Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Israeli Arab leaders petition High Court against 'racist' nation-state law

Israeli Arab leaders petition High Court against 'racist' nation-state law Israeli Arab leaders petition High Court against 'racist' nation-state law
Patty Aguilar | 09 August, 2018, 22:57

An Arab rights group in Israel has filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the country's new and controversial Jewish state law.

Israeli political leaders, however, argued that the Jewish nature of the state needed to be enshrined in the Basic Laws, Israel's de facto constitution.

The petition argued that by declaring Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people alone, the law excludes the rights of its Arab citizens who make up around 20 percent of the population.

Filed by legal rights group Adalah, the petition said the law passed by the Knesset last month is "racist, massively harmful to fundamental human rights and contravenes global human rights norms, especially those forbidding laws that constitute a racist constitution", according to a statement.

"This law has all the characteristics of apartheid", the statement asserts.

Several Basic Laws, including those on the Knesset, the government, and the judiciary, detail the mechanisms of Israeli democracy and enshrine fundamental democratic principles like free elections and judicial independence. "Individual rights are anchored in many laws", Netanyahu said Sunday.

Ma'an reported that, according to the Times of Israel, during an interview with the official Israeli Army Radio, Shaked said that the Israeli High Court has no right to strike down the law on constitutional grounds, because it was passed as a Basic Law. "There is also no single constitution in the world that does not include the right to equality for all its citizens and residents".

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Adalah lawyers also argued that the Jewish nation-state law negates the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in violation of the United Nations charter, and that the law's application to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights also stands in violation of global law, which specifies that these areas are occupied by Israel. It has prompted particular outrage from Israel's Druze minority, whose members say the law's provisions render them second-class citizens. The law was first proposed in the Knesset in August 2011.

The nation-state law does not "contradict or supersede the basic laws that protect and guarantee individual rights of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender", she wrote.

Over the weekend, Druze leaders led a protest that drew tens of thousands to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where a former head of the Mossad, a former IDF chief and the mayor of Tel Aviv were among those to speak out in opposition to the law.

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

The legislation defines Israel as a "Jewish nation-state" with a "united Jerusalem" as its capital.

In response, Netanyahu's government made a proposal especially for the Druze community to enact three additional laws that would cement their integral status in the Jewish state and establish.

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