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‘Israel for Jews’ law legalizes racism, apartheid: Iran diplomat

Israeli forces arrest a young demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem al-Quds, occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Iranian diplomat says Israel’s adoption of a law that defines the occupied territories as an exclusively “Jewish state” is further proof of the regime’s apartheid nature, urging international pressure on Tel Aviv to cancel the law.

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Palestine on Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Es’haq Al-e Habib denounced the Israeli parliament's endorsement of the so-called “nation-state” law as a “highly dangerous development.”

He said the new Israeli measure is “meant to legalize racism and apartheid,” and that “the international community should pressure the regime into revoking it.”

The Knesset adopted the law last week by 62 votes to 55. It 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.”

The approval came despite widespread condemnations even among Israelis themselves, who argue that the law discriminates against Arabs and other minority groups and violates their basic rights.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian envoy described the Israeli occupation of Palestine as the root cause of the crises gripping the Middle East.

America’s “unwavering support” and “the Security Council’s inaction” have emboldened the Israeli regime over the past seven decades to press ahead with its “occupation, brutal acts and expansionist policies,” Al-e Habib said.

He also referred to Israel’s “systematic brutalities” in the blockaded Gaza Strip, saying the regime’s Education Minister Naftali Bennet has even gone as far as calling for the warplanes to drop bombs on the child protesters sending flaming kites into the occupied lands.

He also noted that Israel’s bombardments of infrastructure in Gaza and tightening of its siege have aggravated the humanitarian situation there.

The Iranian envoy further condemned Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the West Bank and its planned demolition of the Khan al-Ahmar village.

The relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds in May violates international law and UNSC resolutions and is a blatant example of the US backing for Israel, he added.

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