Abbas urges world to halt Israel’s new ‘racist’ nation-state law
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Abbas urges world to halt Israel’s new ‘racist’ nation-state law

PA leader says legislation, which sets Jerusalem as Israel's capital, is part of 'conspiracy' against Palestinian national narrative

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 27, 2018. (Alaa Badarneh/Pool Photo via AP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 27, 2018. (Alaa Badarneh/Pool Photo via AP)

Palestinian Authority Presient Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to intervene against Israel over its newly passed Jewish nation-state law, calling the contentious piece of legislation “racist” and bristling at its affirmation of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

The law passed early Thursday enshrines Israel for the first time as “the national home of the Jewish people” in its quasi-constitutional Basic Laws, setting Hebrew as the national language, while affording Arabic a lower “special” status, and supporting Jewish settlement.

Critics in Israel and abroad, including Diaspora Jews, have fiercely derided the legislation as discriminatory and unnecessary.

Responding to the law late Thursday, a statement from Abbas’s office called on “the international community to intervene and undertake its responsibilities in stopping these racist laws by way of pressuring Israel and compelling it to implement resolutions of international legitimacy.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Knesset plenary session ahead of the vote on the National Law, July 18, 2018 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The law “reveals the racist face of the Israeli occupation,” the statement read.

The PA leader called the law part of a “conspiracy” against the Palestinian cause, alongside the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and so-called efforts to make the city more Jewish.

“This law reinforces the foundation of the occupation… especially regarding the occupation’s policy to judaize Jerusalem and separate it form its Palestinian surroundings,” the statement read.

Earlier, top Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said the law “officially legalizes apartheid and legally defines Israel as an apartheid system,”

“[It is] a dangerous and racist law par excellence. It denies the Arab citizens their right to self-determination to instead be determined by the Jewish population,” he said in a tweet.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Hamas terror group, also blasted the law, contending that it officially legalizes “Israeli racism” and constitutes “a dangerous attack on the Palestinian [people] and its historic right to its land.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, and spokesman Fawzi Barhoum attend a protest in Gaza City on July 22, 2017, against new Israeli security measures implemented at the holy site, which include metal detectors and cameras, following an attack that killed two Israeli policemen the previous week. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Barhoum also asserted that the Knesset would not have passed the law, as well as others that he identified as “extremist,” without what he called “regional and international silence on the occupation’s crimes.”

“These extremist laws and resolutions would not have been approved if it were not for the regional and international silence on the occupation’s crimes and violations,” he said, without specifying which laws. “All these laws and resolutions are baseless and they will not come to pass or change anything on the ground. The Palestinian people will remain the sovereign of this land.”

Israeli government members praised the passage of the law on Thursday morning, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the State of Israel.” Many in the opposition criticized the legislation.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi condemned the law, asserting it violates international law.

“The ‘Jewish nation-state’ law gives license to apartheid, discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and sectarianism at the expense of the Palestinian people. Such racist and prejudicial legislation is illegal by all standards of international law, democracy, humanity, justice, tolerance, and inclusion,” she said.

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