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The Israeli gov't is arguing that annexation is good for Palestinians

In a High Court case over a law to legalize Israeli settlements built on stolen, privately owned Palestinian land, the attorney hired to represent the government (because the attorney general refused to do so) argues that Palestinians, and not just settlers, would actually benefit.

Israel’s High Court of Justice heard arguments on Sunday against the “Formalization Law,” which would retroactively legalize settlements built illegally on private Palestinian land.

Sunday’s hearing was remarkable, and not only because of the law’s potential consequences. After all, it’s not every day that attorneys Michael Sfard and Hassan Jabareen, two of the country’s most prominent human rights lawyers, find themselves on the same side as the Attorney General — and in opposition to the government and the Knesset.

For much of the hearing, Attorney Aner Helman, who represented the Attorney General’s office, gave such a stirring denunciation of the law’s human rights violations that one might have thought he was one of the petitioners in the case.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has refused to defend the law, calling it unconstitutional. Due to his refusal, the government was forced to hire a private lawyer, Attorney Harel Arnon, to defend the law in court.

Most of the hearing focused on two main questions. First, is international law the relevant in the case or should the law be judged according to Israeli law? If it’s the latter, should international law be ignored entirely?

Arnon quickly answered the first question: the lawsuit is a matter of striking down Knesset legislation, rather than an administrative order. “The petitioners, in practice, are asking the court to carry out a judicial coup,” he claimed. “They are demanding, in the name of foreign norms, to flip the scales that Israeli society designed for itself.” The suit, Arnon continued, constitutes an attempt to erode the authority of the Knesset.

After grounding his claim that the expropriation law should be judged solely according to the Israeli legal framework, Arnon took more than an hour to detail the central aims of the legislation. The immediate goal, he said, is for the government to take responsibility for a situation in which, due to a complex political reality, it’s own policy has been contradictory. On the one hand, the government has funded and supported the West Bank settlement enterprise, even when these activities were illegal in one way or another. On the other hand, the government didn’t formalize the situation — in other...

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In memory of Razan al-Najjar

The 21-year-old paramedic was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while trying to aid wounded protesters near the Gaza-Israel separation fence. Many Israelis either refuse to believe she was actually killed or claim that her killing was somehow justified.

Around two weeks ago, a Facebook friend of mine proposed an experiment to a small group of us. Social media has become a boxing ring, she said. The two sides, left and right, dig into their positions and slug it out in the comments — and that’s if they don’t just “block” each other. My friend suggested that for a month, we try to engage in a productive dialogue with right-wingers on Facebook, even with the most combative of commenters. After all, our aim is to change what and how people think, and to do that, we need to speak to other side. Let’s try it, I said, if only for a month — to see what happens.

For the past two days, I’ve been thinking about Razan al-Najjar, the 21-year-old paramedic shot and killed by Israeli soldiers Friday near the Gaza-Israel separation fence. According to witnesses, she was wearing her white paramedic’s uniform, attempting to treat protesters near the fence when she was shot. Immediately following Razan’s death, her picture appeared everywhere on my Facebook newsfeed. I, too, shared a post with her picture.

The angry responses came quickly.

Here was an opportunity to try out the dialogue experiment my friend had suggested, I thought. Maybe because Razan in her white uniform was so different from the image of the terrorist that the Israeli collective imagination assigned the protesters in Gaza, I hoped there would be an opening for compassion, for second thoughts, for a discourse free from blind hatred.

I was wrong.

Instead, the following responses came pouring in: “What was she doing there in the first place? “Why didn’t she wait for the wounded in the hospital?” “You really think our soldiers kill protesters on purpose?” “That’s how it is in war.” “Hamas makes them to go to these protests.”

I tried to respond with calm, level-headed answers.

She didn’t wait for the wounded at the hospital because the Israeli army’s massive use of live fire made it necessary for first responders to be in the field — just like Israeli medics would at a mass casualty event.

And no, this is not “how it is in...

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The well-oiled legal machine that enables IDF violence

The majority of complaints by Palestinians about violence by Israeli soldiers go nowhere, and when they do, it can take over a year for the military prosecution to decide whether to even open an investigation.

