former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has said the country is enforcing an apartheid system against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Tamir Pardo has become the latest former senior Israeli official to claim Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid, a reference to the system of racial separation in South Africa that ended in 1994.

“There is an apartheid state here,” Pardo said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency, published on Wednesday.

“In a territory where two people are judged under two legal systems, that is an apartheid state,” Pardo said, joining a small but growing list of retired officials to endorse an idea that remains largely on the fringes of Israeli discourse and international diplomacy but has gained growing acceptance within human rights circles.