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Israeli-Arab Committee launches legal steps against Nationality Law

Aug. 7, 2018 5:28 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 30, 2018 1:22 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Members of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel announced on Tuesday the launch of their own struggle against the controversial Nationality Law, demanding its cancellation.

The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel turned to the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, demanding them to immediately intervene and support the cancellation of the law.

Muhammad Barakeh, head of the High Follow-Up Committee, said in a statement "we're saying these things not on behalf of a party or a movement in the Arab population, but on behalf of the Arab public in general."

Barakeh stressed that "we demand the unconditional cancellation of the law."

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel also filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice against the Nationality Law, calling it a bid to progress "ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies."

Adalah said that the law "has distinct apartheid characteristics" and denies "civil and national rights of Palestinians in their homeland."

On Saturday, tens of thousands opposing the law had demonstrated against it in Tel Aviv, calling for its annullement to ensure equality for Israel's non-Jewish minorities.

The law, which was passed by the Israeli Knesset in July, enshrines the status of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and includes legally preserving Israel's "democratic" character, its state symbols (national anthem, flag, icon), Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Hebrew as the official language and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry.

Meanwhile, the Arabic language will receive a "special status" as Israel's second official language. The law, however, would not require making state services accessible in Arabic.

Critics of the law raised concerns that it will permit the exclusion of various populations, based on nationality or religion, and allow the illegal establishment of Jewish settlements and communities only.

Meanwhile, supporters believe it ensures the Jewish character of the state for generations to come.

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