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Nation-State Law amendment proposed by Lieberman

Jerusalem24– Israeli lawmakers are currently considering an amendment proposed by Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman to the so-called Nation-State Law.

The Jewish Nation-State Basic Law, approved by the Israeli parliament in 2018, enshrines Jewish supremacy over Palestinian citizens.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel describes the law in the following terms:

“Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law is the “law of laws”, capable of overriding any ordinary legislation. It alters the constitutional framework of the state, making changes that violate established international norms: there is no democratic constitution in the world that designates the constitutional identity of the state on racial grounds, as serving one ethnic group.”

The text of the law stipulates that “The exercise of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People” – a provision that excludes around 25% of Israel’s nearly 9 million citizens, including Christian and Muslim Palestinians, Druze, and other non-Jewish denominations.

“The law has distinct apartheid characteristics and requires racist acts as a constitutional value.” – Adalah

In a surprise announcement, Lieberman suggested a proposal to amend the law, following the release by the Israeli military of the identity of a Druze soldier killed in 2018 in Gaza.

Lieberman tweeted on Sunday that “there is a clear contradiction between the national law in its current form and the praises that were heard from Israeli leaders in the last hours of the Druze community.”

On Sunday, the Israeli army announced that Khair Al-Din was the officer killed in the operation that took place on November 11, 2018, when an Israeli military force under his command penetrated into the Khan Yunis area in Gaza during a secret operation. Hamas forces found them suspicious and stopped the Israeli soldiers’ car; clashes erupted that killed 7 Hamas fighters and injured Khair Al-Din, who later succumbed to his wounds. The Israeli forces were withdrawn from the area by a military helicopter.

Head of Military Intelligence Branch Aman, Aharon Haleiwa, considers that “[his] performance saved the others.” Israeli media mentioned that Khair Al-Din participated in several classified military operations, adding that revealing his identity might endanger other soldiers who worked with him.

The Israeli military censorship at the time banned the publication of Khair Al-Din’s name and photo to prevent any “harm to the security of the state.”

The disclosure of Khair Al-Din’s identity was decided at the conclusion of a two-month consultation between members of Aman as well as with members of Al-Din’s family.

Military censorship continues to ban any publication on the details of the operation.

Khair Al-Din’s killing in 2018 came shortly after the Knesset approved the Nation-State Law, which sparked protests among Palestinian citizens of Israel, including the Arab Druze community.

Lieberman said, “Revealing the identity of Khair Al-Din is an opportunity that allows us to reopen the Nation-State Law file and clean it of the injustice committed against Druze citizens, soldiers, and officers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the State of Israel, like Khair Al-Din.”

He added that he intends to present a proposal in the Knesset to amend the Nation-State Law so that Israel becomes a “democratic Jewish state” that deals equally with all its citizens, as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

The Knesset discussed a previous proposal to amend the Nation-State Law in 2020, but it was rejected by a majority of 58 to 21 deputies. The Arab representatives, who numbered 15 out of 120 Knesset members at the time, boycotted the session, saying they wanted to cancel the law completely rather than amend it, in order to establish full equality for the Palestinian Arab citizens of the country.

According to the United Arab List, the amendments proposed by Lieberman “maintain the racist essence of the law that denies the existence and rights of the Palestinian Arab people and the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel.”

The new proposal, it says, “does not refer to texts that restrict the right to self-determination to the Jewish people only, nor to the Jewish supremacist system, which is the thread of this regulating law, which enshrines the inferiority of Palestinian Arab citizens collectively and individually.”

The joint list added that the new amendment reinforces, in practice, the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel, and enshrines the inferiority of the Arabic language as a second official after Hebrew.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked blasted the proposed changes and said the right-wing Yamina alliance would veto any amendments, casting further doubt on the viability of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s embattled coalition.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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