Jerusalem24 – The Israeli government passed the Citizenship Law, which includes a clause prohibiting the unification of Palestinian families in which one of the spouses is a resident of the West Bank or Gaza Strip, after approval by the Knesset General Assembly, in the second and third readings yesterday evening, Thursday, while the “Adala” human rights center stressed that The law is “one of the most racist laws in the world.”
The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah said in a statement that “the law preventing family unification is one of the most racist laws in the world, as there is no country in the world that prevents its citizens from exercising their right to form a family based on national or ethnic affiliation.”
They also stressed that “the Knesset has repeatedly renewed this law for 18 years for racist demographic goals, to maintain a Jewish majority within the Green Line and Jerusalem, in line with the principles of the racist Nationality Basic Law that establishes Jewish supremacy as a constitutional principle.”
45 members of Knesset voted in favor of passing the law, while 15 voted against it.
The law was discussed over the past three days and its provisions were voted on by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
The law was passed with the support of Knesset members from the right-wing factions in the opposition, who opposed it last year, while the Joint List opposed it.
About two and a half hours before the final vote, the Religious Zionism Party in the Knesset announced that it was considering withdrawing its support for the law, but at the end of an “urgent debate” called for by the faction’s chairman, Bezalel Smotrich; He announced that his bloc would continue to support the law.
Earlier Thursday, expectations indicated that the Israeli government would withdraw the bill. It was expected that the government would withdraw the bill due to the lack of a majority in support of it, and if the Joint List shifted the vote to no confidence in the government.
The United Arab List, a partner in the coalition, had announced that it would oppose the law; even if the vote turned to discredit the government. Meanwhile, the Meretz party abstained from voting as well, while the right-wing parties in the opposition voted against this law, to embarrass the government.
It is noteworthy that the first time a clause was enacted to prevent Palestinian family unification, was in 2003, and since then it has been extended annually, with the support of the coalition and opposition parties, except the Arab parties, and Meretz reservations.
The vote on the law was postponed several times during the term of the current government after it expired in the middle of last year. But the Knesset approved the law in its first reading on February 7.