The nation state law passed by the Israeli Knesset last week formalised the status of Israel’s non-Jewish minority population as second-class citizens – particularly the 20% who are Palestinian. The legislation is seen by many within Israel and the international community as racist and entrenching a policy of Apartheid. Democracy is underpinned by a commitment to equality for all its citizens, but this law fundamentally undermines democracy in Israel as well as the country’s standing in the international community.
Self-determination is a right that everyone has under international law, wherever they are from and whatever their identity. To restrict, select or set exclusivity for rights on the basis of race or religion is nothing short of systematic discrimination. This creates a two-tier system and plays into dangerous narratives of superiority, dehumanisation and division.
However, the impacts of this law go further and force the Palestinian people further away from the realisation of their rights to their own state. Much like the actions of the US administration moving its Embassy, this law recklessly prejudices the final status negotiations on Jerusalem by declaring a “whole and united Jerusalem” as the capital and home of the Jewish people. This week’s events follow a pattern of actions by Israel which are gradually making the Two State Solution a practical impossibility on the ground. In doing so, they are denying the Palestinian people their self-determination and a homeland of their own.
Grahame Morris MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.