Israel’s view of “democracy” very different from Canada’s, says Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset

nation state knesset

On July 19th, the few Palestinian members of Israel’s Knesset (parliament) strenuously objected to a bill making Jewish citizens “more equal” than others. But to no avail. CTIP guest columnist Yousef Jabareen, an elected member of the Knesset, explains that in Israel the word “democracy’ does not mean what it does in Canada. Read more.

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Dr. Yousef Jabareen, CTIP guest columnist

Guest column by Dr. Yousef Jabareen, MK (member of Israel’s parliament)

“Israel”, prime minister Netanyahu likes to repeat to anyone who will listen, “is the only democracy in the Middle East”.

But on Thursday July 19th, I watched in despair and frustration as a majority of Israel’s Jewish parliamentarians passed a law (The “Nation State Law”) which deprived me, a Palestinian citizen born in Israel, of many of my basic democratic rights. And I could not help reflecting on how different the Israeli notion of “democracy” is from Canada’s, which I had the opportunity of visiting in 2016.

In both Canada and Israel, “majority rule” is a key element of the definition of democracy.

But in Canada, “democracy” means much more than a simple “majority” in the Parliament. It also means equality for all citizens. No citizen has more legal rights, or a higher standing than others.

In Canada, “democracy” also means legal protections for minorities. French, the mother tongue of about 20% of Canadians, is an official language. It means that discrimination of all kinds, whether against French speaking Canadians or Black, Brown or Indigenous Canadians or women, is illegal. (I understand, of course, that discrimination still occurs in Canada. But it is punishable by law.)

In Israel however, none of this is true. “Democracy” has only one dimension – “majoritarianism”. That is, whoever is in the majority – in this case Jewish Israelis – can make any rule it wants. That majority can, and does, confer special, superior status on itself. The minority has the right to complain but has little protection, little political power and little recourse.

The recently passed “Jewish nation-state” law formalizes in law the superior rights and privileges that Jewish citizens of the state enjoy over its indigenous Palestinian minority, who comprise roughly 20% of the population. It rescinds the status of Arabic as one of Israel’s two official languages, deepens racial segregation by directing the government to “encourage and promote” Jewish towns, and declares that the right to self-determination in Israel is “exclusive” to the Jewish people, denying the history and ancient Palestinian roots in this land.

To use an imperfect Canadian analogy, imagine that a White Anglo Saxon (WASP) majority of Canada’s parliament were to amend the country’s constitution to declare that Canada is a “WASP” country? That English would be the only official language. That it would be legal for towns like Westmount, or Oakville to bar Black, or Brown, or Muslim people from moving there? That only WASP Canadians had the right to self-determination but not Quebec or indigenous Canadians?

Yet that is what is happening in Israel to its non-Jewish citizens.

The status of the Palestinian minority inside Israel

I come from an Arab-Palestinian background. I was born in a town called Umm al-Fahem, as was my father, and his father before him. Umm al Fahem pre-dates the State of Israel by centuries. My mother tongue is Arabic. Today I am part of Israel’s Palestinian minority.

Umm al Fahem is classified by Israel as an “Arab” municipality. It has never been given the same quality of public services as the “Jewish” towns which surround it, including in housing, education, healthcare and public transportation.

Equality proposed… and rejected

In one sense, there is little new in the “nation state law”. But it entrenches in law, and legalizes, and deepens Israel’s existing practices of racial discrimination.

It does not have to be like this. Only a few days ago, the Knesset rejected without debate a different law, in part inspired by a week long visit I made to Canada in 2016. The bill I proposed called for Israel to guarantee full equality, as Canada does, for all of its citizens, regardless of religion or race.

My proposal was defeated, confirming what Palestinians in Israel have always known: in Israel only Jews enjoy the full rights and privileges of citizenship.

We will continue our legal struggle for recognition of the Palestinian nation and for equal citizenship rights iican Israel. The denial of our individual and collective rights forces us to do so.

We are encouraged to see so many people around the world, (including many American and Canadian Jews), who have expressed their opposition to this Israeli law. We appeal to our friends in Canada, and to the Canadian government, to support our shared vision for enlightened democracy and the well-being of all people, regardless of race or religion.

