Experts: Israel uses law on citizenship for political purposes

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 13 /Trend, U.Sadikhova/

Israel does not need to update the law on citizenship, which, rather, was adopted to force the Palestinians to recognize "the Jewish state for Jewish people."

"The new citizenship law, or "decision," is both infuriating and problematic, sending out a message that hurts the Israeli Arab citizens and depicts Israel in a negative manner throughout the world," Avishay Braverman, Minister of Minority Affairs Equality & Partnership, told Trend.

At Sunday's meeting of Cabinet of Ministers, the Israeli government approved a bill which obliges the oath of allegiance to the Jewish state upon entry into the citizenship of Israel.

The new law, which was proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is applied only to non-Jews, including Israel's Arab citizens, who constitute 20 percent of the population.

"Taking a closer look into the law, we can only see that the government is digging itself into a hole that will be difficult to get out of," Braverman said.

Commentator of Jerusalem Post newspaper Gershon Baskin does not think it is very significant because Israel has been existed for 62 years without this law.

"This was a foolish move, it is a point of political principle rather than to have significance," Baskin, head of Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), told Trend in a telephone conversation.

It is a part of domestic battle. The Israelis are trying to force Palestinians to recognize Israel as a state for Jewish people, so this was a part of politcial tactic to do.

"If Israel does not demand it from its citizens, how it can demand it from the Palestinians," the Israeli analyst said.

Formally, Israeli Arabs enjoy equal rights with the Jewish population of Israel, including the election and participation in the national parliament - the Knesset.

MKs also do not see the need for the new bill.

Member of the faction of the Labor Party Orit Noked hopes that when it gets to more progressed stage in legislation, it will be removed from the agenda.

"The proposal is contradictive of the Labor Party's values, as it promotes coexistence, partnership with the Arab sector and defending minorities," MK Noked told Trend.

KM and Chairman of the Arab bloc "Raam"-"Taal", Ibrahim Tsartsur, believes that promoting further the law on citizenship, "the Israeli government shows nationalist views towards the Arabs and other non-Jewish peoples."

"Ultimately, racism and radical views, which are developing rapidly in Israel, will put it in a very difficult position in front of the entire international community," Tsartsur told Trend by telephone.

Arabian MK considers the law a discrimination against the Arab population of Israel, in particular the Palestinians. According to him, this indicates a desire of Israel to be recognized as mono-ethnic or the Jewish state, which would have disastrous consequences for both Israel itself and for the peace process in general.

The new law on citizenship has coincided with a crisis in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that were suspended less than a month after resumption. Obstacle is the refusal by the Israeli government to extend the moratorium on the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday called on Palestinians to recognize Israel as Jewish state instead of introducing an additional ban on settlement activity, which was followed by an immediate rejection.

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