In his latest article, my colleague Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man described the way in which Israel’s civilian and military court system is used as a fig leaf to prevent the International Criminal Court from investigating Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. The idea is simple: as long as the local legal systems effectively fulfill their role, the ICC has no mandate to intervene.

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan is working to promote a new bill that would grant immunity to soldiers who are suspected of criminal wrongdoing during military operations. The truth is that Ben Dahan’s bill is entirely redundant: a new report published this week by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din show that soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against the Palestinian population in the occupied territories enjoy near-full immunity.

According to Yesh Din, between 2011-2016 (data from 2017 has yet to be published), only 3.4 percent of investigations into attacks on Palestinians opened by the IDF’s Criminal Investigations Department ended in indictments. That’s 32 out of 948 cases. That number is especially striking considering the fact that the military prosecution decides ahead of time which cases it will prosecute. This means that most complaints by Palestinians do not lead to investigations.

In 2016 the military prosecution received 302 complaints of crimes committed by soldiers against Palestinians or their property. Forty percent of those complaints had to do with soldiers opening fire on Palestinians, 34 percent revolved around soldier violence, and 24 percent were lodged in response to property damage and looting. In 220 of those incidents, the military prosecution decided to either open an investigation or close the case. Out of those, only 46 led to investigations. The remaining 174 cases were ordered closed. Of the cases that were opened, only 6.4 percent led to indictments by the end of the first quarter of 2017. That’s five cases. One of them was the case of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who was filmed while executing a dying Palestinian.

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So how does the military prosecution decide which cases will be opened for investigation? When it comes to incidents in which soldiers kill Palestinians, official policy says that the Criminal Investigations Unit...

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The persecution of Ezra Nawi

The fabrication of criminal cases against activists, particularly anti-occupation activists, has become an almost routine tool. Every one of us could find themselves the target of a similar right-wing campaign.

Two years ago, Israeli officials, right-wing activists, and the media put veteran left-wing activist Ezra Nawi in their crosshairs. After an investigative television show partnered with an extreme right-wing organization to target Nawi with a hidden-camera hit piece, Nawi was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport while trying to leave the country. Photos of him being led in handcuffs were published on the front page of every major publication.

He was denied access to a lawyer, a sweeping gag order was issued, and eventually he was released to house arrest. The accusations at the time ranged from accessory to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder, and making contact with a foreign agent.

Fast-forward two years and the only thing Israeli authorities are still accusing Nawi of is violating a clause in the “Law Implementing the Interim Agreement Regarding the West Bank and Gaza” — the Oslo Accords.

In its obsessive abuse of Nawi, Israel managed to resurrect the peace agreement it has worked so hard to kill. From the settlement enterprise to laws allowing the expropriation of private Palestinian land to IDF raids in Area A of the West Bank — which Oslo says are supposed to be under full Palestinian control — violating the Oslo Accords long ago became official Israeli policy. But now that they can be used against a left-wing activist, the Oslo Accords have suddenly become sacred. The irony of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked feigning concern about violations of the Oslo Accords is simply too much.

Nawi’s lawyers, Eitan Peleg and Lea Tzemel, said, following the announcement of the indictment, that a mountain of lies had turned into a molehill. One can understand why they would feel relief. The fervor with which Israeli authorities pursued Nawi made it seem that they would stop at nothing short of his head.

And yet the strange charge against Nawi, a charge for which no Israeli citizen has ever been tried, as well as the closing of the cases against two others arrested with Nawi,  proves what anyone with eyes knew from the beginning: the accusations are baseless and vindictive. This is political persecution.

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'I'll open up your face': The routine of collective punishment in Hebron

A new video shows Israeli Border Police preventing children from passing through a gate in order to reach their homes. This is what collective punishment looks like. 

Ever since Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem launched its Camera Project 11 years ago, the Israel public has had countless opportunities to get a glimpse of the routine of occupation from the point of view of Palestinians living under it.

Sometimes those videos create a public uproar, as happened with Elor Azaria, who was caught on camera executing a dying Palestinian, or the infamous settler from Hebron, who was seen spitting and cursing at the camera. Most of B’Tselem’s videos, however, convey the injustices of the occupation through the everyday, mundane experiences of humiliation, violence, aggression, and arrogance at the hands of the masters.

