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Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

What are the Hebrew words for 'racism' and 'apartheid'?

Both words would be very handy in describing the Israeli High Court's decision to uphold a law barring Palestinians who marry Arab Israeli citizens from living in Israel with their spouses.

To understand what was at stake here, you need to remember that — depending on whether you count East Jerusalem into the total — between 15 and 20 percent of Israel's citizens are Arabs. (But not necessarily Muslim; many Arab Israelis are Christian.) While these Arab Israelis nominally have the same rights as Israelis of Jewish background, the reality is that the country's laws distinguishes between the two groups in a number of ways. One of these is a 2002 amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law, which forbids 'family unification' in marriages when one spouse is an Israeli Arab and the other is a Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza. That amendment was supposedly a one-year emergency measure to protect 'national security,' but it has been extended every year since then. By today's 6-5 vote, the High Court has turned back a challenge to that amendment.

Israel's Chief Justice, Aharon Barak, sided with the minority on the bench, declaring: "This violation of rights is directed against Arab citizens of Israel. As a result, therefore, the law is a violation of the right of Arab citizens in Israel to equality."

Muad el-Sana, an Israeli Arab lawyer who is married to a Palestinian woman from the West Bank town of Bethlehem and works for Adalah, one of the agencies bringing the case, declared: "This is a very black day for the state of Israel and also a black day for my family and for the other families who are suffering like us. The government is preventing people from conducting a normal family life just because of their nationality."

Wile the court had granted el-Sana's wife, Abir, a university lecturer, a temporary injunction preventing her deportation, Mr el-Sana said the high court's ruling would make it almost impossible for the couple and their two children, aged 2 years and five months, to continue living together. Their individual petition said that he has no right to live in Bethlehem and she has no right to live with her husband in the Negev.

Mohammed Barakeh, a prominent Arab Knesset member on Sunday said the ruling "gives racism a shady alibi." He added: "The fact that the ruling was opposed by several of the judges is a ray of light that does not illuminate the darkness of the court's decision and the Knesset's legislation."
[Emphasis mine]

Via UK Independent.

| | Posted by Magpie at 4:34 PM | Get permalink




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