We hope that international pressure can force Israel to reconsider this racist legislation and adopt an alternative based on “democracy” as the rest of the world understands that word.

See Dr. Jabareen’s presentation to the European Parliament concerning the Nation State law below.

 

Dr. Yousef Jabareen is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. He was elected to the Israeli Knesset (parliament) in March 2015. He has a Ph.D. in human rights law from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. He came to Canada in October 2016 on a study tour organized by Canada Talks Israel Palestine, a Canadian NGO.

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Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We accept guest columnists from time and encourage brief comments (under 100 words) from serious readers. To learn more about what we do, contact us at membership.ctip@gmail.com.

23 comments

  1. Another guest of CTIP, Jonathan Cook, taught me another way to understand Israeli democracy. He pointed out that in Israel Citizens are officially further classified by something they name “nationality”. The majority nationality is Jewish. Israeli democracy is much like Canadian democracy but restricted to the majority nationality. Within that nationality, there is diversity. Minorities within that nationality, such as the Haredim (ultra orthodox), have their rights protected; their interests are represented by the “religious” party MKs (MPs) that they elect. It is the entirely artificial notion of “nationality”, as distinct from citizenship, and the legality of discrimination on the basis of nationality that makes Israel look so undemocratic to the rest of the world.

  2. Sad. Just sad. And again I am forced to wonder…what is it that drives bullies? At all scales and at all ages? When I watch the bullies on the playground at my grandkid’s school I see Netanyahu, Trump, Sheer, and Doug Ford in microcosm. Bullies waiting for their turn. Bullies are all scared. I think they fear almost everything that they cannot control and hence they do their best to control everything. But I think fear is their motivator. And they win by great rhetoric that instills fear in everyone else. Never mind what is really happening or what has happened in the past – fear is the currency of choice. And once the gullible choose the bully because they themselves are powerless, the bully becomes even more powerful. It’s positive feedback in the biological sense – runaway feedback. And here does it lead? Jews themselves know this and hence it is massively ironic that they themselves should be susceptible to the bully thoughts. So no, not just sad….ironic and sad.

  3. I was troubled and saddened by the passing of this law.

    The ruling party of Israel seems to think that because there is complete freedom for the Jewish Israelis that this constitutes a country devoted to ‘democracy’. If we had done something similar here in Canada decades ago and made similar laws favouring the Anglo provinces, Quebec would have set up their own country if they could and rightly so. Democracy means equal responsibilities and equal rights for all peoples in the country…not just one group. Unfortunately for the Palestinian Israelis, there is no place to go and no way to establish their own country.

    Does this not smack of apartheid?? I think so and as a Jewish woman, it gives me cause to feel ashamed.

    1. Israel, i.e., west of the green line is and has always been an apartheid entity.

      To wit:
      Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

      Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798.

      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

      Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy, Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

      Ilan Pappe, then professor of political science at Haifa University: “[Israel’s] political system [is] exclusionary, a pro forma democracy – going through the motions of democratic rule but essentially being akin to apartheid or Herenvolk (‘master race’) democracy.” (“Jerusalem Report,” Feb. 14/2000)

      Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

      Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

      One example of apartheid within Israel:
      “Jewish town won’t let Arab build home on his own land”
      Excerpt: “Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ‘Don’t waste your time,’ he reportedly told Suad. ‘We’ll keep you waiting for 30 years.’” (Haaretz, 14 December 2009)

      In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, published in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

      “Construction, Not Destruction”
      “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.” (Haaretz Editorial, April 4, 2017)

      “Israel” also differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

      For the record:
      Eminent Jewish Israeli journalist, Bradley Burston, aptly sums up the horrors Israel inflicts on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem:
      “Occupation is Slavery”
      EXCERPT:
      “In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will. They can be denied the right to vote, to own property, to meet or speak to family and friends. They can be hounded or even shot dead by their masters, who claim their position by biblical right, and also use them to build and work on the plantations the toilers cannot themselves ever hope to own. The masters dehumanize them, call them by the names of beasts.” (Haaretz, Feb. 26/13)

      Regarding Gaza:
      The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015 correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

      To quote Dov Weisglass, then PM Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser:
      “‘The significance of the [proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

  4. Thanks, Dr. Yousef, for your informative article and good analysis. You are part of the courageous Palestinian leadership inside Israel who are working and fighting for equality against a powerful racist machine. You definitely deserve our respect and support!

