Associated Press Hasbara: Palestinians of Israel ‘enjoy equal rights under Israeli law’

An Associated Press article on yesterday’s clashes between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli police and extreme rightists marching through the the town of Umm el-Fahm states:

Israeli Arabs, who represent a fifth of the country’s population, have grown jittery as nationalist elements in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition have questioned their loyalty to the state.

They are ethnically Palestinian, but enjoy equal rights under Israeli law, unlike Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Still, they often endure discrimination and are statistically poorer and less well educated than Israeli Jews. Tensions run deep.

While the AP does include the caveat that Palestinian citizens of Israel “often endure discrimination,” it’s simply inaccurate to say that they enjoy equal rights under Israeli law.  The AP is boosting the conventional narrative of Israel as a “democracy,” while ignoring the legalized, entrenched and systematic discrimination Palestinian citizens of Israel face.

According to Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel:

Israel’s Declaration of Independence (1948) states two principles important for understanding the legal status of Palestinian citizens of Israel. First, the Declaration refers specifically to Israel as a “Jewish state” committed to the “ingathering of the exiles.” While such references to the Jewish nature of the state permeate the Declaration, it contains only one reference to the maintenance of complete equality of political and social rights for all its citizens, irrespective of race, religion, or sex. There is a tension between these two principles, in that the first emphasizes the Zionist character of the state, which privileges one group, the Jewish people, and the second mentions the universal status of each citizen in a democracy.

Discriminatory laws

Adalah’s report to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, issued August/September 2001 and entitled Institutionalized Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel, identifies more than 20 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel. The report shows that the Jewish character of the state is evident in numerous Israeli laws. The most important immigration laws, The Law of Return (1950) and The Citizenship Law (1952), allow Jews to freely immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship, but excludes Arabs who were forced to flee their homes in 1947 and 1967. Israeli law also confers special quasi-governmental standing on the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and other Zionist bodies, which by their own charters cater only to Jews. Various other laws such as The Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law (1980), The Flag and Emblem Law (1949), and The State Education Law (1953) and its 2000 amendment give recognition to Jewish educational, religious, and cultural practices and institutions, and define their aims and objectives strictly in Jewish terms.

Government discrimination

Further, the discretionary powers entrusted to various government ministries and institutions – including budget policies, the allocation of resources, and the implementation of laws – results in significant de facto discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. For example, a report issued by the Ministry of Interior confirmed that Arab municipalities received a fraction of the total funds allocated by the national government per resident to Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories and to development towns populated exclusively by Jews. Moreover, the Ministry of Religious Affairs affords a small percentage of its budget to the Arab Muslim, Christian, and Druze religious communities. Funds for special projects such as the renewal and development of neighborhoods and improvements in educational programs, services, and facilities are also disproportionately allocated to Jewish communities. To date, Israeli authorities have rarely used their discretionary powers to benefit the Palestinians minority.

Land expropriation

Most importantly, the Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights. For example, the National Planning and Building Law (1965), retroactively re-zoned the lands on which many Arab villages sit as “non-residential.” The consequence of this is that despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of the state, they have been afforded no official status. These “unrecognized Arab villages” receive no government services, and residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages. The situation is severely acute for the Arab Bedouin community living in these unrecognized villages in the Naqab.

The laws and practice detailed above by Adalah are a long cry from enjoying “equal rights under Israeli law.”

4 responses to “Associated Press Hasbara: Palestinians of Israel ‘enjoy equal rights under Israeli law’

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Associated Press Hasbara: Palestinians of Israel ‘enjoy equal rights under Israeli law’ | Alex Kane --

  2. Keep up the great reporting. It’s important that people start to challenge the assumptions regarding media coverage of Israel and the Mideast conflict in general.

  3. Overlooked by many in Congress is our “Pledge of Allegiance” “with liberty and justice for all” and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ignored own, carved in stone over its entrance, “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW”! There is now a since 1944 through 1950, 1953, 1957, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1994, 2005, 2006 and to-date years of the CIA Inspector General’s “unethical and illicit activities”! Do not the Department of Defense (DOD) “EXPERIMENTS THAT WERE DESIGNED TO HARM” continue? Shouldn’t U.S. Service Personnel and Veterans get back those Constitutional Rights that convicted rapists and murderers, keep? Please hold the U.S. Congress accountable!

    Convicted rapists and murderers are given protection from human experiments by the U.S. Constitution’s 1791 Bill of Rights. In 1992 the U.S. Senate signed and ratified the United Nation, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) with its, “… Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”[4] Stated is, “Written policy and practice prohibit the use of” [prison] “inmates for medical…..experiments.”![4] Cited is the U.S. Supreme Court’s no cruel and unusual punishment Eighth Amendment determination.[4] The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1987 STANLEY [3] “to harm”DOD military experiment is approved by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 FERES [1], i.e., by its ‘can do no wrong, ends justify the means’ ignored Bill of Rights. The STANLEY case is one of the U.S. Senate’s 1994 “During the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel” were subjected to “experiments that were designed to harm”, e.g., their reported biological and chemical agents, radiation exposure, hallucinogenic and investigational drugs, experimental vaccines and behavior modification projects.[5] To-date the U.S. Congress has rejected the U.S. Senate 1994 Report’s, “The Feres Doctrine should not be applied for military personnel who are harmed by inappropriate human experimentation when informed consent has not been given.”[5] The conducted known, certain injury trials were a dereliction of duty in direct disobedience of the DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiments.[2] During the U.S. Senate’s 1994 reported past 50 years, to 1944, most of the “to harm” service records were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Congress’s 1974 Privacy Act censored experiment verifying witnesses from any surviving records!

    The “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress.[6] A veteran’s right to get the “designed to harm” [5] needed for treatment, and experiment identifying, evidence never became law. This is consistent with the 1957, “….The intelligence community believed that it was necessary “to conceal these activities from the American public in general,” because public knowledge of the “unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its mission.” Id., at 394 (quoting CIA Inspector General’s Survey of the Technical Services Division, p. 217 (1957)).”; See [Footnote 4] of Section IV, 1987 STANLEY.[3] All “activities” are conducted under the ongoing secrecy cover of National Interests, e.g., WWII, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and Iraq.


    [1] 1950 – Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950).

    [2] 1953 – DOD Secretary’s 26 February 1953 NO non-consensual, human experiment’s Memo pages 343-345. George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

    [3] 1987 – U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT.. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S., SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710).

    [4] 1994 – U.S. State Dept., “U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman
    or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” Electronic Research Collections (ERC)

    [5] 1994 – December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 “Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century.” Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session.

    [6] 2005 & 2006 – “Veterans Right to Know Act” to establish the Veterans’ Right to Know Commission was proposed in the 2005 and H.R. 4259 [109th] 2006 Congress. H. R. 4259.

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