Israel OKs Bill to Outlaw Denial of Israel as ‘Jewish State’; Crisis Deepens in West Bank
Latest in a series of laws aimed at silencing Arab citizens.
In a vote of 47 to 34, the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) has given initial approval to a new bill that would criminalize opposing Israel’s status as a “Jewish state,” punishable by up to a year in prison. The bill is aimed at Israeli Arabs who object to their status as second-class citizens in the nation. >>>
“I heard voices, I turned around to look, and saw a group of Israeli settlers assaulting my brother Hammad,” says Abdallah Wahadin, 82, a Palestinian farmer from Beit Ummar near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
“Three of them surrounded me, while a fourth threw a rock at the back of my head. Lots of blood ran down onto my clothes. Other settlers then joined them,” Wahadin told the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Wahadin and his brother Hammad, 72, had been farming their land, which produces olives, almonds and grapes, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin, when they were attacked on their way home. Their land in Beit Ummar is near Hebron, about 30 kilometres south of Jerusalem.
Hammad Abdallah was taken to a local hospital where he received 10 stitches for a head wound and treatment for chest injuries.
Settler attacks against Palestinian civilians, and the occasional retaliatory attacks by Palestinians continue to dominate media headlines on an almost daily basis.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that an increase in settler attacks, as well as Israeli military raids, are part of an overall deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the West Bank. >>>
Amnesty International has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the rules of armed conflict during its recent offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians,” the human rights watchdog said in its annual report.
The report states that 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the offensive – including 300 children – and that 5,000 people were wounded. The Israel Defense Forces, however, says 1,166 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority of whom were Hamas militants. >>>
- Israel Debates ‘Loyalty’ Law, Defies U.S. Call for Total Settlement Freeze (27 May 09)
- Israel Debates Annexing West Bank, Warns Gazans Will Be Shot if They Come Close to Border Fence (26 May 09)
- Israel Kidnaps 26 Palestinians in West Bank (21 May 09)
- U.N.: Israel Should Reveal Secret Torture Centers, If They Exist (15 May 09)
- U.N. Security Council Stops Short of Condemning Israel for Gaza Massacre (14 May 09)