Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing “apartheid” and treating Palestinians as an “inferior racial group”.
A new report alleges Israel has maintained “a system of oppression and domination” over the Palestinians going all the way back to its establishment in 1948.
The London-based rights group said Israel’s policies of “segregation, dispossession and exclusion” amounted to crimes against humanity.
Israel rejected the “false allegations” in the report and accused Amnesty International of recycling “lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions” from hate groups.
“The report denies the State of Israel’s right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonise Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of antisemitism.”
In its report, Amnesty cited “massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians” as components of a system “which amounts to apartheid under international law”.
The international community has an obligation to act, it said.
Agnes Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty, rejected Israel’s accusations as “baseless attacks” and “bare-faced lies”.
She said Amnesty recognises the state of Israel and denounces antisemitism, and that allegations to the contrary are “nothing more than a desperate attempt to evade scrutiny (and) divert attention from our findings”.
The International Criminal Court is already investigating potential war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants in recent years.