The same goes for the latest B’Tselem video, published Tuesday, which shows Israeli security forces standing in front of the main entrance to Gheith and A-Salaimeh, two neighborhoods in Hebron, on May 13th.

Through A-Salaimeh runs one of the main roads on which Palestinians are forbidden from traveling by car. There are military checkpoints at both entrances of the road, called A-Salaimeh Street, which leads to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. In 2012, the army built a barrier that divides the street into two: a paved road for Jewish pedestrians and vehicles, and on the other side, a narrow, dilapidated passageway for Palestinians who are forbidden from traveling by car.

On May 4th, the army enlarged the fence it had built at the beginning of 2012 at the entrance to both A-Salaimeh and Gheith. The fence has a single gate, which the army said must be kept open between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. in order to allow residents to pass through. However, according to B’Tselem, for the past year the gate has been closed at various times throughout the day. Closing off the two neighborhoods is especially harmful to students, who are forced to take an alternative path that forces them to pass through a checkpoint, extends their journey by 500 meters, and passes through a dark alley.

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On May 13th, as the students were on their way back from school, they once again encountered locked gate. The video shows some residents of the neighborhood – mothers of the students –...

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'Open up or we'll tase you': Police arrest activists protesting Gaza violence

In the northern city of Haifa, Israeli police are arresting activists who are organizing demonstrations against the violence in Gaza.

Israeli police arrested and interrogated a number of Palestinian and Jewish political activists from the northern city of Haifa over the past several days, due to their participation in demonstrations following the killing of over 60 protesters in Gaza this past week. Among those arrested were General Secretary of Hadash’s Haifa chapter, Raja Zaatry, and Yoav Bar, an activist with the Abnaa al-Balad movement, who was arrested twice.

Iris Bar, a political activist and Yoav’s partner, describes what happened:

“On Monday evening, we held a protest. The harassment began the following day. I believe it has to do with the upcoming local elections. There is a Facebook group for Haifa’s residents, which has both Arab and Jewish members, and which is run by a right winger. Often you will see absurd conversations taking place there — Jews sending Arabs to Gaza, Arabs sending Jews to Europe. But it may be the only space in the country that is shared by Jews and Arabs of all political stripes. After Monday’s demonstration, some group members began putting pressure on the mayor. Someone wrote: ‘Why are you letting them protest?’ They probably felt that they had to do something.”

On Tuesday morning, the police began arriving at people’s homes. Most people were at work, so they caught only Yoav, who has more flexible work hours. I know of five activists who were paid a visit, both Jews and Arabs. The police came to their homes, some family members received frightening phone calls. I assume that there were others whom I don’t know about.”

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On Tuesday we had another protest, and the police jumped on anyone who did not stand on the sidewalk, specifically on photographers who were documenting the demonstration. The police yelled ‘get on the sidewalk!’ hysterically at them, even though they were neither on the road nor blocking traffic.”

Majd Kayyal, a journalist and political activist who was also at the protest says that in the eyes of the police, the fact that an Arab stepped onto the road for five minutes is “the most catastrophic thing that can happen.”

“I think it is legitimate and legal, and shouldn’t worry the police,” Kayyal adds, “but they cannot understand...

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Why Israel's Eurovision contestant became a target for BDS

Netta Barzilai is an impressive performer with an impressive act that Israelis can be proud to be represented by. But that’s not all she represents.

Israel is buzzing with excitement over the country’s contestant in this year’s Eurovision, and for good reason. Netta Barzilai is talented, has an awesome vibe, and is a strong female character who bucks all of the traits we have become used to seeing in a female performer. If you are a left-wing, Jewish feminist, and even if you’re not, it’s hard not to fall in love with her.

So it wasn’t surprising that a campaign by Israeli boycott activists asking European viewers not to vote for Barzilai managed to rile so many people, including in various left-wing Israeli circles — and no small number of my friends.

Part of the outrage has to do with the fact that the boycott call singles out Barlzilai herself, not just as a representative of Israel the occupying power, but personally, as someone who was part of the Israeli Navy’s band during the 2014 war on Gaza. Barzilai, according to the boycott call, performed for Israeli soldiers right before they participated in the shelling of Gaza that summer.

I don’t know anything about Barzilai’s political views but I don’t get the impression that she has any special affinity for militarism or that she likes anything about the killing of innocent people. My impression was actually the opposite, and that’s the point.

