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Israel seeks to criminalise commemoration of Nakba Day

Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Defense Minister in Israel [File photo]
Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Defence Minister in Israel [File photo]

The Israeli right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party has proposed a new bill to impose sanctions on academic institutions that allow the commemoration of Nakba Day, which marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands Palestinians as a result of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, Israel’s Haaretz reported.

Nakba journey - Palestinians fleeing during the Nakba in 1948
More than 1 million Palestinians were displaced in 1948
Relive the journey of Nakba refugees

The draft law aims at introducing amendments to the provisions of the Penal Code, which are covered in the so-called Nakba Law which was introduced in 2011.

The proposal gives the president of the Israeli Higher Education Council powers to impose severe sanctions on universities, colleges and academic institutions in Israel which allow Palestinian students to organise activities to “commemorate the Nakba or criticises Jewish and Zionist symbols”.

Haaretz reported that the bill was supported by the ruling coalition parties, especially right-wing parties.

Director of the Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Israel, Omar Khamaisi, said the speedy issuance of laws affecting the Arab community “reflects the escalation of racist atmosphere within Israeli society and the Knesset.”

Israeli laws confirm that we live in Apartheid Israel, because what is being enacted is a law that distinguishes between nationality, sex and colour, and the Palestinian people are considered the first enemy

Khamaisi told Quds Press yesterday.

“There has been a race in recent years to enact these laws, which are primarily aimed at imposing the Jewish character on the state” he added.

Read: Israel bans annual Nakba march

The Nakba Law which was introduced in 2011, imposes sanctions on institutions that participate in financing Nakba commemoration activities that denounce Israel as a Jewish state and “its democratic character, support the armed struggle and acts against it, or incite for violence”.

According to the law, institutions that receive government funding are prohibited from commemorating the Nakba, or financing “activities that consider Israel’s Independence Day a Nakba or a day of mourning”.

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