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Tibi: Racist law will face no obstacle

July 16, 2010 10:38 A.M. (Updated: July 17, 2010 10:18 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi confirmed reports that the Israeli cabinet is set to pass a law requiring Arab residents to swear allegiance to a Jewish State.

The law would be one of a series of measures poised to be voted into law on Sunday by the Israeli cabinet, all of which would make it more difficult for Palestinians to be granted permanent residency or citizenship in Israel.

The already stringent and discriminatory laws governing citizenship and residency in Israel and Israeli-controlled areas make obtaining residency status via marriage or family reunification a long and often unsuccessful process.

On Sunday, Tibi explained, the series of laws will be presented by Israeli Ministers of Justice and the Interior Ya'akov Ne'eman and Eli Yishai, adding that he expects all of the laws to go forward.

“We must urgently confront these measures,” Tibi said, calling it a move that targets the core of Palestinians inside Israel, and called on rights organizations to intervene to prevent the laws from being passed.

Already, Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel Adalah, protested the proposed wording of the loyalty declaration. In a written statement, the group opposed the wording of the declaration of allegiance, which Tibi said would include the phrase “I affirm that I will be a loyal citizen to the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

In a statement, Adalah said it was concerned because the wording “requires all non-Jews to identify with Zionism and imposes a political ideology and loyalty to the principles of Judaism and Zionism."

Tibi said that the initiative was a reflection of the general atmosphere in the Knesset, “which represents the most extremist governmental coalition since the establishment of Israel,” noting that given the makeup of the government, leaders would “ not find any obstacle in passing the decision.”

As it stands, Tibi explained, applicants can be granted citizenship or identity cards through an oath that does not mention Judaism. He called the change an affront to democracy.

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