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Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Dajan

UN Blames Israel for Conflict with Palestinians

Israel is largely to blame for its conflict with the Palestinians, the United Nations charged in the initial report by its highly contentious Commission of Inquiry, which plans to focus in part on issues of discrimination by the Jewish state both within and without the country's sovereign borders.

“The findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel, which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one state occupying the other,” Navanethem Pillay, who heads the three-member panel that conducted the probe, said. Pillay is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Unlike past UN probs, this one focuses not just on Israeli actions in the territory which the UN holds will eventually be part of the final borders of a Palestinian state, but it also plans to look at Israeli actions within its sovereign borders including with respect to issues of discrimination.

Israel has feared that the three-member Commission of Inquiry (COI) would charge Israel with crimes of apartheid, similar to reports that have already been issued by a number of non-governmental human rights groups.

It has rejected the apartheid argument which would place issues of race at the core of the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel has argued that its conflict with the Palestinians is territorial, temporary in nature and has no bearing on issues of race.

The report makes no mention of the word apartheid. It did speak of Israeli discriminatory practices and what it perceived to be its failure to comply with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It spoke in particular of its concern regarding the 2018 Nation-State Law.

It explained that this law could "exacerbate pre-existing and systematic structural discrimination against non-Jews in Israel," it said.

The commission noted that "ending the occupation alone will not be sufficient, however. Other steps must be taken to ensure that all people in Palestine and in Israel are able to enjoy all of their human rights, equality and in full, without any discrimination." (JPost / VFI News)