The world must act against the nation-state law in Israel
The controversial Jewish Nation-State Bill is gaining negative attention every passing day. The Bill passed after a stormy debate in Knesset officially defined Israel as the national homeland for Jewish people and asserts that “the realisation of the right to national self-determination is unique to the Jewish citizen”. The law also enshrines united Jerusalem as the capital and Hebrew as its State language, stripping Arabic of its former status as an official language. While Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the Bill as historic, it has sparked outrage among the Arab community of Israel and from the international community as well. The European Union, the Muslim World League and all Arab nations collectively opposed it as it disregards the 21% of Arabs in the country. The new law is also against the spirit of democratic Israel which promises to treat all its citizens with equal political and social rights.
The Right wing government under Benjamin Netanyahu has made a series of irrational, unconstitutional decisions since it came into power. In December last year, US President Donald Trump also announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Though it was rejected by a majority of world leaders and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the motion was vetoed by the United States. In May this year, the Trump administration officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem. This decision sparked protests and worldwide criticism. In addition, David Friedman who supports West Bank Settlement construction was appointed as the US Ambassador to Israel, just after entering the White House. Many of the President’s key advisors including his son-in-law Jared Kushner are Jewish. The US government has also announced its cutting of over $200 million in aid to Palestine, after which a total of 250 employees in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are expected to lose their jobs.
From the Temple Mount of the Jews to Haram al-Sharif of the Arabs, the country is a stronghold for two religious identities. The al-Aqsa Mosque is also the third holiest site for Muslims.
Palestinians view east Jerusalem as occupied territory and have been claiming it for their state capital. Banning Palestinians’ entry into the mosque, firing tear gas at worshippers and conducting raids by Israeli forces have become routinely activities. But it is true that the Palestine movement has become weaker in the recent past. A number of seminars have been organised in solidarity with Palestine but the unmatched leadership of Yaseer Arafat seems to be missing. There was a time when this movement had the support of leaders including the India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. India was also the first non-Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Palestine. Most of the world leaders even today stand in solidarity with Palestine. The United Nations and other international forums should look into arbitrary acts of Israel and help establish peace in the region. It will bring peace to the region and give justice to millions of people stranded in an unending blood bath.
KC Tyagi is a senior JD(U) leader and spokesperson.
The views expressed are personal