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Israeli Supreme Court upholds Racist Citizenship law

Israeli Supreme Court upholds Racist Citizenship law

Last night, 11 January 2012, the Israeli Supreme Court delivered its decision on petitions submitted by human rights organizations regarding the amendments approved by the Knesset on the “Citizenship Law”, which by confession of its sponsors, was put forward to prevent the reunification of Palestinian families on both sides of the Green Line.


The Supreme Court, with a majority of its members, decided to accept the amendments, legalize them, and refute the petitions, which argued that these amendments were illegal, violate fundamental human rights, and constitute flagrant discrimination against the Arab citizens in the country.


This decision means the continued dispersal of hundreds of Palestinian families; preventing marriage between Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line and their fundamental right to form a family. This decision comes as a continuation of the 2006 Supreme Court decision, which also upheld the legitimacy of this unjust law.


Mohammad Zeidan, Director of the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), declared, "This resolution supports the racist policies applied by the State’s legislative and administrative authorities; while at the same time is a serious setback for the respect of human rights in the country in general, and the rights of the Palestinian minority in particular.  This decision comprehensively legalizes the consideration that every Palestinian is a security risk simply because of his/her nationality, without needing to prove that charge, and withoutallowing him/her to prove the contrary. 


Mr. Zeidan also added, “The HRA views this decision as a victory for the“Jewishness of the State” and the promotion of this value above human rights and international and humanitarian standards.”  The HRA Director affirmed thatthis decision practically accepts the sacrifice of human rights and violations in favor of the State’s national Jewish interests! 


Following the decision, one of the judges expressed this by saying, “HumanRights are not a recipe for national suicide.”  This stance is supported by the positions of the majority of the judges who, through their decision, expressedtheir support for waiving universal human values ​​and infringement of rights in order to “protect” the Jewishness of the State from the “demographic security threat” posed by the Palestinians!


The HRA Director also noted, “This decision confirms the final accedence of the legal system with its highest body to the circle of racism, which the government and the Israeli Knesset entered several years ago.”  Mr. Zeidan added, “It seems that the communal debate, which was represented by the rightist attack on the legal system, and the Supreme Court in particular, in recent months, has yielded in imposing the right-wing and fascist attitudes prevailing in the Knesset and the government in the Courts as well.  This is evident through the appointment of judges (for example, the appointment of a judge from the settlements,) or through court decisions, such as the one issued last week upholding the “Nakba Law”, and the Citizenship Law amendments yesterday!”   He added that this trend and these decisions constitute the final departure of the Supreme Courtfrom the circle of protecting the rights and freedoms in the State!


The Arab Association for Human Rights warns of the extension of fascist ideas in the government to become racist laws approved by legislature, and then approved and enacted by the legal system, which represents a further stage of escalation against human rights, particularly Palestinian minority and every citizen’s rights. This requires all international and human rights organizations to take a unified stand against these trends.  The HRA also demands that all official international institutions, particularly the United Nations and the European Union take clear positions condemning such legislation and move from denouncement to taking practical steps for the protection of human rights.  It also demands that they apply the same international standards adopted in dealing with Mediterranean countries, especially in light of the ongoing changes in the Arab world and stated international positions. This requires stipulating human rights as a condition for all dealings with Israel and regarding human rights and the rights of the Palestinian minority a red line in all the political and commercial agreements as well as at all levels.


The HRA also calls on all the local human rights organizations to take a clear and unified position about this decision and its implications on struggle tactics. Additionally, they should reconsider the possible means of action to resist these racist trends in official institutions and the three authorities in the state, as well as the public opinion support these trends enjoy among the Jewish majority!


The HRA also calls on the political parties and national representative institutions to unite their efforts.  Thus, giving a clear message to the world and its official and popular entities (embassies, parliaments, governments, the European Union, United Nations, international human rights organizations) demanding that they take effective measures to protect the rights of the Palestinian minority, and support their just struggle in the face of fascism, racism and discrimination. These trends were embodied in yesterday’s legislation and have provided a green light for the escalation of this alarming offensive.


Arab Association for Human Rights


12 January 2012