Contentious bill defines Israel as Jewish nation

Israel passes controversial nation-state bill

Israel passes controversial nation-state bill

Kalin referred to and criticised the controversial law passed by Israel's Knesset which declares and defines the country as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people", Israeli Haaretz reported, "sparking outrage from Israel's Arab community and provoking concern from the worldwide community".

To his part, Secretary General of the PLO, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said on twitter that the passing of the "Jewish Nation-State" Bill by the Israeli Knesset a unsafe and racist law par excellence, since it denies the Arab citizens their right to self-determination to instead be determined by the Jewish population.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill a "historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel". Around 20 per cent of Israel's population is Arab.

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".

The so-called Nationality Law enshrines in Israel's quasi-constitutional Basic Law that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel. He argues that the Palestinians' refusal to do so is the biggest obstacle to peace, saying it demonstrates that the Palestinians do not genuinely recognise Israel's right to exist.

Arab Israeli legislators were angrily rejecting the bill after it passed, stressing the section that declares settling in areas conquered in the 1967 war to be a "national value" that will be encouraged and promoted.

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"All the bills Israel is trying to forcibly enforce are null and will not give any legitimacy to the Israeli occupation", the AL said in a statement.

Even after the changes, critics said the new law will deepen a sense of alienation within the country's minority population.

But the law fails to mention either equality or minority rights - both of which were integral parts of Israel's Declaration of Independence in 1948, which explicitly states that Israel "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture". "We have enshrined the fact that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people", Netanyahu said in a statement.

"First, the measure downgrades Arabic from its longstanding status as one of Israel's official languages to one that has 'special status, ' the AJC said".

It said it "seeks to maintain a regime in which one ethnic-national group controls an indigenous-national group living in the same territory while advancing ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies".

The fledgling state consolidated its control over Palestinian lands on the back of an ethnic cleansing campaign where hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes.

"I think this is racist legislation by a radical right-wing government that is creating radical laws, and is planting the seeds to create an apartheid state", said physician Bassam Bisharah, 71.

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