I am a political activist who has worked and lived in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This blog chronicles my time in Palestine and also provides news and analysis about Palestine and the situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
RED FLAG: Apartheid becomes official in Israel
Dear friends, please find below my article for Red Flag on Israel's new "nation-state" law.
Israeli Knesset (parliament) has enshrined decades of apartheid policy,
voting 62-55 for the Jewish Nation State Bill. Prime minister Benjamin
Netanyahu gloated that it was “a defining moment in the annals of
Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel”.
is not wrong. The lie peddled by Zionists and their supporters that
Israel is a model of democracy rather than a discriminatory, racist
oppressor state has been exposed once and for all.
bill codifies within Israel’s Basic Laws (the country’s de facto
constitution) that Israel is the “national home of the Jewish people”
and that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State
of Israel is unique to the Jewish people” – denying Palestinians and
other non-Jews such a right.
strips Arabic of its former status as an officially recognised language
of the state, and declares Jerusalem – in violation of international
law – the capital of Israel. It also legalises segregated Jewish-only
communities and townships. “The state views the development of Jewish
settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its
establishment and consolidation”, it reads.
its founding in 1948, Israel has used both legal discrimination and
military force to ethnically cleanse and oppress the indigenous
Palestinian population, imposing an apartheid system inside both the
Zionist state and the Palestinian territories seized in 1967.
the Centre for the Arab Minority in Israel notes 65 discriminatory laws
in Israel, which ensure the second class status of 1.8 million
Palestinians and other non-Jewish citizens. The laws cover such things
as land ownership, employment, housing, education, culture, marriage and
Jewish Nation State law does more than simply reaffirm discrimination.
It enshrines discrimination as a “constitutional value” – allowing
Israel to continue and extend its oppression of Palestinians. According
to Adalah, the new law will entrench “the privileges enjoyed by Jewish
citizens, while simultaneously anchoring discrimination against
Palestinian citizens and legitimising exclusion, racism, and systemic
of the bill’s sponsors, Avi Dichter, originally introduced it in 2011.
After its passing, Dichter – an anti-Arab racist and former head of
Israel’s secret police responsible for Shin Bet’s program of
extrajudicial murders – clarified its purpose: “We are enshrining this
important bill into a law today to prevent even the slightest thought,
let alone attempt, to transform Israel to a country of all its
declaration cuts to the heart of Zionism since its inception: the
so-called Palestinian demographic threat. An inherently racist and
dehumanising concept, it considers the growth of the Palestinian
population as a “ticking time bomb” and existential threat to the
to the establishment of Israel, the primary concern of Zionism was to
gain control of the Palestinian homeland, while ensuring that the
smallest number of Palestinian Arabs (who made up the overwhelmingly
majority of the population) remained.
creating a Jewish majority by ethnically cleansing more than 500
villages and forcing more than 750,000 Palestinians into exile in 1948,
the Zionist state’s primary concern shifted to the repression of the
150,000 Palestinians left inside the newly formed state and ensuring
that they remained an ethnic minority with no national rights.
1967, Israel extended its regime of oppression and repression to
another 1.5 to 2 million Palestinians when it illegally occupied East
Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Today, the Palestinian
population inside Israel, occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and
Gaza is about the same as the number of Jewish citizens of Israel.
it is an expansionist settler-colonial state, this presents a
“demographic dilemma” not only inside Israel. There is a long-held
Zionist aspiration to annex the territories seized in 1967 – an
aspiration reiterated by the central committee of Netanyahu’s Likud
Party on the last day of 2017. In a unanimous vote, the committee called
for annexation of the West Bank and for the Likud leadership to work
toward “unhindered construction” of settlements and the extension of
“Israeli law and sovereignty”.
is emboldened by the ascension of Donald Trump, whose brand of
anti-Muslim ethno-nationalism entirely fits with Likud’s hard right
Zionist desire to be rid of the “Palestinian problem”.
has for decades created “facts on the ground” in illegal colonies in
the West Bank. But the formal annexation of Palestinian territories
occupied in 1967 would mean the Zionist state would have to contend with
a Palestinian demand for full equality.
Jewish Nation State law therefore has been passed not only to prevent
the creation of a bi-national state, enshrining apartheid within Israel.
It has been passed also with an eye to ensuring that any expanded
Israeli state will privilege the rights of Jewish citizens above those
of any Palestinians and other non-Jews.