Friday, 17 August, 2018

Opposition to Israel nation-state law grows

An arial view of the West Bank settlement Modiin Illit Critics of Israel's Nation-State Law Misunderstand the Country's Constitutional System
Pablo Mccormick | 10 August, 2018, 10:24

Israeli Arab leaders on Tuesday filed a petition to the High Court of Justice against the controversial nation-state law, in the fourth such petition to the court since the law was passed on July 19. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a statement on Tuesday that the law "has distinct apartheid characteristics" and denies "civil and national rights of Palestinians in their homeland".

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 global law. There are also two Basic Laws on human rights, both of which explicitly define Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state.".

Greenberg addressed critics of the law who say that it infringes on religious freedom, saying that the law "relates only to the national rights of the Jewish people and does not address religious questions or prescribe an official religion".

The leaders of the protest are retired senior officers who have fought for the Jewish state and seek equal rights. "Individual rights are anchored in many laws", Netanyahu said Sunday.

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The petition states that "there is no single constitution in the world today that declares in its laws that it will act to advance the interests of the dominant group, particularly when it concerns public resources such as land".

The other petitions were submitted by Druze MKs Akram Hassoun, Saleh Saad and Hamada Amar, representatives of the Bedouin communities and the Meretz party.

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. "The military cemeteries and hundreds of martyrs testify to this, and as we fight for the existence of the state, we are determined to fight for the right to live with equality and dignity".

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

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It is also argued that, in violation of the United Nations charter, the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law negates the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

"The High Court justices are very serious and professional people", she said.

"There is nothing revolutionary in this specific law. There is a consensus about these values", Shaked told Army Radio.

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.

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