Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Arab leaders demand world step in after Israel passes 'apartheid' bill

Arab leaders demand world step in after Israel passes 'apartheid' bill

The "nation-state" law, backed by the Government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member Parliament after months of political argument. It proclaims "the state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people" and "the actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people". The bill, which is largely symbolic, also downgrades Arabic as an official language.

"Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens", Netanyahu claimed Thursday.

As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.

The law becomes one of the so-called Basic Laws, which, like a constitution, guide Israel's legal system and are usually more hard to repeal than regular laws.

In a similar stance, top Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat, took to Twitter on Thursday to censure the law, which he said "officially legalizes apartheid and legally defines Israel as an apartheid system".

We shall double our efforts to further grow the BDS movement for Palestinian rights to hold Israel accountable for all its crimes against our people.

"Today we engraved in the stone of the law: This is our nation, this is our language, this is our anthem, and this is our flag".

"With this law we determined the founding principle of our existence".

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First introduced in 2011 and amended many times before being approved, the law states that Jerusalem is Israel's "united" capital.

The law passed after the changing of a clause that would have allowed the state to "authorise a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community".

The divisive nature of the new legislation that saw thousands of people, including Arabs and secular Jews flocking to streets in protest, has not stopped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from hailing its adoption as a huge success.

Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset condemned the law, which enjoys constitutional power, as an "apartheid law".

The European Union's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini expressed her concern, saying the law would complicate a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

T'ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, said in a statement that the law "endangers Israeli democracy, legalizes discrimination against 20 percent of Israeli citizens, threatens religious pluralism and threatens the very future of Israel".

The Hamas official further said "regional and global silence on the occupation's crimes" has emboldened the regime in Tel Aviv to pass one "extremist" law after another. Israel shall always remain a strong, proud and vibrant democracy, and there is nothing in this law that will diminish that. "We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel's democracy but the majority also has rights and the majority decides", he said last week. It doesn't specify whether it's referring to Israel within the Green Line, which is the internationally accepted boundary, or whether it's also referring to the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, considered occupied territory. The Nation-State law strengthens our Jewish identity and heritage and all values upon which the state was founded. "All people affected by this law must receive protection from the worldwide community".

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