According to Hamoked, the
Center for the Defence of the Individual, Israel revoked residency rights
for about 240,000 Gaza and West Bank Palestinians from 1967 to 1994.
About 15,000 were aged 90 or older.
Another 14,000 East Jerusalemites were included through 2011.
HaMoked's Freedom of Information petition provided information not previously
Revocations were executed two ways. Palestinians remaining abroad for
extended periods or excluded from Israeli 1981 through 1988 census data
Residents under either criteria were assigned a "ceased residency status."
No hearings or reviews were held. Official notices weren't given. Diktat
authority violated international law. Protected persons were expelled
from their homeland. Family separations and other hardships followed.
The right of return is universal.
Under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within
the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own,
and to return to his country."
In 1969, the General Assembly passed Resolution 2535. It recognizes
"that the problem of Palestine Arab refugees has arisen from the denial
of their inalienable rights under the Charter of the United Nations
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
In 1974, General Assembly Resolution 3236 reaffirmed "the inalienable
right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from
which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return."
UNGA Resolution 194 (December 1948) said "refugees wishing to return
to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted
to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should
be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss
of or damage which, under the principles of international law or in
equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible."
Israel's UN admission was conditional on accepting and implementing
Resolution 194. The General Assembly reaffirmed the right of return
135 times. Residents everywhere traveling abroad for any length of time
or reason have similar rights.
According to Association for Civil Rights in Israel's Executive Director,
Hagai El-Ad, "It's the occupation, stupid."
Ed-Ad quoted Israel's Supreme Court, saying:
For 45 years, "Judea, Samaria and Gaza have been under the State’s belligerent
occupation. They are not part of the State of Israel."
Anyone not living "on Mars" understands, said El-Ad. Forty-five years
of occupation institutionalized harshness. Israel made its choice. "What
is left to deal with now are (its) consequences."
On June 11, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
submitted a report to the Human Rights Committee of the UN High Commissioner
of Human Rights.
"(T)en urgent issues" were discussed. They cover discriminatory practices
against Arab Israeli citizens and Israel's violations of international
Lack of Equal Rights Protections
Israel has Basic Laws. No constitution exists. Equal rights aren't granted.
One-fifth of Israel's population suffers. Institutionalized racism harms
them. No legal protections exist.
Dozens of discriminatory laws adversely affect Arab citizens. Rights
apply only for Jews. All aspects of life are impacted. They include
citizenship, political participation, land, housing, culture, education,
healthcare, employment, and religious rights.
Excessive Force Against Peaceful Demonstrators
Arab Israeli citizens are targeted like occupied Palestinians. Extreme
violations occur. Residents trying to protect their homes, property,
and communities are harmed.
Police attack them with tear gas, rubber bullets, truncheons, and other
weapons for defending their legal rights. Many are left homeless. They're
forced to pay demolition costs. No redress is possible. Police states
don't grant it.
Arab citizens are criminalized and arrested for acting in self-defense.
Adalah lawyers defend those lawlessly charged.
Ban on Family Unification
Israel's Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law flagrantly discriminates
against Arab Israeli citizens. Separate and unequal is policy.
Legal status is denied Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens. Normal
family life, equality and human dignity aren't possible. Fundamental
legal rights are prohibited on the basis of national identity. Collective
punishment is policy.
Inviolable international laws are spurned. Banning family unification
affects normal life, privacy, children, equal rights, and protection
Adalah fought the law since enacted. In May 2006, a 6 - 5 Supreme
Court majority upheld it. Adalah called the ruling a "violation of human
rights and (failure) to provide a legal remedy (to) injured" Palestinian
spouses and family members.
Israel's High Court upheld a "racist law that denies a person's fundamental
constitutional rights on the basis of his or her national identity."
It went far beyond nationality, ethnicity, religion, and entry into
Israel. It legitimized collective punishment. It's prohibited under
international law. It also legitimized discrimination as policy. At
the same time, it exposed Israel's undemocratic harshness.
Democracies grant equal rights to all citizens. Separate and unequal
policies are prohibited. Judges ruling otherwise have no place on any
Violations of Religious Rights
In June 2011, after nearly 10 years of deliberation, Israel's Supreme
Court ruled that Beer Sheva's Big Mosque should have "Islamic Museum"
status. Petitioners want it reopened as a place of worship.
Municipal authorities want it only as a "general museum." Doing so detaches
it from its religious history and significance.
Authorities claimed making it operational would endanger public order
and security. The court disagreed. It said "many of the arguments put
forward should not have been made at all."
Nonetheless, municipal officials flagrantly violated its ruling. Last
December, it reopened the mosque as a general museum. Connections to
Islamic culture and heritage are prohibited.
Israel only respects Jewish sites. They regulated under the 1967 Protection
of Holy Sites Law. Through 2009, 135 sacred places were designated.
All are Jewish.
Many Muslim ones are neglected or desecrated. Some became, bars, night
clubs, stores or restaurants. Doing so shows appalling contempt for
anyone not Jewish.
Denigrating the Arabic Language
Hebrew and Arabic are official languages. State policy "remains unwilling
to grant substantive equal status to the Arabic language."
