Anti-Palestinian law, described as ''racist'', extended by Israeli cabinet
Israel's Cabinet approved Sunday the extension of a law banning Palestinians with Israeli Arab spouses from living in Israel.
The law, condemned by Amnesty International as racist, was enacted last year for an initial one-year period. It was extended by six months, but still needs parliamentary approval.
Israeli-Arab legislator Azmi Bishara denounced the Cabinet's decision, calling it "racist." "There is an international democratic consensus that the Israeli law ... discriminates against large numbers of Israeli citizens," he said, according to The AP.
An Israeli Cabinet minister said last year that between 1993 and 2003, 100,000 Palestinians received Israeli residence permits through marriage, and that the law was needed to halt the influx.
The law also separates Palestinians who carry Israeli residence papers and live in Arab east Jerusalem from spouses and family in the adjacent West Bank.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination has expressed concern about this law and has called on Israel to revoke it and reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification on a non-discriminatory basis. The UN Human Rights Committee has likewise called on Israel to revoke the law and to reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification of all citizens and permanent residents.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel wrote to the ministers that the law was "extremely unconstitutional, racist and discriminatory, as it deprives basic rights on nationalistic grounds." (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)