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EU, Palestinians rap Israeli law recognizing Jewish supremacy

This AP file photo shows a Palestinian man being pushed by an Israeli policemen in al-Khalil (Hebron), occupied West Bank.

Israel's adoption of yet another apartheid law -- which officially recognizes Jewish supremacy over Arabs in the occupied territories -- draws sharp criticisms from the European Union as well as senior Palestinians officials, who have blasted the measure as "dangerous" and "racist."

Following a stormy debate in the parliament (Knesset), Israeli lawmakers approved the so-called "nation-state" bill with 62 votes in favor, 55 against and two abstentions in the early hours of Thursday.

Turning a blind eye to Israel's 1.8 million Arab population, the law asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people," which number around 9 million.

The contentious law also includes clauses stating that "united" Jerusalem al-Quds is the "capital" of Israel and strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status."


Reacting to the law at a news briefing on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the EU's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said, “We are concerned, we have expressed this concern and we will continue to engage with Israeli authorities in this context."

“We’ve been very clear when it comes to the two-state solution, we believe it is the only way forward and any step that would further complicate or prevent this solution of becoming a reality should be avoided,” she said.

'Racist law par excellence'

Palestinian officials with both the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah also joined voices to denounce the law, describing it as a "racist" and "dangerous" measure.

In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said on Thursday that the law formally legalizes “Israeli racism” and constitutes “a dangerous attack on the Palestinian [nation] and its historic right to its land.”

The Hamas official further said “regional and international silence on the occupation’s crimes" has emboldened the regime in Tel Aviv to pass one "extremist" law after another.

“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,” he added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the Israeli law, saying it "will not change the historical situation of Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the occupied State of Palestine."

"No peace or security will prevail unless the city remains as such," the Palestinian Wafa news agency quoted Abbas as saying in a statement.

The statement added that "the law will not discourage Palestinians from their legitimate struggle to defeat the occupation and establish their independent state."

In a similar stance, top Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat, took to Twitter on Thursday to censure the law, which he said "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.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, also said the law breaches international regulations.

The measure "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 emphasized.

The newly-adopted measure is categorized as among Israel's so-called "Basic Laws," which underpin the regime's legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws under its constitution.

Turkey: Israel trying to form "an apartheid state"

In a related development on Thursday, Turkey denounced Israel’s new law accusing Tel Aviv of trying to form "an apartheid state."

Taking to Twitter, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman called on the international community "to react to this injustice happening in front of the entire world's eyes."

Ibrahim Kalin also criticized Israel’s "racist move that amounts to erasing the Palestinian people from their homeland physically and legally."

In a series of tweets, Kalin repeated Ankara's long-standing objections to the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied territory, saying, "We reject the Israeli government's efforts to form an apartheid state."

Turkey's foreign ministry also criticized the law, saying in a statement, "Identifying the right to self-determination as a right given only to Jews is the result of an outdated and discriminatory mentality."

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