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Israeli 'nation-state' bill promotes racial segregation: Egypt

Demonstrators attend a rally to protest against “the nation-state of the Jewish people” bill in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Egypt has condemned as racist a law recently adopted by the Israeli parliament that declares the occupying entity “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” warning that the legislation undermines peace efforts in the region.

Passed by a vote of 62-55 on Thursday, the law prioritizes “Jewish” values over democratic ones in the occupied territories, declares Jerusalem al-Quds the “capital” of Israel, allows Jewish-only communities, sets Hebrew as the official language of Israel and relegates Arabic from an official language to one with “special status.”

In a statement on Saturday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the legislation "consolidates the notion of occupation and racial segregation, and undermines the chances of achieving peace and reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian issue".

The law had drawn criticism by a wide range of NGOs and rights groups as a racist bill that would divide the society. Arabs in the occupied territories form about 20 percent of the population.

The [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - comprised of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - has also denounced the law.

Even American Jewish groups have slammed the passage of the bill, with the American Jewish Committee saying that it was "deeply disappointed" over the adoption of the law.

'EU voices concern'

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to meet a delegation of Arab members of the Israeli parliament, headed by Joint List head Ayman Odeh, in Brussels on September 4 to discuss the issue.

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

The Israeli parliament's recent move was also denounced by Iran, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi describing it as “yet another attestation of the racist nature of this regime over the past 70 years”.

“The illegitimate and racist Zionist regime has been established on the foundation of the occupation of Palestinian territories and the massacre of their true owners,” he said.


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