Israeli Arabs Draft Democratic Charter

Driven by a sense of frustration over decades of discrimination and government marginalization, Israeli Arabs have drafted a new multicultural constitution guaranteeing equal citizenship rights to all Israeli citizens irrespective or religious backgrounds

Israeli Arabs Draft Democratic Charter
Driven by a sense of frustration over decades of discrimination and government marginalization, Israeli Arabs have drafted a new multicultural constitution guaranteeing equal citizenship rights to all Israeli citizens irrespective or religious backgrounds.

"We decided to propose a democratic constitution, which respects the freedoms of the individual and the rights of all groups in equal measure, gives proper weight to the historical injustices committed against Arab citizens of Israel," reads the document drafted by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights.

"The Democratic Constitution" describes Israel as a "bilingual and multicultural" rather than a Jewish state.

It invalidates the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to people with at least one Jewish grandparent.

The proposed charter grants citizenship to all descendants of Israeli citizens, whether they were born in Israel or abroad, as well as to all spouses of Israeli citizens.

It asserts that all official publications and court rulings should be in both Hebrew and Arabic.

"Each group that constitutes a national minority is entitled to educational and cultural institutions; each group that constitutes a religious minority is entitled to religious institutions."

Setting the state's borders along the 1967 lines, the 19-page document stipulates the right of 1948 refugees to return to their native villages.

It asserts that all assets seized by the state from Arabs since 1948 should be returned to their original owners.

Foreigners 

The advocacy group said the aim of drafting the constitution was to challenge the authorities' approach of treating Arabs as second-class citizens.

"They relate to Arab citizens like foreigners in this homeland, in which history, memory and collective rights are the legacy of Jews alone," Adalah chairman, Marwan Dwairy, wrote introducing the charter.

Israeli Arabs are descendants of Palestinians who stayed when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes by Zionist gangs in1948, when Israel was founded on the rubble of Palestine.

Dwairy asserted that the document is the first constitution proposed by the Arab minority, while all previous ones were drafted by Jewish groups.

"If 'The Democratic Constitution' succeeds to underscore the enormous gap between it and the other proposals, and to create an objective public debate and dialogue on the nature of rights and freedoms in this country, then we will have taken an important step forward."

Arabs represent about a fifth of Israel's population, estimated at nearly 5.2 million.

Though legally considered as Israeli citizens, many of them face discrimination in all walks of life. Poverty rate among Arabs is almost twice that of the Jewish population.

The Knesset has further made life unbearable for Israeli Arabs married to Palestinians by adopting a law denying the latter the right to get an Israeli residency to live with their spouses.

Israeli Arabs have accused the government of using them as human shields during the summer war on Lebanon, saying it failed to build bomb shelters in their towns and villages as it did in Jewish-majority areas.

Clickhereto read the proposed constitution in full.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE