Hemaya warns Israeli ‘Nationality bill’ will legitimise apartheid

Hemaya Center for Human Rights

Second Class Citizen stamp now being used by Palestinian citizens of 'Israel'

Second Class Citizen stamp now being used by Palestinian citizens of ‘Israel’

Hemaya Centre for Human Rights considers that the nationality bill passed by the Israeli cabinet last week will undermine the rights of Palestinian civilians in ‘Israel’ and legitimise apartheid.

The bill seeks to formally identify ‘Israel’ as the nation-state of the Jewish people, effectively ruling out the right of return of Palestinian refugees; to enshrine Jewish law as a source of inspiration for legislation; and to delist Arabic as an official language.

If passed by the Knesset, the law would be a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that an occupying power may not transfer sovereignty, make permanent changes in fundamental institutions, or change the demographic structure of the state it occupies.

The law would also be a serious breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as it seeks to enshrine discriminatory practices in law by diminishing the rights of Palestinians, such as that to their own language, and increasing the rights of Jews whether they reside in ‘Israel’ or not.

If passed, it will legitimise the apartheid currently being practised by the Israeli occupation against Palestinians, whether in Palestinian territories of 1948 or the territories occupied since 1967 that ‘Israel’ refuses to withdraw from.

The serious violations of international law contained within the bill pave the way towards a new stage of systematic violations against the rights of Palestinians.

They will also undermine general international respect both for the rule of international law, and its institutions.

We at the Hemaya Centre for Human Rights therefore completely reject this bill, and call on:

1- The United Nations and each of its member countries to condemn the anti-democratic nature of the bill;

2- The Palestinian Authority to reject this bill in the international arena, and to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to drop it;

3- International legal and human rights organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of this proposed law and its effects on Palestinians in general, and on refugees’ right of return in particular.

Hemaya Center for Human Rights