Arab group petitions Israel court over Jewish nation law

Illustrative The High Court of Justice in session

It also defines Arabic as a language bearing a "special" status, effectively downgrading it from its de facto status as Israel's second official language.

Palestinian leaders in Israel petitioned the High Court on Tuesday over the new Jewish nation-state law, the latest addition to Israel's Basic Law, that passed in the Knesset last month.

"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.

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.

"This law has all the characteristics of apartheid", the statement asserts. Barakeh stressed that "we demand the unconditional cancellation of the law".

On the concern about establishing Jewish-only communities, Greenberg said that until today Israel's Supreme Court has only allowed the establishment of non-Jewish only communities and that a clause in the legislation had been meant to correct this disparity.

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Finally, on the issue of Diaspora Jewry, she notes that the law explicitly mentions that "the state will act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people" and says that the language chosen to refer to activities in the Diaspora alone was to "avoid an undemocratic situation in which a constitutional "right" would effectively bind the Israeli Government to make decisions based on how they would be perceived overseas".

The petition also claimed the law explicitly rejects Palestinian national rights, which, when applied to areas claimed by Israel beyond the Green Line in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, constitutes a violation of the laws of occupation contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In addition, the law's application to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights also stands in violation of global law, which considers these areas to be occupied.

"The accusations about the new law's effects on Israeli democracy have no connection to the actual content or context of the law", Sara Greenberg wrote in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post. Critics say it marginalizes the country's Arab minority, while supporters say it ensures the Jewish character of the state for generations to come.

Article 7 "marks Arab citizens - wherever they may be - as "the other" and the state must therefore discriminate in the allocation of land, housing, budgets and incentives, and land planning and zoning".

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