Israel Debates ‘Loyalty’ Law, Defies U.S. Call for Total Settlement Freeze
The Israeli parliament has passed a preliminary reading of a bill that would mandate the imprisonment of anyone who calls for the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
The bill was passed on Wednesday by the Knesset with the support of 47 members, or MKs.
Thirty-four MKs opposed and one abstained, the daily said.
Sponsored by Zevulun Orlev, an Israel Beiteinu MK, the bill stipulates one-year imprisonment of any person who makes “such public statement”.
The bill is part of two draft laws proposed by the Israel Beiteinu.
The first is the Loyalty Oath Law that obliges all Palestinian Israelis to pledge allegiance to the Jewish identity of the state.
The second is the Nakba Law, which bans commemoration of the 1948 dispossession of the Palestinians as a result of the creation of Israel.
Israel Beitenu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, grew to be Israel’s third largest political party in the February election, reflecting a shift to the right by the Israeli public.
‘Rights in jeopardy’
Aljazeera’s senior political analyst Lamis Andoni said the two bills will jeopardise the rights of Palestinian Israelis. >>>
Israel will press ahead with housing construction in its West Bank settlements despite a surprisingly blunt demand from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that all such building stop, an Israeli official said Thursday.
The Israeli position could set the stage for a showdown with the U.S. on the day President Barack Obama meets his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House. Abbas has said the freeze of the Israeli settlements will top his agenda in the talks.
Israel contests that new construction must take place to accommodate for expanding families inside the existing settlements, which the U.S. and much of the world consider an obstacle to peace because they are built on land the Palestinians claim for a future state. >>>
- Israel Debates Annexing West Bank, Warns Gazans Will Be Shot if They Come Close to Border Fence (26 May 09)
- Netanyahu: Israel Will Expand Further Into West Bank (21 May 09)
- Israel Unleashes New War on Gaza Ghetto, U.S. Calls for Settlements to Halt (20 May 09)
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