Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Egypt's Al-Azhar denounces Israel's Jewish state law - Politics - Egypt

EU expresses concern over Israel's Jewish nation-state law Israel adopts divisive Jewish nation-state law
Patty Aguilar | 22 July, 2018, 03:16

Egypt on Saturday rejected a controversial law adopted by the Israeli parliament that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people, warning that it undermines peace efforts.

"Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens". The New York Times carefully speculates that this provision could "possibly aid ... those who would seek to advance discriminatory land-allocation policies". The new law encourages the state to pursue "Jewish settlement" and downgrades Arabic from an official language to a "special" one. Even many Israelis wondered why it was even necessary to legislate the country's obvious character and questioned whether it would have any practical implication, beyond stoking domestic tension and drawing global criticism.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on the worldwide community to intervene against Israel over the new law, calling the contentious piece of legislation "racist" and bristling at its affirmation of Jerusalem as the country's capital.

Turkey's foreign ministry also criticized the law.

Tensions between Israeli settlers and Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem have heightened this year since United States President Donald Trump declared "unified" Jerusalem the capital of Israel in December to later move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem in May. Not only is there "no right to equality" in the country, Israeli legislation "already privileges the protection of a "Jewish state" over equality for non-Jewish citizens". Arabs in the occupied territories form about 20 percent of the population.

EU expresses concern over Israel's Jewish nation-state law

Civil rights groups have denounced the law and some critics, including one Arab MP described it as apartheid - the state-sanctioned racial discrimination of black people during white-minority rule in South Africa.

"We [as Israeli Arabs and Palestinians] are not treated equally and we are fighting for our rights", said Mustafa Abu Raiya, a member of the Israeli Communist Party, known as Maki. "They did not exist".

Just a week ago a version of the bill explicitly sanctioned discrimination and would have required women and LGBTQ Israelis to sacrifice their rights to accommodate religious sensibilities.

"This new law is a clumsy act that takes us several psychological steps back". Israel's Arab population is comprised mainly of descendants of the Palestinians who remained on their land during the conflict between Arabs and Jews that culminated in the war of 1948 surrounding the creation of the modern state of Israel.

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