have concluded that Israel has created apartheid in the West Bank, although Israel itself and East Jerusalem, while having some severely racist characteristics, do not reach the legal threshold of the crime of apartheid. Amnesty International, the Israeli NGO B’tselem and the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq have said that Israel, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are one geographical area characterised by a system of apartheid.
Whichever legal interpretation of the extent of Israeli apartheid ultimately becomes the consensus view, the plain fact is that Israel has created an apartheid system in the 21st century.
Yesh Din, legal opinion written by Michael Sfard, 9 September 2020
Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed”, 27 April 2021