One of the fundamental truths with which the boycott movement attempts to confront Israeli society is that all of us, even the humanists and human rights lovers among us, are responsible for the crimes of the occupation, whether we participate in them directly or indirectly.

That may sound absurd and baseless to the average Israeli, even those of us who are outspokenly outraged by images of soldiers abusing Palestinians at checkpoints or videos of snipers shooting protesters in Gaza.

What does Barzilai have to do with any of that? She wasn’t a combatant. She never shot anyone.

And that is exactly the point the boycott campaign is trying to make: one way or another, we are all accomplices.

Israel has fabricated complex social, legal, and social structures over the years in an attempt to foster our cooperation with the injustices of the occupation and to preempt any critical thoughts we might have...

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IDF releases leading Palestinian nonviolent activist Ayed Morrar

Morrar was released without even appearing before a judge. Ahmed, his son, remains in prison pending an investigation into posts he wrote on Facebook. 

Ayed Morrar, who led the Palestinian village of Budrus in a nonviolent struggle against the separation barrier, was released from prison on Wednesday after being arrested by Israeli security forces two days prior.

Ahmed, Morrar’s son, who was also arrested remains in prison. His detention was extended for another five days pending investigation into posts he wrote on Facebook. The police released Ayed without any court hearing.

“It is simply bizarre,” said attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents Ayed and Ahmed. “Before the hearing, I spoke with the police. With the support of the military prosecutor they agreed to release [Ayed]. This wasn’t even the court’s decision, there was no hearing at all, no one signed off on this. I cannot explain it.”

The police’s conduct appears even stranger considering its response to the court following attorney Lasky’s urgent demand to release Ayed and Ahmed.

“This is the first stage of investigation,” the police wrote in response to Lasky’s demand. “There are numerous activities that form the basis of the allegations against the detainees but it is not possible to describe them in detail in this response due to their confidentiality.”

The police response also criticized Lasky. “Needless to say, Attorney Lasky almost automatically submits requests to shorten the length of detention with the intention of frustrating investigators.” In other words, the police representative is criticizing Lasky simply for trying to do her job – freeing Palestinians arrested arbitrarily – while in the meantime releasing Ayed before his hearing.

“This is not the first time the police have arrested activists engaged in nonviolent resistance to the occupation in order to intimidate them,” Lasky said. “Perhaps this is how [the police] are trying to stop their activities.”

WATCH: Israeli forces arrest Ayed Morrar and his son Ahmed:

Morrar was a key figure in the nonviolent protests against the separation wall, which swept Budrus during the early 2000s, after the state announced that it would confiscate 300 acres of land in order to build the separation wall. Those protests would serve as inspiration for other popular protests across the West Bank, in villages such as Bil’in and Nabi Saleh, against the wall and settlements.

In the film “Budrus,” which tells the story of...

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'With my head held high': Conscientious objector freed after 110 days in prison

The Israeli army had sentenced Helman to six separate prison sentences for his refusal to be conscripted into the military and, in his words, ‘take part in the occupation and Israel’s policies of oppression vis-a-vis the Palestinians.’

Conscientious objector Matan Helman was discharged from the Israeli army on Thursday after six stints in prison adding up to a total of 110 days behind bars. The official reason for his discharge: Bad, grave behavior.

Helman, 20, from Kibbutz HaOgen, first declared his refusal to be conscripted into the military for reasons of conscientious objection in November of 2017.

In an interview the day before appearing at the IDF induction base, Helman said: “I am at peace with my decision, which I have been deliberating for four years. I am at peace with my path, although of course I am afraid of what it will be like in prison.”

“But I believe that I am following my truth and that is what will keep me strong in prison,” he added, “and I have a lot of support from my friends and those around me.”

Military service in Israel is compulsory for non-Orthodox Jews and for young men in the Druze community. A small but growing movement of youngsters has taken a public stand in refusing to be conscripted, almost always resulting in prison sentences.

Helman has served his six prison sentences in “Military Prison 6,” where most male conscientious objectors are held alongside soldiers who have been imprisoned for various other reasons.

