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ISRAEL has been given 60 days by the United Nations to respond to “deep concerns” over the Jewish Nation State Law, which has been branded racist and discriminatory by Palestinian officials.
The deadline was set by the UN Special Rapporteur for cultural rights Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories Michael Lynk and Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia E. Tendayi Achiume in a letter to Israeli authorities.
They expressed their deep concern over the impact of the law, which was adopted by the Knesset in July and stipulates that only Jews have right of self-determination in the country.
It also stripped Arabic of its status as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status.” The move prompted many to claim it enshrines an “apartheid” system in the region with Palestinians treated as second-class citizens.
The letter said that the Israeli Basic Law appears “to be discriminatory in nature and in practice against non-Jewish citizens and other minorities and does not apply the principle of equality between citizens, which is one of the key principles for democratic political systems.”
The special rapporteurs asked for more information on whether the law will contribute to segregation on the basis of ethnicity or religion and whether it endorsed the expansion of illegal settlements occupied territories.
They called for Israel to “clarify the consequences of the new status of the Arabic language and the impact if any on its use for official purposes, including on public signs, in public institutions including social and health services and in the education system.”
Israel ignored a previous request from the special rapporteurs last year when the Nation State Law was in its draft stages. Any response will be sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council for consideration.
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