Ministries refuse to accept official documents in Arabic. Israeli Supreme
Court decisions are issued solely in Hebrew. Many are translated into
English. It's not an official language.
Laws and High Court rulings that road and other public signs be in Hebrew
and Arabic aren't enforced.
Demolitions and Ethnic Cleansing
Arab Bedouin citizens face ruthless discrimination. Israel declared
their village "unrecognized." International law recognizes no such legal
definition. Nonetheless, persecution, threats, demolitions, and forced
Around 200,000 Bedouins are affected. They represent about 30% of the
population. Israel calls them "trespassers on state land."
It's their land. It pre-dates Israel by generations. Parts of it were
established by military order in the 1950s. New land was provided to
substitute for other areas Israel expropriated. Banishing people from
their own land constitutes grand theft.
Discriminatory Negev Water Rights
Israel denies Bedouin families access to clean water. Unrecognized village
residents improvise as best they can. Doing so creates hardships and
poses health hazards. Poor quality water risks dehydration, intestinal
infections, dysentery, and other diseases.
Israel denies water to enforce ethnic cleansing. Israel's High Court
ruled Bedouins entitled to "minimal (water) access." It ordered several
villages connected to supplies. Israel's Water Board refused to comply.
Denial of Free Expression, Opinion and Association
Israeli Arabs always were marginalized. Netanyahu escalated attacks.
Israel's Knesset is more repressive and racist than others preceding
it. According to Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion
and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression:
Recent "restrictive bills....contravene international standards on the
right to freedom of expression and opinion."
Israel's Anti-Boycott Law grievously harms these rights. It prohibits
publicly boycotting Israeli institutions and illegal settlements.
The Nakba Law reduces or excludes funding for organizations conducting
activities contradicting the definition of Israel as a "Jewish and democratic"
state, or mourns Israel's independence.
Numerous other laws institutionalized discrimination and prohibitions
of fundamental rights.
Infringing Political Participation Rights
Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) affords every citizen the right "to take part in the conduct
of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives."
Nonetheless, Israeli Arabs are marginalized, excluded and persecuted.
Elected MKs had their parliamentary privileges denied. Others lost immunity.
Some face spurious criminal indictments for their legitimate, protected
MK Mohammed Barakeh was indicted for participating in four nonviolent
protests against Israel's Separation Wall, the 2006 Lebanon war, and
unaccountability of its officials for killing Palestinians.
MK Sa'id Naffaa lost his parliamentary immunity. He was then indicted
for visiting Syria in September 2007 as part of a holy site pilgrimage.
Spurious charges included contact with a foreign agent.
MK Haneed Zoabi's parliamentary privileges were stripped. At issue was
participating in the May 2010 humanitarian Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.
Her diplomatic passport was revoked. So were her overseas travel privileges,
and right to have the Knesset pay her legal expenses in case of criminal
She was viciously assailed. Called a "terrorist" and "traitor," extremist
ministers and MKs wanted, but failed, to have her Knesset membership
and citizenship revoked.
Violating Residence Rights
The 2011 Admissions Committees Law grants "admission committees" full
discretion to accept or reject individuals seeking community residency.
They operate in about 700 agricultural and small community towns. They're
built on state land nationwide.
Committee members must be representatives of "the Jewish Agency or the
World Zionist Organization." Arabs can be excluded for praying to the
At issue is institutionalizing preferential Jewish treatment, marginalizing
Arabs, and denying them equal rights. Israel legalized it.
A Final Comment
On June 12 Mondoweiss headlined "Haaretz article in Hebrew suggests
that racism is inherent in Zionism," saying:
Yonatan Mandel wrote it. He's a Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem Department
of Politics and Government researcher. One except covers the "Ulpana
Hill controversy, in which West Bank settlers are facing eviction" for
building homes on Palestinian land.
Mandel calls the debate "astounding. There’s the Israeli government
sitting on top of private Palestinian land, and negotiating with the
Jewish settlers such details as the compensation level, the number of
houses that will be built instead for them as well as moving them into
other areas under the responsibility of the 'Coordination of Government
Activities in the Territories Unit of the Civil Administration in Judea
and Samaria.' "
Palestinian land owners have no say. No compensation for losses are
offered. Nor are fair compromises proposed. They're never considered.
"Not only does Israel never compensate Palestinians for construction,
it mainly talks to them in the language of destruction."
"The Zionist movement, and now Israel, still do not see the Arabs. So
even in 2012, it still seems to have remained the 'hidden question;'
it remains an annoying buzz that there is really no need to address.
The problem is that today there are far fewer ears that can hear the
Zionism is fundamentally racist, extremist, undemocratic, and militant.
It espouses Jewish supremacy, exceptionalism, and uniqueness as God's
It institutionalized occupation, oppression, violence and dispossession.
It justifies structural inequalities. It rules by force, not coexistence.
It chooses confrontation over diplomacy and rule of law provisions.
It denies Arabs equal rights as Jews. No ideology this destructive can
endure. Peace and reconciliation aren't possible until it's universally
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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