Israel adopts controversial Jewish nation-state law that marginalises Arab citizens

Israel adopts controversial Jewish nation-state law that marginalises Arab citizens

Israel adopts controversial Jewish nation-state law that marginalises Arab citizens

The bill now holds weight as one of Israel's "Basic Laws", the highest level of legal authority, being that Israel has no official constitution...writes Josh Hasten/JNS.

The law stipulates that "Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it".

As Likud Knesset member Bennie Begin warned - the only member of his party not to vote in favor of the law - once patriotism is detached from a commitment to human rights for all, the slippery descent into risky nationalism has begun.

Palestinian sources said they believed the PA's announcement referred to "unsuccessful attempts" by the USA administration to "bypass" the PA leadership by establishing direct and indirect channels with some Palestinian figures and parties, including Hamas.

Former Knesset member Dov Lipman says he opposes the new law due to its final wording.

"The law can possibly undermine the right of Palestinian refugees to return, which is a right that has been internationally recognised and cannot be dismissed", the statement read.

"The Israeli Knesset's ratification of the Jewish-state law enshrines the racist practises against Palestinians and falls in the context of weakening the current political direction for a two-state solution", Dr Anwar Gargash tweeted.

The law's declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital city is null and void in the eyes of the worldwide community, the ministry added.

The two-state solution envisaged under an worldwide peace framework, in which Palestinians living in Gaza and the occupied West Bank would gain their own state, is already looking like a dim prospect.

The law had also downgraded Arabic, which will no longer be an official language alongside Hebrew, and has been downgraded to a special status, enabling its use in official institutions.

Then there are Israel's non-Jewish citizens - about 20 per cent of its 8.8 million inhabitants are Muslim Arabs, whose role in the Jewish state remains an open question.

Arab lawmakers and Palestinians called the law "racist" and said it legalised "apartheid" following a tumultuous debate in parliament.

As a citizen of Argentina, Israel, Palestine and Spain he has worked for decades, through his music, to bring reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

While non-Jewish citizens of Israel expressed alarm by the law, ordinary Jewish Israelis won't see significant changes in their everyday lives, Israeli journalist Seth Frantzman told Al Jazeera.

In one of its clauses, the law stresses the importance of "development of Jewish settlement as a national value", though it is unclear whether this also alludes to settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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