Adalah: New Israeli Government’s Policy Guidelines Indicate Officials’ Intent to Commit Crimes under Intl. Law

In a new position paper, Adalah lays out how the guiding principles and coalition agreements of the new Israeli government intend to deepen Jewish supremacy and racial segregation as the underlying principles of the Israeli regime. The govt. initiatives and policies necessitate urgent intervention by international bodies, including by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the reconstitution of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid.

Today, 10 January 2022, Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, published a position paper on the legal implications of the guiding principles and coalition agreements of the 37th Israeli government, which was sworn in on 29 December 2022. The position paper analyzes the policy and ideological commitments made by the new government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which deepen and expand the regime of systematic discrimination, segregation, and repression against Palestinians in all areas under Israeli control. In its conclusions, Adalah enumerates the violations of the absolute prohibitions enshrined in international law regarding the stated government policies, including the Convention against the Crime of Apartheid and the Rome Statute governing the International Criminal Court.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s position paper [English].


The main points of Adalah’s analysis of the new government are as follows: 


Jewish supremacy and racial segregation as guiding principles: in the first section of the basic guidelines of the government, it is established that "the Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel". This exclusivity is the guiding principle upon which all of the new government’s policies are built: denying the Palestinian people the right to self-determination and further institutionalizing a racist regime of supremacy and segregation in all areas under Israel's control. This statement goes even further than the principles enshrined in the 2018 Jewish National State Law (JNSL), which Adalah argued at the time of its enactment – and later in the petition it submitted to the Supreme Court, on behalf of the High Follow-up Committee and the Arab leadership in Israel – is colonial in nature and has clear characteristics of apartheid.


Two-tiered system of governance for Palestinians in all areas under Israel’s control: the new government’s policies regarding administration and control over the West Bank permit – and encourage – increased illegal Jewish settlements in the OPT, retroactive legalization of existing illegal settlements, and the transfer from military to civilian control over Israeli Jewish settlers unlawfully occupying Palestinian land – all amounting to the de facto annexation of the West Bank, coupled with an express intent to formally annex the West Bank in the future. The new government has put forward additional policies with distinct characteristics of apartheid beyond West Bank administration and control: the establishment of a special Shin Bet (GSS or “Shabak”) security agency unit that will operate in Palestinian towns and neighborhoods; the appointment of Itamar Ben-Gvir – the ultra-nationalist leader of the Jewish Power Party – as a National Security Minister with full and direct control over law enforcement authorities; and a commitment to grant, through legislation, sweeping impunity for police officers and soldiers who kill Palestinians, effectively legalizing a system of extrajudicial killings.


Deepening a policy of Judaization and racial discrimination: the Judaization and expropriation of Palestinian land are central goals of this government. It has made clear that it intends to use structural changes in land administration and allocation, along with a series of racist legislative initiatives, to perpetuate and deepen the reality of racial segregation. This government has further committed to expanding separate economic systems to ensure that Palestinians and Jewish Israelis will not only live separately, but also in total inequality, through ongoing extreme discrimination in all areas of life.


Criminalization of Palestinian expression and identity: the government is reinforcing fierce prohibitions on public life, political participation, and expressions of Palestinian identity and self-determination by actions that include a ban on waving the Palestinian flag, expansive and abstract definitions and applications of ‘terrorism’ laws and designations, and curtailments on the ability to protest. These prohibitions come also in the forms of increased punishments for particular crimes, such as death sentences aimed exclusively at Palestinians, criminalization of legitimate political dissent, and minimum sentencing. These are coupled with legislation that will ensure total impunity for Israeli security forces that kill or harm Palestinians, and formally embedding armed Jewish civilians, as part of the same police force that has up to now given them full protection.




The policies put forward by the new Israeli government – in its coalition agreements and guiding principles – expand upon Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, including the  International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and amount to crimes under the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 


The government’s foundational documents also demonstrate the clear criminal intent of the coalition members to commit crimes under the Rome Statute, including crimes against humanity (namely, the crime of Apartheid) and war crimes. 


In light of the flagrant violations of international law detailed in the position paper, Adalah calls for urgent intervention by international bodies, including by the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Adalah also urges the international community to take immediate action to reconstitute the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, which was initially established to review and report on the policies of Apartheid South Africa but has been disbanded since 1994.