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Ashrawi slams Israeli passage of 'Nation-State' bill

May 4, 2018 10:00 A.M. (Updated: May 7, 2018 9:17 P.M.)
Hanan Ashrawi, with the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --PLO Executive Committee member Dr Hanan Ashrawi has slammed the passing of a ‘Jewish nation-state bill’, deeming it illegal, a violation of human rights and accusing it of seemingly condoning 'ethnic cleansing.'

Dr Ashrawi’s comments were made yesterday, in response to Israel’s passage of a draft law that defines Israel “as the Jewish and democratic nation state of the Jewish people to self-determination in their historic homeland.”

64 Knesset members voted in favor of the bill's passage, while 50 voted against. One of the bill's sponsors, MK Avi Dichter was quoted while discussing the bill: "Anyone who does not belong to the Jewish nation cannot define the State of Israel as his nation-state."

Dichter continued: "The Palestinians will not be able to define Israel as their nation-state. The nation-state law is the insurance policy we are leaving for the next generation."

Dr Ashrawi response was issued yesterday in a media release: “Once again, Israel has reaffirmed its intent of institutionalizing discrimination, racism and xenophobia against all aspects of Palestinian life, transforming the military occupation into a deliberate sectarian confrontation and establishing ideological beliefs as official policy.”

The legislation proposed would constitute the violation of human rights, democracy, and disregard the respective international law if passed, according to Ashrawi, who went on to add that it could deprive Palestinian citizens in Israel of economic, as well as political and social rights; transforming what she describes as second and third-class citizens.

“Undoubtedly, Israel is working to achieve ethnic purity and prolong the occupation and its ongoing system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, ridding itself of any responsibility toward the Palestinians and eradicating the right of return for Palestinian refugees.”

Ashrawi called upon the international community for a response to Israel’s passage of the draft: “In light of the serious escalation of Israeli efforts to superimpose all of the ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine, it is incumbent upon all members of the international community to intervene immediately, not just to prevent further deterioration, but to also undo the damage and rectify the situation as soon as possible.”

According to Israeli media, “another section of the bill approved in the late-night session is intended to allow establishment of communities for Jews only, even though representatives of the attorney general’s office and the Knesset’s legal department have deemed such a move discriminatory and unconstitutional."

The bill has passed the first of three votes in the Knesset, where it will be submitted to a special Knesset committee.

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