JERUSALEM – It’s a piece of legislation that’s already threatened to tear apart Israel’s ruling coalition, provoked concern and condemnation from international observers, and triggered soul-searching agony among the country’s liberal left.
But for Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Nation State Bill – which seeks to enshrine Israel as a Jewish state in its basic law, and which was approved by its cabinet last week – is not a surprise. And rather than being worried about the new bill, many think it simply confirms what has been the case for decades.
“I don’t think the bill will change anything,” Waad Ghantous, a 23-year-old activist from Haifa told Middle East Eye. “Really, it’s Israel being honest and admitting that this really is a state just for Jews. Jews from everywhere all around the world are invited to ‘come back’ here, when Palestinians are living in refugee camps, unable to come home.”
For years, activists like Ghantous have been fighting discrimination against Palestinians – injustices they say are enabled by the ideological and political foundation of a state that defines itself on ethnic lines.
Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, lists over 50 “discriminatory” laws which violate the rights of Palestinians in Israel, called ‘Arab Israelis’ by authorities. They include measures that allow land to be confiscated for state use or that confer special benefits to citizens who perform military or national service, which the vast majority of Arab citizens do not undertake.
Read more at Middle East Eye