Israels New Basic Law and the Making of the Apartheid State

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1643 ... July 26, 2018

Israel’s New Basic Law and the Making of the Apartheid State

The Socialist Project (SP) joins Israeli, Palestinian, and international civil society organizations in condemning the "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People" which recently passed the Israeli Knesset (with 62 in favor, 55 against and two abstentions on 19 July 2018). The Jewish supremacy enshrined in the law amounts to the formal incorporation of apartheid as an Israeli constitutional principle.

Apartheid is defined by the United Nations (in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court) as "an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups." Such an order has long been in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT),... as Jewish settlers illegally colonizing Palestinian lands are afforded legal rights denied to the Arab majority in these areas. Moreover, a less formal apartheid regime has similarly existed within Israel’s legal borders, where scores of discriminatory laws and practices systematically violate the rights of Palestinian residents -- 21 per cent of Israel’s population -- despite some formal protections.

Nevertheless, the new law marks the formalization and entrenchment of this regime within the Israeli constitution, finally and fully eliminating any pretence of equality for Palestinian residents of Israel while further weakening already extremely limited protections for those in the OPT. The law explicitly commits the state to promoting the illegal colonization and ethnic cleansing programs in the OPT that are rapidly eroding any plausible two-state settlement, eliminates Arabic as an official language, and much more. Indeed the full extent of the law’s potential harmful effects on Palestinian rights is still unclear.

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