April 27 (UPI) -- According to a critical report by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday, Israel is committing "crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution" by its conduct against Palestinians -- which it says was designed to maintain Israeli-Jewish hegemony.
The 213-page report documents the country's stance relating to Palestinians and says Israel has sought to maintain and increase control in the occupied territories.
"Prominent voices have warned for years that apartheid lurks just around the corner if the trajectory of Israel's rule over Palestinians does not change," HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said in a statement with the report Tuesday.
"This detailed study shows that Israeli authorities have already turned that corner and today are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution."
The report says Israel has a record of almost categorically denying building permits to Palestinians, yet has demolished thousands of Palestinian buildings because they didn't have those permits. It also said Israel has repeatedly used security as a pretext for actions against Palestinians.
Israel quickly answered the report Tuesday by calling it "propaganda."
"Human Rights Watch is known to have a long-standing anti-Israel agenda, actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel," Israel's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.
"Their decision not to share this report for review or comment with any Israeli authority is a clear indication that it is a propaganda pamphlet, which lacks all credibility."
In January, human rights group B'Tselem classified the Israeli government not as a parliamentary democracy, but a system of apartheid that suppresses minority groups like Palestinians. That assessment said Israeli laws and practices sponsor violence against Palestinians and are designed to establish Jewish supremacy.