Arab Equality In Israel

This is a topic that’s come up before so when I stumbled across this story I couldn’t help but quirk an eyebrow. Maybe some human rights expert can explain this one to me.

Also Sunday, Israel’s high court narrowly upheld a controversial law intended to block Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from living in Israel with spouses who are Arab citizens of the country.

By a vote of 6 to 5, the court rejected the contention that the law violated the civil rights of Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel. A majority of the court sided with Israeli authorities, who have argued that allowing young Palestinians to move into Israel through marriage poses an unacceptable security risk.

“This law prevents family reunification based simply on the nationality of one spouse,” said Abeer Baker, a lawyer for Adalah, a legal center representing the couples seeking to live together in Israel.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of couples may be kept apart by the law, Ms. Baker said. However, precise figures are difficult to come by, she said, because many such couples do not want to be identified for fear of legal problems. Palestinians who have already been granted residency or become citizens would not be affected, according to civil rights lawyers.

Of Israel’s seven million citizens, more than a million are Arabs. The vast majority of the Arab Israelis have family and other ties to some of the estimated 3.8 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

However, since the Palestinian uprising began in 2000, Israel has made it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to enter Israel.

The amended Citizenship Law upheld by the justices on Sunday has been criticized by human rights groups since it was approved in 2002, at the height of the uprising.

Critics contend that the amended law is intended not only for security, but also to limit the number of Arabs living in Israel.

Over many years, thousands of Palestinians have been granted residency in Israel as part of family reunification, including marriages. Of this group, about 25 people have been involved in terrorism, according to Israeli authorities. Government lawyers argued that the law was more relevant than ever now that the Palestinian Authority was controlled by Hamas, the radical Islamic group that has carried out many of the suicide bombings against Israel.

“The Palestinian Authority is an enemy government, a government that wants to destroy the state and is not willing to recognize Israel,” Justice Michael Cheshin said this year during arguments in the case.

Justice Cheshin said that if the couples wanted to be together, they could live in the West Bank rather than in Israel.

In a dissent that was part of Sunday’s ruling, the chief justice, Aharon Barak, said, “This violation of rights is directed against Arab citizens of Israel.”

Human rights lawyers argued that Israel already had laws that allow the government to revoke the residency of anyone suspected of involvement in terrorism.

Under the amended law, only Palestinian men over the age of 35 and women over the age of 25 may apply to be with a spouse in Israel. Most Palestinians tend to marry at earlier ages. However, even the Palestinians who meet the age requirements are often denied, according to lawyers handling citizenship cases.

What the hell is Israel thinking?

They’re scared, very scared. That’s all I can come up with.

I didn’t know that 1/7th of Israel was Arabic. That’s much higher than I have been lead to believe.

I suppose I would be too in their situation, but still, this is such a weird throwback.

I’m not a blind supporter of Israel by any means but you’d be scared too if people were blowing up hundreds of people per year.

Hell, Arab parties have about as many seats in the Knesset as the Jewish far-right.

Really? The actual population makeup of Israel is something I need to educate myself on.

Charles Krauthammer wrote a column recently that listed the population of Israel closer to 5.6 million. He was using 6 million as a symbol to link the amount of Jews killed during the Holocaust with the amount of Jews at risk if Iran follows through on it’s “single storm” promise. [reach] Is it possible that he forgot the 1 million Arabic Israelis on purpose? [/reach]

That brings up another point, [simplistic view] why would Iran or any other anti-Israel country/organization risk killing people of arabic descent? [/simplistic view] It seems as if a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” scenario would be or should be in effect.

There’s more information than you ever wanted here:

It dates from 2002, and they put the # of Arabs at 1.2 million, or 19% of the total population.

That brings up another point, [simplistic view] why would Iran or any other anti-Israel country/organization risk killing people of arabic descent? [/simplistic view] It seems as if a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” scenario would be or should be in effect.

It happens routinely, as we see in Iraq.

Less flippantly, Arab staff have been killed at restaurants when bombs go off–I think they’re viewed as collateral damage, essentially.


Iraq’s really a civil war, so the comparison is a little different. Still, this does happen with Islamist attacks on the “West” or “Israel” all the time. Look at the suicide hotel bombings in Jordan last year. They took out pretty much nobody but Arabs, including a wedding party.