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The Radical Law. Repercussions and Entitlements
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
August 8, 2018

In its resolution 3379, the United Nations considered Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination. This resolution was one of resolutions that in the seventies of the last century supported the Palestinian cause and its people. We may not exaggerate to say that it is the most annoying matter to the Hebrew state after the interrelated resolutions 194 and 302 adopted by the UN after the Palestinian Nakba.

Therefore, the cancellation of the resolution was one of the conditions of Tel Aviv to participate in Madrid Conference in the fall of 1991, although the official cancellation happened 45 days after the participation. This was a clear reflection of the coup that took place in the balance of world powers, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the system of socialist states, and the beginning of the one-pole stage in which the occupying state has used it in the face of the international community and its resolutions for many years.

Twenty years after the resolution was cancelled, the Netanyahu government (2011) has begun drafting the "National Law" bill and the Zionist political and circles were preoccupied with rounds of debate over the final form of the bill to be approved by the Knesset. Since then, it has been clear that there is almost a Zionist consensus on the basic principle of the bill, namely that "Israel is the national state of the Jews", while it was clear that monitoring the reactions of the public of each party was the compass of the differences between the Zionist parties on the amendments to the preliminary form of the bill.

At that time, Netanyahu had established his position within his Likud party, after winning 26 seats in the 2009 elections, after his share was only 11 in the previous Knesset, but at the same time, he was facing the opposing Kadima party led by Tzipi Livni (27 seats), which failed to form a government due to a joint maneuver between Likud and the Labor party. Within this sensitive political and partisan map, Netanyahu focused his efforts to strengthen the government coalition and continue until the end of his constitutional mandate. Therefore, the talk about legalization of the National Law remained dim, waiting for suitable political and partisan atmosphere to introduce for the Knesset.

During his first government (after his return in 2009), Netanyahu worked to deepen the right-wing extremism on the settlement front with the Palestinian side, from the point of defending settlements, and engaged in discussions with the Obama administration. It can be said that he succeeded in this, and reaped the results of his policy, when he won, with his ally Lieberman, with 31 seats in the 2013 elections.

However, this success was not reflected on the possibility of advancing the introduction of the National Law for many reasons, including the differences of the Zionist parties, even within the coalition, on a unifying formula, in addition to the concern of the international and regional reactions. As the United States was still talking about the need to revive the settlement process, especially since the bill speaks of Jerusalem as the unified capital of the Hebrew state, as well as the denial of the rights of the 1948 Palestinians in their homeland.

Therefore, Netanyahu escalated his conditions to start negotiations, asking the Palestinian negotiator to recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel. The main aim of this is to circulate the Jewish state's discourse as an identification card for Israel in the political and diplomatic spheres. Until the end of the Obama administration term, this was the Israeli discourse on the identity of the Hebrew state, at a time when the Netanyahu government was working on legalizing package of laws that restricted the 1948 Palestinians, such as the law that allows the government to demolish some 80,000 homes under the pretext of non-licensing or not committing to the organizational plans conditions, in addition to the laws that restrict on the Arab deputies such as “loyalty law”.

The qualitative shift in the international positions that occurred and have been used by Netanyahu are the positions of US President Trump, who recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation and the transferred of his country's embassy to it. This means that Netanyahu has a green light to present the National Law bill to the Knesset. Indeed, the bill was approved by the first reading on 30/4/2018.

Many expected that the law would not be legalized in the current parliamentary term due to differences within the coalition parties, especially the Haridim parties, but Netanyahu found an interest in its legalization, threatening to dissolve the coalition and move to early elections. These threats succeeded in getting the bill to be voted and ratified.

Although Netanyahu considered this a victory for him, the result of the vote not only resulted in widespread opposition within the Knesset, but also opened up a very important issue: the exit of Arab deputies from the coalition parties due to the positions of their parties. So many questions have raised in these parties. If the National Law wants to say that "the land of Israel is the national homeland of the Jews", this means first that what the Zionist parties are introducing of programs are "only for the Jews". This has resulted that the sharp reactions move to the basic Arab membership in these parties and not only on the level of its representatives in the Knesset and others.

The experience of the Arab electoral lists, attached to the Zionist parties has already failed, after the Palestinians have been alerted to its dangers in using their voices in favor of inciting policies of marginalization and exclusion against their people. So, they have started to establish their independent parties, which express their national and social interests and become a significant political power, especially with the formation of the joint list, the third parliamentary force in the Knesset.

The adoption of the bill, will necessarily put the Israeli government in front of repercussions, the forefront of which are among the Palestinians of the occupied territories in 1948 and their political parties, which the law has placed them in front of great threats to their future on their land under the legalization of apartheid. The legalization of the law also raises great questions about the role of international human rights and legal institutions in exposing the Zionist racism, but most important of all of this, is on the United Nations, which retracted its resolution on linking Zionism with racism and racial discrimination, which emphasizes the need for political and diplomatic action with friendly countries, to redefine Israel as a racist exclusionary apartheid occupying state.

The reflections of the legalization of the National Law will extend and interact within Israeli society, in relation to the number of votes against it in the Knesset, and it is possible that the battles of the upcoming elections to begin from now on the rhythm of contrasted positions on the legalization of the law.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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