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Islamist Arab Israeli Officeholder Abbas Avoids Amnesty Apartheid Accusation

MK Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List in Israel’s parliament, rejected on Thursday the accusation by human rights organization Amnesty International that Israel is an apartheid state. “I would not call it apartheid,” he said during a talk delivered live on the YouTube platform to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Thursday. Amnesty International released a report last month accusing Israel of apartheid within the pre-1967 Green Line borders where the Israeli government applies its civil jurisdiction, as well as in the West Bank, where power is shared between the Israeli military and the autonomous Palestinian Authority, and in the Gaza Strip, which is under a Hamas-led government. Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem have leveled similar accusations against Israel. Abbas emphasized his practical approach to problem-solving by working within the system rather than railing against it, and said that while reports like Amnesty’s don’t themselves resolve issues of inequality and discrimination, “This is an opportunity for us to look at what is happening and to be introspective, to see what we can fix and change. … I will change, you will change. It is not that I am the good one and you are the bad one,” the Arab Israeli parliamentarian said. “Our fate here is to live together and we can decide how we want to live together.”