Apartheid entrenched as Israel’s Palestinian-heritage minority barred from extending rights to spouses from Palestinian territory
Israel’s Knesset has passed a ‘citizenship law’ barring the country’s 21% minority of Palestinian heritage from from extending their citizenship and permanent residency rights to spouses from the West Bank or Gaza and other so-called ‘enemy’ areas such as Lebanon. The move has been widely criticised as entrenching the country’s apartheid by depriving Arab citizens of rights their Jewish counterparts enjoy.
Right-wingers welcomed the law claiming it would enhance Israel’s security and its ‘fortification as a Jewish state’, but the Meretz party’s Gaby Lasky called the bill ‘racist’ and ‘a black spot on the book of laws in Israel’. Human rights groups have said they will challenge the legislation, which primarily affects Palestinian women and children according to legal experts, the courts.
Palestinian spouses can apply for a short-term visa, but this is not guaranteed and can be revoked by the government at any time.
As it deprived Arab citizens of more rights, Israel was reportedly preparing to accept thousands of Ukrainian refugees – but only Jewish refugees will be allowed to remain when the war with Russia ends.
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