At the beginning of this week, the Legislation Ministerial Committee ratified, with an absolute majority, a bill submitted by eight members of the right-wing party, 'Yisrael Beiteinu', to amend the " Independence Day Law" whereby anyone commemorating the Nakba would be subject to imprisonment for a three-year term!!?
The justification of the bill stated that, " it is proposed that the law prohibit actions tantamount to the marking of Independence Day or the actual establishment of the state as a day of mourning, and that a harsh penalty be imposed on those who exploit the democratic and enlightened character of the State of Israel in order to destabilize it from within". The above-mentioned Ministerial Committee includes 19 ministers; its functions include determining the Government's position from special bills put forward in the Knesset for approval.
The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), while reaffirming its unequivocal rejection of these bills, considers the (Governmental) Ministerial Committee support of the amendment, as effective implementation of the agenda of the fascist right-wing parties who participate in the government. These parties adopt racist programs that call for the restriction of the fundamental human and citizen rights and basic freedoms of the Palestinian minority in the country, on the pretext of 'disloyalty to the state'.
The HRA views this resolution as an official adoption of the racist parties' agendas by the Government, knowing that there have been a large number of similar bills proposed in recent months, which have the support of the majority of the current members of the government and the Knesset. This poses a real threat to the fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular, the basic right of freedom of expression, association and demonstration, which will be substantially and directly affected if these bills are passed.
On this issue, the HRA Director, Mohammad Zeidan, said, "The rise of racism in the Jewish sector, and the increasing calls for rejection of the Palestinian presence in the country on both the official and popular levels in recent years, have explicated the racist agendas on the legal and legislative levels, which poses a fundamental challenge that requires the firm international community's response, and at least, the adoption of a clear position of rejection."
Zeidan added, "It is absurd that meetings with Lieberman (the Foreign Minister!) Continue in world capitals, while he and his party are the leadership and symbol of this approach and the fascist racist ideology which continues to propose and adopt racist legislation that is contrary to human rights laws and international law principles. It is inconceivable that the European Union continues to have strong relations with Israel, and also works to upgrade and develop these relations in spite of all these setbacks and violations of basic human rights."
Zeidan affirmed that "the Arab Association for Human Rights will approach the EU – Israel Association Council, which will hold its meeting on June 15, 2009 demanding the inclusion of this issue on its agenda, since the adoption of the law is a flagrant violation of the 'partnership agreement' between the two parties, and of universal human rights conventions, and first and foremost, the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' and the 'International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights'."
Zeidan said, "The Arab Association for Human Rights calls for the continued commemoration of the Nakba, so that the popular actions are a response to the racist laws, because the history and human memory, both individual and collective, are not subjected to the laws or policies directed and produced according to a racist mood or a fascist hostile atmosphere."
The Arab Association for Human Rights
May 25, 2009