The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, has started official proceedings to investigate a complaint against Israel submitted by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel regarding the racist “Nation-State” law. During its recent meetings, the Follow-Up Committee decided to take international action against the law which was passed by the Knesset on July 19. It has started scheduling meetings to be held in the United Nations and its international affiliated bodies, as well as meetings with the European Union and countries around the world.
In May, de Varennes participated in the Second Human Capabilities Conference, organized by the Follow-Up Committee in the city of Tayibe in central Israel. The conference discussed the threats posed by the then “Nation-State” bill to the country’s Arab-Palestinian citizens.
After the bill became law, the Committee submitted an official complaint against Israel, which focused on the “Nation-State” law’s discriminatory and exclusionary articles against the Palestinian people in general, and especially against the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen, head of the International Relations Committee in the Joint List, said that the new “Nation-State” law threatens the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in their homeland, as well as the situation and rights of Arab citizens of Israel. Jabareen indicated that the Arab citizens of Israel are a national and ethnic minority. International treaties guarantee their collective, national, cultural, linguistic and religious rights, which the “Nation-State” law has flagrantly violated.
The complaint submitted by the High Follow-Up Committee addressed the discriminatory and racist articles in the “Nation-State” Law, specifying the downgrading of the status of the Arabic language and apartheid legislation in housing, through the article that encourages Jewish settlement in the country and considers it a “Jewish national value.” The articles violate the principle of equality, grant Jewish citizens superior status over the country’s indigenous population, and create a state of hierarchy and classification in citizenship.
The chairman of the Follow-up Committee and former Hadash MK, Mohammad Barakeh, said that the decision of the Special Rapporteur is a positive sign. In the coming weeks, and after making the necessary preparations, the UN, its affiliated bodies and the European Union will be requested to pressure Israel and its government to rescind the law. In addition, the Joint List announced it would hold a meeting with the European Union in early September.