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Israeli army regulations do permit exemptions from military service for pacifism, but those exemptions are denied to anyone whose refusal is deemed political or tied to the occupation in any way. Only once in the past 14 years has the army recognized a conscientious objector.

About a month ago, ahead of one of his multiple sentencing hearings before an army conscientious objection committee, Helman submitted a statement in which he described why he decided to be a conscientious objector, and how learning about the occupation in his youth movement influenced that decision.

“I remember how surprised I was to hear about the siege [on Gaza], the checkpoints, the home demolitions, Israel’s control over water, electricity, and infrastructure, about the fact that we are ruling over millions of people without the right to...

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Blaming a child for the sniper's bullet that killed him

Education Minister Naftali Bennett claims 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub wouldn’t have been shot dead by an Israeli sniper if he had been at school. Bennett’s comments reflect a reality in which Israeli soldiers kill with impunity. 

The Israeli army kills children. That isn’t new. Occasionally, the name of one of those children appears in the headlines, and the Israeli authorities are forced to respond. Their responses almost always expose a truth more terrible than the killings themselves.

That is what happened on Sunday morning, when Army Radio morning show host Razi Barkai asked Education Minister Naftali Bennett if “we had gone too far” in killing 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub during the Gaza return march protests last Friday.

“If he had gone to school like every other kid,” Bennett responded, “there wouldn’t have been a problem.” That is what Israel’s education minister had to say about the murder of a child – killed by a sniper’s bullet – during a protest.

The first thing that came to mind when I heard Bennett’s horrifying response was that a less ignorant, and perhaps less racist, government minister would know that there is no class on Fridays in the Palestinian school system.

Then I pictured the tens of thousands of students that Bennett’s political allies – and Bennett himself – bring to hate-filled protests in the alleys and streets of the Muslim Quarter on Jerusalem Day. Mohammed Ayoub, unlike those children, was protesting on his land: the battered, besieged, and starved Gaza Strip that was his home.

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Then I thought about what kind of school system Bennett thinks the dead boy attended. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Gaza, 327 school buildings and 199 kindergartens were damaged during the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Twenty-two of those schools were severely damaged; seven were destroyed entirely. In most schools in the strip, students are forced to learn in two, sometimes three shifts due to a classroom shortage.

Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza has made rebuilding the schools nearly impossible due to the ban on importing most building materials. As have Washington’s cuts to UNRWA’s budget. Half a million children in the occupied territories have only partial, irregular access to education. And Bennett asks why Mohammed Ayoub wasn’t in school.

What would await Ayoub within the walls of...

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In Israel of 2018, bereavement is a 'lifetime achievement'

Israel awarded its most prestigious prize to Miriam Peretz, whose two sons were killed in combat in Lebanon and Gaza. Here are three Palestinians who lost their children, but won’t likely be recognized for their grief.

By Orly Noy

In the days of the Iran-Iraq War, before Iran sent out young — and often very young — men to the front, they would be handed a key to wear around their necks. The promise was that if and when they lose their lives out on the battlefield, the key would open the gates of heaven.

I was reminded of this horrifying story when I heard that Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett chose to award the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement — the most prestigious prize given to Israeli citizens — to Miriam Peretz, the mother of two IDF soldiers who were killed in combat in Lebanon and Gaza respectively. Israel does not send its soldiers to their possible death in order to make it to heaven, but in hopes that their deaths will reward their grieving mothers with a vaunted prize.

Many criticized the Israel Prize committee for failing in the past to give the award to women, Mizrahim, or other marginalized groups. Peretz, as a Mizrahi woman, is the perfect candidate. What is her lifetime achievement? Bereavement. The committee explained its decision as such:

Bennett, who went to Peretz’s house to announce that she had won, tweeted. “Miriam Peretz, ‘The Mother of the Boys,’ who mourned Oriel and Eliraz z”l, dedicated her life to education. Miriam did not choose her difficult life circumstances, yet chose to live and give life to an entire nation. She is the mother of us all.”

Let’s put aside the hypocrisy of a decision by a state that blames Palestinians for celebrating its dead as shahids (martyrs) and supporting their families, while at the same time awarding its most prestigious prize to a woman whose public status is the result of her sons’ deaths. If the criteria for winning awards is how constructively you deal with grief, then the following three people should have won not only the Israel Prize, but the Nobel Prize.

