by Rebecca Vilkomerson
July 3, 2008
Using the word “apartheid” as a description for what is happening in Israel is hotly contested, at least in the United States. But in Israel, it is becoming quite common. Following closely on the heels of Yediot Aharonot, which published a piece (albeit only in Hebrew) calling Route 443 an apartheid road on June 10th (see http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2008/06/apartheid-road-route-443.html for more coverage), this past weekend, in its prime Op-Ed spot, Haaretz published an article by its own publisher, Amos Schoken, entitled “So as Not to Be an Apartheid State.” This article addresses Israel’s Citizenship Law, which in practice prevents Palestinian Israeli citizens from marrying and living together with residents of the Occupied Territories. Schoken, well known as being on the left side of the Zionist spectrum, is also the third generation of Schokens to publish Haaretz, and thus firmly embedded in Israel’s establishment.
So As Not to Be an Apartheid State
The government’s decision last week to extend the validity of the Citizenship Law (Temporary Order), for another year, is evidence that the legal barriers preventing severe discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens and harm to their civil rights have been removed.
This extension is the eighth since the law was first passed in 2003, and it shows just how naive Justice Edmond Levy’s position was when he refused to join in the 2006 decision by five judges from the High Court of Justice, who stated that the law was unconstitutional, that it contravened the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom, and that it must be removed from the law books. Levy explained his refusal by saying that he saw no need to intervene because only two months remained until the law expired. However, at the end of the two months, the law was extended by a year, and now they want to extend it for yet another year.
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