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Erekat slams 'racist' Israeli citizenship law

April 14, 2013 6:58 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2013 10:34 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat on Sunday slammed Israel's decision to extend a law which prohibits granting residency or citizenship to Palestinians from the occupied territories who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel, a statement said.

"What the Israeli government has approved is a racist law attempting to distort the Palestinian social fabric and force the displacement of Palestinian families," Erekat said.

"Israel not only wants to control Palestinian freedom of movement and steal land and natural resources through its colonial settlement enterprise, but seeks to control the very right of our people to choose and establish a family."

The proposal was submitted to Israel's cabinet by Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar, a Likud member, and was based on Shin Bet's opinion of Gazans posing a security threat, Haaretz reported.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel law was enacted by the Israeli Knesset in 2003. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website says the temporary order is "security orientated" and enacted after people took advantage of Israeli identity to carry out "terrorist attacks."

Erekat called on the international community to "seriously examine the pattern of Israeli policies contributing to a situation of apartheid and to look into the wider effects and implications of the Israeli government’s precondition of being recognized as a Jewish State."

Human Rights Watch has said that "the law violates Israel's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which applies not only to race but also to national or ethnic origin."

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2003 called on Israel to revoke the law.
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