Arab-Israeli Delegation to UN: Pressure Israel to Nix Nation-state Law

Representatives from the Arab community in Israel met with UN deputy commissioner for human rights Wednesday, as part of an effort to pressure the international community to condemn Israel and cancel law

Representatives from the Arab community in Israel with Kate Gilmore, the UN deputy commissioner for human rights, September 19, 2018.
Representatives from the Arab community in Israel with Kate Gilmore, the UN deputy commissioner for human rights, September 19, 2018. Credit: Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Spokesperson

Representatives from the Arab community in Israel asked Kate Gilmore, the UN deputy commissioner for human rights, to pressure Israel to cancel the nation-state law, in a meeting on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the delegation, the representatives told Gilmore that the nation-state law contradicts Israel's commitments towards the international community, therefore requiring significant international steps to protect the Arab community.

>> Opinion: Why We Went to the UN Over Israel's Nation-state Law

The delegation included the chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Mohammed Barakeh, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), along with representatives of two organizations, Adalah, which filed a court petition against the nation-state law, and the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.

On Thursday, the delegation will meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, to which they have already submitted an official complaint against the nation-state law, along with the general secretary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, to which they submitted a complaint against the Knesset following the legislation.

Arab MKs and Higher Arab Monitoring Committee members have also met with representatives of the European Union and the Arab League. Two weeks ago, MK Ayman Odeh (Joint List) met with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and asked her to condemn the law and to act to bring to its cancelation. MKs from the Joint List also met with Luxembourg's foreign minister and asked him as well to act against the law in the EU.

The delegation is focusing its international efforts on presenting the effect the nation-state law may have on the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, along with the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people in general. The delegation is requesting the international community's intervention to support the status of the Arabic language and their right for equality as citizens and a native national minority, as well as changing what it calls “racist policies toward the Arab public.”

Israel passed the nation-state law on July 19. The legislation, first conceived and proposed about seven years ago, is meant to establish and enshrine Israel’s Jewish national values in law. The law officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people."

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