    After the “Nation State Law”, it seems that more people believe that a new strategy is required to challenge and resist the Israeli oppressive and discriminatory system. For example, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is calling now for a united Palestinian popular struggle to end the whole apartheid regime (inside Israel itself, West Bank and Gaza, in addition to addressing legitimate rights of Palestinian refugees). In other words, he does not see a chance for a two-state solution anymore. Here is another example:

    https://mondoweiss.net/2018/08/political-democratic-palestine/

    I hope that the Palestinian leadership inside Israel will succeed in organizing a united and effective popular movement to end the whole Israeli apartheid regime where all people can enjoy dignity, safety and freedom.

  5. The provisions in the law that would have endorsed exclusive communities were removed, in favour of less specific language in favour of settlement of the land.

    That said, MK Jabareen is right that the nation state law asserts the power of the Jewish majority in matters where minority rights should be upheld. Although the law states that the previous status of the Arabic language is unaffected by its provisions, the symbolism of no longer putting Arabic on the same footing as Hebrew is rightly alarming to Isrsel’s Arabic speaking minority. I look forward to a future Israeli Knesset healing this self inflicted wound.

    1. David, thanks for your comment, but I’m not sure the difference is real. When a case of discrimination comes to the Supreme Court it will be defended on the grounds that “jewish settlement” is encouraged under a basic law. Do you doubt that this will apply to both the West Bank and to Israel itself?

      1. You are right that this argument may well be put forward, but the law says “settlement”. It doesn’t say “Jewish settlement”. The Israeli Supreme Court has taken on the role of protector of minorities and those with less power, much like the Supreme Court of Canada. It is a genuinely independent branch of government, as it is here. We cannot know how the court will rule in a particular case until that case comes before them.

      2. Mr. Roytenberg (August 30, 2018 at 12:04 am)

        Perhaps you should read again. In the text of the law as translated and published by the Times of Israel, the following are the only appearances of “settlement”

        7 — Jewish settlement
        A. The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.

        The wording of the text is quite clear and refers only to Jewish Settlement. It allows little room for re-interpretation. Since this is “Basic Law”, the Supreme Court can do little.

  6. Its unfortunate that Israel’s Jewish state and nationality laws violate the equality of all citizens rule that is a basis of most western democracies like Canada,. Within the context of the Jewish majority this equality principle applies, even though not extended fully to the Palestinian minority whose MKs did try to present an alternative vision along Canadian equality lines. In a real sense it changes nothing in the reality for Israeli Palestinian Arabs or the Palestinian Arabs in the “occupied territories'”. What it does do is hammer another nail into the coffin of a one state solution with equality for all citizens of “Israetine.” But it does strengthen the drive towards a sovereign and equal two state solution of the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine with capitals in West and East Jerusalem respectively along the green line with land and population swaps and guaranteed human and minority rights for the respective Arab Palestinian and Jewish minorities not inhabiting their own national ethnic state. For the billions committed to equal access to their holy sites of Judaism, Christian and Islam in old Jerusalem, the internationalization of this area as proposed by former Canadian ambassador Michael Bell who produced a plan of implementation before his death,. Therefore, the two state solution becomes the most promising scenario to apply the “equality” principle to Israel and Palestine.

    1. Hey George, thank you for your comment. I draw the exact opposite conclusion. I think this law drives another nail into the idea that a 2 state solution would ever solve the main grievances. The main objective of the two state solution is get the Palestinians (and the world) to accept the legitimacy of Israel. But could you, or I, accept a state that officially legally discriminates against 20% of its own population, and proposes to forever forbid those it expelled from returning to their own land? Hmmm…

      1. In fact, I do not believe that there is a two-state solution. The proposed Palestinian entity would not control its borders, would not be armed, and its residents would not be free to travel without Israeli permission, Israel would still control (and delay) any mail. It would not be contiguous. Nobody would call that a state. It would be achieved at the cost of denying many people the right to visit or reside in the land of their grandparents. There would be people on either side of the so-called border who would not accept it as a solution. What difference would it make?

