Monthly Archives: May 2004

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Israeli land for Jews only. Isn’t that racism?

Yesterday, the Israeli Parliament approved, in preliminary reading, a bill that calls for all lands under the control of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to be allocated to Jews only. In this way Israel strikes another blow against democracy, fueling discrimination and Apartheid. The proposal of the bill, initiated by the Israeli right wing, Kadima and Likud, prevents non-Jews from participating in bids to purchase land owned by the JNF (Jewish National Fund), 13 percent of all state land.

The bill passed by a massive majority of 64 MKs to 16, despite a pre-vote debate in the Knesset Presidency, in which many raised their voices against the bill, calling for it to be cancelled. These requests were rejected by the legal advisor to the Knesset on the grounds that “racism is not explicit in the proposal”.

So what shall we call the exclusion of Arab citizens of Israel from participation in bids to purchase lands? What can we call it except racist; this bill defined by some Knesset Deputies an “abominable legislation” that serves only to institutionalize discrimination towards non-Jews and to legitimate a democracy on an ethnic basis? This law is just one more expression of racism and discrimination in Israel, where demolition houses owned by its Arab citizens, illegal expropriation of their lands, uprooting of their trees is ongoing. The only opposition to the proposal came by Meretz-Yachad Representatives, left wing party, committed in social justice.

“The bill approved yesterday by the Knesset shows the real face of the government -they declared- and risks representing Israel as an apartheid state”. The Arab parties, Balad and Raam-Taal, and Hadash, the Jewish and Arab left, also denounced the risk of legalizing the “great robbery of lands” that has continued since1948 to our own days towards Israeli Arabs”.

The Knesset’s real face cannot be the face of Uri Ariel, the radical of the settlers first supporter of this bill, otherwise the increase in the level of racism, and the consequent decrease in the level of democracy, will cause a serious shift in the direction of institutionalized apartheid and of the cancellation of all rights.