JERUSALEM, The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem voiced great concern over the recently enacted Israeli Nation-State Basic Law that describes Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, saying it is discriminatory and ignores the rights of the indigenous Palestinians living in the country who constitute 20% of its population.
The recently enacted Basic Law: Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People, is a cause of great concern, said the Patriarchate in a statement. Seemingly enacted for internal political reasons, while defining Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, the law fails to provide any constitutional guarantees for the rights of the indigenous and other minorities living in the country. Palestinian citizens of Israel, constituting 20%, are flagrantly excluded from the law.
The Patriarchate, which represents the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, said: It is beyond conception that a Law with constitutional effect ignores an entire segment of the population, as if its members never existed.
It said that the law sends an unequivocal signal to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, to the effect that in this country they are not at home.
The law also downgraded the Arabic language from an official language to a language with a special status, and made a commitment to work on the development of Jewish settlement in the land, with no mention of the development of the country for the rest of its inhabitants.
This Basic Law is exclusive rather than inclusive, disputed rather than consensual, politicized rather than being rooted in the basic norms that are common and acceptable to all fractions of the population, said the Latin Patriarchate, describing it as discriminatory and contravenes United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which said the new Israeli state should ensure full civil rights to the Arabs living in it.
The law says that there are not equal rights between Jews and Arabs and refuses to acknowledge their existence, it said.
It not enough to have and guarantee individual rights. Any state with large minorities ought to recognize the collective rights of these minorities, and guarantee the preservation of their collective identity, including their religious, ethnic and social traditions.
The Christian citizens of Israel have the same concerns as any other non-Jewish communities with respect to this Law, concluded the statement.
Source: Palestine News & Info Agency