NGO lodges petition against Israel's 'nation-state' law

09 August, 2018, 22:58 | Author: Wade Massey
  • NGO lodges petition against Israel's 'nation-state' law

This law - which has distinct apartheid characteristics - guarantees the ethnic-religious character of Israel as exclusively Jewish and entrenches the privileges enjoyed by Jewish citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against Palestinian citizens and legitimizing exclusion, racism, and systemic inequality.

Israel's justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, said on Sunday that any move by the High Court to overturn the nation-state law would lead to "an natural disaster, a war between the authorities", Haaretz reported. By explicitly declaring that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people alone, it totally excludes Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise 20 percent of the population of the state, and who are a homeland minority group.

Israeli Arab leaders on Tuesday filed a almost 60-page-long petition against the newly enacted Jewish Nation-State law, calling the legislation "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights" and in contradiction to global law.

In a almost 60-page petition, the petitioners maintain that the Israeli Supreme Court must annul the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law as it is racist legislation that contradicts all norms of worldwide law.

The law, which the petition described as "racist, colonialist and illegitimate", was passed by Israel's parliament late last month, and it emphasizes the Jewish nature of the state, promotes specifically Jewish settlement and elevates the status of Hebrew over Arabic.

"It is no accident that this law doesn't mention the word "equality" once", said Ayman Odeh, an Arab lawmaker who heads the Joint List, the Arab bloc in the Knesset, which backed the petition. "For Netanyahu, we are second-class citizens, not equal members in a democracy that works for the benefit of all its citizens".

Tens of thousands demonstrated against the law in Tel Aviv on Saturday, calling for it to be amended to ensure equality for the country's minorities.

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The legislation was passed as a so-called basic law, which, similar to a constitution, underpin Israel's legal system and are more hard to repeal than regular laws.

But Minister Ze'ev Elkin spoke on behalf of the coalition, and pointed the finger back at Livni for apparently leaving early and for her party's part in the original version of the nation state law.

On 19 July 2018, the Israeli Knesset voted 62 to 55 to approve the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law that constitutionally enshrines Jewish supremacy and the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

The Israeli High Court has made no moves to overturn Basic Law legislation to date, prompting fears that the petitions will achieve little more than media coverage.

The wave of criticism piles pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is already beset by corruption allegations.

On Sunday, two Bedouin former IDF officers also called on the High Court to either change the formulation of the law so it applies equally to all Israelis or abolish it completely.

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