On the occasion of the International Day for Supporting the Rights of Palestinian Citizens of Israel, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel released a document, which affirms the demands of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Namely,
racist and discriminatory laws should be revoked. In regard of these laws and similar practices, concluding observations of the United Nations human rights treaty bodies should be implemented. The Nationality Bill is rejected because it turns Palestinians of Israel into second-class citizens. In addition to guaranteeing equality for all citizens under basic laws, discrimination on the basis of national affiliation, race, religion, and gender should be prohibited.
Mohammad Barakeh, Head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, presented the document: “We have organised the International Day for Supporting the Rights of Palestinian Citizens of Israel. We seek to establish an international solidarity network to support our fundamental rights. This year, the International Day for Supporting the Rights of Palestinian Citizens of Israel will be observed on 30 January 2018. It will have as its focus raising awareness of the international community about racist and discriminatory regulations. It also draws attention to a recently proposed Basic Law (constitutional item), titled Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People (Nationality Law). This document provides a brief overview of some recent regulations and includes a more detailed description of the Nationality Law. We hope that you join us in the activities of supporting human rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel on 30 January 2018.”
The document concludes that Palestinians of Israel are at the same time part of the Arab Palestinian people. Since it was established, Israel has implemented systematic discrimination policies against Palestinian citizens. Israel excludes and prevents these citizens from exercising their fundamental rights.
Since the State of Israel was proclaimed, Palestinian citizens have been subjected to systematic discrimination under laws, and more specifically in practice and policy making processes. Over recent years, however, discrimination has increased under laws. As shown in the document, the list of discriminatory and racist laws only covers a small set of the regulations enacted against Palestinians of Israel. The state’s policy towards this national minority impacts and targets social, political and all other aspects of life. It also negatively affects all members of the Palestinian community, from political leaders to activists, from men to women, and from detained persons to children. As a result, Palestinians are converted to second-class citizens in their own homeland.
The legal and social status of Palestinian citizens of Israel has incessantly deteriorated as the state seeks to consolidate its exclusive commitment to Jewish citizens. The current political climate in Israel poses a serious threat to fundamental rights of the Palestinian minority, parliamentarians who represent the Arab Palestinian minority in Israel, human rights organisations, and political activists against the occupation and discriminatory policies of the government. Undemocratic, discriminatory provisions of the said laws gravely violate the rights of Palestinians of Israel.
Against this background, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel calls for urging the government of Israel to repeal the racist and discriminatory laws, cited in this document. In regard of these laws and similar practices, concluding observations of the United Nations human rights treaty bodies should be put to effect. Stressing rejection of the Nationality Bill, basic laws should guarantee equality for all citizens. Discrimination on the basis of national affiliation, race, religion and gender should also be prohibited.