In January 2007, Bassam Aramin mourned the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Abeer. She was killed by a rubber bullet fired by a Border Police officer, after she bought herself a few sweets on her way home from school with...

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New video contradicts IDF narrative of killing in Jericho

Israeli soldiers shot Yasin al-Saradih in Jericho after he tried to attack them, then the army kept changing its story about how he died. New video shows soldiers abusing and beating him well after he was shot, without treating him.

Soldiers invade the heart of a Palestinian city, clashes ensue and a Palestinian is killed. When news of the killing breaks, the army changes its version of events over and over again. That is, until the video comes out, refuting each and every one of the IDF’s claims.

On February 22, at around 1 a.m., 20 Israeli soldiers entered Jericho’s city center on an arrest mission. Fifteen minutes later, some of the soldiers entered and searched a home while another group of soldiers waited at the end of the alley. The Israeli soldiers’ presence in a Palestinian city predictably led to clashes and stone throwing. At a certain point, Yasin al-Saradih, 35, ran with a metal bar attached to the rim of a car’s wheel and tried to attack the soldiers who were standing at the entrance to the alley.

Security cameras captured in the incident. Al-Saradih is indeed seen running toward the soldiers with a metal bar until one of them shoots him in his lower body at point-blank range. After he is shot, three more soldiers appear and begin kicking al-Saradih, who is laying on his stomach. They then hold him down, shine flashlights on him, kick him again, and drag him through the alley. After 10 minutes, during which he is not given medical treatment, one of the soldiers throws a tear gas grenade at the entrance to the alley, at which point the soldiers are seen evacuating al-Saradih, most likely to avoid the tear gas, outside the frame of the CCTV footage.

A full 15 minutes after that, the soldiers once again show up on the CCTV footage, outside the alley — this time carrying al-Saradih by his arms and legs. They put him in an army jeep that takes him away.

Not long after the incident, Palestinian rights groups — backed by the CCTV footage — reported that al-Saradih had been beaten to death by the soldiers. At that point the IDF Spokesperson changed its version of the events several times. At first, the IDF Spokesperson claimed that “a terrorist armed with a metal bar ran toward IDF soldiers...

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Defying racist legislation: New bill seeks to turn Israel into a true democracy

In the face of an onslaught of nationalist, anti-Arab laws, one lawmaker is proposing a simple alternative: transforming Israel into a state for all its citizens.

A few years ago, my colleague Noam Sheizaf conducted a fascinating interview with the executive director of Adalah, Hassan Jabareen, in which the former raised the idea that the rise of nationalist and anti-democratic legislation was actually a response to the Palestinian-Israeli public taking its citizenship more seriously — both its rights and the obligations that that citizenship entails. Considering the conduct of the government, as well as that of the Arab public in Israel over the past decade, it seems there is some truth to Sheizaf’s suggestion.

More than 10 years ago, between 2006 and 2007, Arab civil society organizations challenged the country’s Jewish majority by proposing a series of documents titled “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel.” The documents did not merely demand formal recognition of rights for the Arab minority, but proposed the wholesale transformation of Israel from a nationalist ethnocracy into a democracy based on equal rights. These documents not only failed to stimulate the kind of public debate that was hoped for; over the last decade, they have been answered with a wave of discriminatory and racist legislation, including the Nakba Law, the Family Unification Law, and, perhaps most significantly, the Nation-State Law.

In light of the Nation-State Law, which is meant to formalize the status of Arabs as second-class citizens, Knesset Member Yousef Jabareen (Hadash, the Joint List) has proposed a new Basic Kaw in response: Israel, a Democratic, Egalitarian, and Multi-cultural State.

The parallels to the Nation-State Law are intentional: for every discriminatory clause, Jabareen, who has a PhD in law, has proposed democratic alternatives based on equal citizenship for Arabs and Jews. Whereas the goal of the Nation-State Law, according to the proposed bill, is “to defend the status of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, so as to define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles in Israel’s declaration of independence,” the goal of Jabareen’s bill is “to define Israel as a democratic and multi-cultural state that guarantees complete civil, cultural, and national equality to all of its citizens.”

“Over the past several months discussion of the Nation-State Law, of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, has increased,” Jabareen said, explaining...

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