The report — posted on the U.N. Human Rights Council's Web site — says that while Palestinian terrorist acts are deplorable, "they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation."
The report accuses the Jewish state of acts and policies consistent with all three.
As long as there is occupation, there will be terrorism, says the author, John Dugard, an independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a South African lawyer who campaigned against apartheid in the 1980s.
Dugard says in the report that "common sense ... dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by al-Qaida, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation."
Until the occupation is ended, "peace cannot be expected, and violence will continue," the report says.
Israel's U.N. ambassador in Geneva rejected Dugard's analysis and questioned his objectivity.
"Dugard will better serve the cause of peace by ceasing to enflame the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians, who have embarked on serious talks to solve this contentious situation," Itzhak Levanon said.
"The common link between al-Qaida and the Palestinian terrorists is that both intentionally target civilians with the mere purpose to kill," he said.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were relaunched in November after a seven-year lapse, but have been marred by ongoing Israeli construction in disputed areas and by Palestinian rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The 25-page report will be presented next month to the 47-nation rights council, which has been criticized — even by its founder, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan — for spending most of its time reproaching one government, Israel's, over alleged abuses.
Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an unpaid expert to investigate only violations by the Israeli side, prompting Israel and the U.S. to dismiss his reports as one-sided.
Israel refused to allow Dugard to conduct a U.N.-mandated fact-finding mission on its Gaza offensive in 2006.
International Herald Tribune (link)