The Israeli Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a petition filed by several human rights organisations three years ago against one of the most dangerous and racist laws approved by the Knesset which paves the way for hundreds of Jewish towns to prevent Arab families from living in them.
The court’s decision was issued by a majority of five judges out of a panel of nine. Among the four judges who opposed the apartheid law is the only Arab judge in the Israeli Supreme Court, Judge Salim Jubran who said the law “enshrines discrimination against Arabs”.
The Admissions Committees’ Law allows small residential communities; mostly agricultural comprised of hundreds of people in the Naqab and the Galilee, to “have the full discretion to accept or reject individuals who wish to live in these towns”.
After the law was passed in 2011 dozens of towns rushed to put special conditions on who is illegible to live in them. However, ironically the first family to suffer from the racist law in 2011 was a Jewish family which was rejected from living in one of the towns in the south because its culture differs from the Ashkenazi culture prevailing in the community.
The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, one of the petitioners said: “The law gives the green light to entrench racial segregation; 434 small communities or 43 per cent of all residential areas will be allowed to close their doors to Palestinian Arab citizens of the state.”
The law is one of the most racist laws issued in recent years and mainly aims to marginalise Arab citizens and prevent them from living in small communities.
Minister of the Knesset Mohammed Baraka, who heads the Democratic Front Peace and Equality, said: “The law legalises a well established approach over the years as several Jewish towns have repeatedly rejected having Arabs live in them, and perhaps the most prominent case is the case of the Kaadan family which reached the highest levels of the judicial system, therefore, the law will not significantly alter the policy applied on the ground, but it will give legal cover to these racist acts and prevents the judicial system from preventing them and now the Supreme Court approves the law.”
Baraka added that the majority, if not all, of these towns are established on confiscated Arab lands or at the expense of already established Arab towns and “when a Palestinian Arab Israeli is forced to live in these towns, this stems from the suffocating population crisis in our towns, due to the racist Israeli policy of discrimination which steals our land, and narrows our chances of a normal life.”