Israel accused of 'apartheid' crimes against Palestinians

Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of crimes against humanity by pursing policies of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians - and against its own Arab minority.

The rights watchdog will be sharing the report with the International Criminal Court – who just weeks ago announced it would formally investigate war crimes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas were named as possible perpetrators.

This was after ICC judges ruled that the court had jurisdiction there.

Israel says it does not recognize the court's authority.

Human Rights Watch is calling on the ICC prosecutor to investigate and prosecute individuals credibly implicated in apartheid and persecution.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the report.

While Israel's foreign ministry rejected the claims as "both preposterous and false".

The word apartheid is often associated with South Africa, but the rights watchdog said it wasn’t aiming to make comparisons.

Instead, it is assessing "whether specific acts and policies" constitute apartheid as defined under international law.

The group points to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement. And seizure of Palestinian-owned land for Jewish settlement in territory occupied in the 1967 Middle East war as examples.