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EU's Mogherini meets Arab Joint List chairman

Sept. 5, 2018 3:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2018 12:58 P.M.)
BRUSSELS (Ma'an) -- The European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, met with Arab Joint List chairman, Ayman Odeh, in Brussels, on Tuesday evening, regarding the controversial "Nationality Law."

During the meeting with Mogherini, Odeh expressed his concern about the implications of the Nationality Law for non-Jewish minorities, specifically the Arab minority, and the serious violation of the principle of equality.

Odeh stressed "The opening expression of the law, 'Eretz Israel,' does not refer to the State of Israel within the 1967 borders but also to the West Bank. Thus this violates the attempt to reach peace between the two peoples."

He said that in Israel there is economic and social discrimination against Arabs and that there is incitement by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli ministers against Israeli-Arab citizens.

Odeh expressed gratitude to Mogherini for meeting with him, despite reports that Israeli officials attempted to pressure Mogherini to cancel the planned meeting.

He said "The EU's backing is crucial in our struggle to get the Nation-State Law canceled. When the rights of minorities are trampled on in a democracy, it is not an internal issue."

He also requested for condemnation from the EU and a call for the law's repeal in its institutions.

Odeh concluded "I am pleased to find that the Foreign Minister shares our concern that the law harms first and foremost Arab citizens, but also democracy and the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state and the chance for peace."

The EU spokesperson said that in the meeting, Mogherini and Odeh also discussed a wide range of issues were discussed in the meeting, including EU-Israeli relations, the Middle East peace process, and domestic developments in Israel.

The EU spokesperson mentioned that the Nationality Law "is first and foremost a matter of how Israel chooses to define itself, and we fully respect the internal Israeli debate on this."

"The EU values Israel’s commitment to the shared values of democracy and human rights, which have characterized our long standing and fruitful relations, and would not want to see these values being put in question or even threatened. Democracy and equality, including equal rights for minorities, are key tenets that define our societies."

The EU spokesperson added "The respect for human rights and fundamental principles are and will remain a central part of the EU-Israel partnership. We will continue to monitor the implications of this law in practice."

Several members of the Arab Joint List traveled to Brussels for today’s press conference at the EU Parliament under the headline "The crawling Apartheid: What Europe should do about the Jewish Nation-State Law."

The Arab Joint List seeks support from EU member states for a draft resolution condemning the controversial Nationality Law at the United Nations General Assembly.

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