      2. Peter, there is no right of return. The Jews who were deprived of their citizenship and driven out of Iraq have no right of return. The Jews who escaped Syria have no right of return. The Jews in Hebron today are considered illegal settlers by many, even though their ancestors were driven out of the city in a Palestinian pogrom in 1929. The Poles who were uprooted and expelled from what is now Western Ukraine when Stalin divided Poland with Hitler in 1939 have no right of return. The Germans who were expelled from the Sudetenland, and from the portion of Germany that was annexed to Poland in 1945 have no right of return.

        The 20 million people on the Indian subcontinent who fled their homes in India and Pakistan have no right of return. The Greeks and Armenians who were fortunate enough to escape from Turkey with their lives after the first world war have no right of return. Personally, I am a Jew whose forebears fled Russia for Canada, in the earliest years of the 20th century to escape persecution, but I have no right of return to Russia.

        While it may seem like it would be just, the descendants of peoples who fled conflict do not in fact have any right of return to the countries inhabited by their ancestors. When inter-communal violence precipitates flight, as it did in Palestine and on a much larger scale in the Indian Subcontinent in the same year as the events in Palestine, the just and humane and legal solution is for the refugees to be absorbed elsewhere and get on with their lives. That’s what happened in India and in Germany and in Israel. It is a tragic fact that many of the Palestinians were treated differently and left to languish stateless in their countries of refuge, but this bad treatment in their countries of refuge does not give them a right to return to their grandparents’ homes in what is now Israel.

        While Israel doubled its population after 1948, absorbing the Jewish refugees from the holocaust and from Arab lands, Palestinian refugees were not given the same sort of welcome in Syria and Lebanon and they were treated badly by the Egyptian government in Gaza and by the Jordanian regime in the West Bank, which was seriously underdeveloped when Israel captured the territory in 1967. In the case of Jordan, the Palestinians were in fact internally displaced persons and not refugees who moved from one part of Palestine to another, just as the Jews of East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Kfar Darom, who also lost their homes in the territory conquered by Jordan and Egypt were forced to flee to the part of Palestine that became the State of Israel.

        The demand for the right of return is incompatible with the Oslo principal of two states for two peoples. Arafat signed up for this principal (and promised an end to violence) when he signed the Oslo accords, and it was on that basis that Israel ceded control of a large swathe of territory to the PA. It was rightly taken as a sign of bad faith when, after being offered a state in most of the Palestinian territory Israel took from Egypt and Jordan in the six day war, Arafat walked away from the deal in 2000, and went back to war, due to the “right of return”.

        The Jews will not give up their independence by agreeing to mass return of the descendants of Palestinians displaced in the war of independence. Insisting on this means that the war will continue indefinitely. I deeply hope that a new generation of Palestinian leaders will seek peace with Israel based on mutual recognition of the claims of both Arabs and Jews, which can only be resolved by territorial compromise on both sides and the two state solution.

      3. David, what on earth are you talking about?

        I support the “right of return” for all refugees, no matter what their religion.
        In point of fact, those Poles you referred to, do have the “right of return”. They just have to turn up at the Polish border. Ditto for Germans, Czechs etc. I support that right.
        The largest number of Jews who came to Israel came from Morocco. Morocco has explicitly said it welcomes Jews who want to come back to settle. And thousands of Jews, including Jews from Israel, “return” to Morocco on holiday every year.
        I would support the “right of return” for any Jewish refugee from Iraq if he/she wanted to return.
        The right of return is a human right that applies to every refugee. I would oppose any country, including Israel, which denies the right of return.
        Best

      4. Hey David, I forgot to mention that of course you have a right to return to Russia. In fact, you can apply for citizenship if you want. I doubt you would want to, nor would I.

        And about those Jews from Iraq??? Many did leave under threat and so could claim refugee status even if they came to Israel as “immigrants”. But by coincidence i just saw an article in +972 Magazine about how Iraq is debating inviting Jews to return there. Apparently opinion is divided, but I would certainly support the right of any Jew who was expelled from Iraq to return there. Here is the article. It is interesting: https://972mag.com/iraq-jewish-right-of-return-al-sadr/137559/

      5. Israel is a modern liberal democracy with a per capita GDP that rivals the most successful economies in the EU, add five million Arabs to Israel and it will become as successful economicly as Jordan, as peaceful as Syria and as democratic as Egypt
        Israelis all understand that point and they will never commit mass suicide by granting the right of return to people who want to kill them
        You’ll die as an old bitter man with nothing to show for the decades you invested in a propaganda fight against Israel

      6. Hey Pierre,
        Who’s bitter?

        I may be old, but definitely not bitter. (Many even say that I have a good sense of humour).

        I am proud of being a democrat, and of fighting for democratic values – in Canada and around the world, including in the Middle East.

        I have been quite consistent over several decades in fighting against anti-semitism as well as other kinds of racism whenever I run across it in Canada. And I also apply the same democratic lens to the State of Israel. I’m sorry if this offends you.

  7. Mr. Roytenberg,

    I find it ludicrous that you deny the “right of return” to people who were expelled from Palestine in living memory while I, as a Jew, supposedly have the right of “return” to a land that I never saw before the present century, a land my father and his father never saw, a land that no known ancestor of mine ever saw.

    Jews from all over the world were (and still are) actively recruited and welcomed by Israel. That is a sharp contrast to Palestinians who are still refugees, were recruited by no other country and cannot even visit their family homes. Many Palestinian families were split with some remaining while others, who left temporarily to escape violence, are not allowed to return.

    As Peter as pointed out Jews who fled Europe in the Nazi time do have the right of return. What he fails to point out is that many have exercised that right. Those countries have vibrant Jewish communities now. As the child of a German and an Austrian refugee, I held citizenship in those countries when I was born and have lived in Germany. While living there, I knew Israelis who had returned and were living quite comfortably in Germany.

    Palestinians should have the same rights to return to their “homeland” as I had to return to my “homeland”. Not allowing them to exercise rights that we enjoy is hypocrisy.

  8. Pierre (August 31, 2018 at 12:16 am)

    You wrote, “Israel is a modern liberal democracy … , add five million Arabs to Israel and it will become as successful economicly as Jordan, as peaceful as Syria and as democratic as Egypt”.

    In fact, Israel is as modern as South Africa was under apartheid, as liberal as the US when slavery was legal, and as democratic as we were when women could not vote.

    If Israel’s neighbours had received even a fraction of the support from foreign countries that Israel has received, had not been burdened by the need to support the people that Israel has discarded, and had not been ruled by governments installed by Europeans, they would be doing very well. When Israel stops devoting so much of its resources to suppressing others, it will do even better economically than it does now.

    This forum is not a place for personal attacks. It is of such obvious depth and quality that its organizer needs no defense.

  9. Not a democracy- it is a perfect example of autocracy and repression. – Rejecting Palestinians the right of return to their homeland, but giving full citizenship rights to those who are not even born and have no connection to the land – a cowardly religious discrimination.

    More than 70 percent Israeli industry that claims security-sensitivity and therefore no chance for Palestinians to work as the doors are shut– a cowardly socioeconomic bigotry that exist for Palestinians only.

    It’s not a democracy where the government openly shows its prejudice and consider Palestinians as enemies that should never be trusted. This is not a myth, this is Israeli sick mentality. Defeating people’s resistance is not a democracy. Incarcerating people without trial is not a democracy. Collective punishments of local population by blowing up their homes is not democracy.
    Considering its arrogance, repression and superiority over the people whose land has been stolen by force — the International Criminal Court has classified forced population removals as a war crime. The refugees and the Arabs in Israel, the Jewish state can never be by any scale of self-respect and human dignity, be a democratic state. It’s an insult and offense to the democratic values, principles and moralities that we believe as people. It has gone beyond an apartheid regime but the hypocritical world leaders still believe otherwise.

    For more than half-century and as of today, this has been the strategy that it will never allow the formation of a Palestinian sovereign state anywhere in Palestine- neither one state nor two-state as we continue to witness the outrageous double standard approach demonstrated by the US, UK, Arab World, Canada and many more.

    I believe in only one solution and that is:

    Right of Return: For all Israelis to leave Palestine that they occupied and return to their home countries where they have come from.

    Right of Return: For all Arabs, Christians, Muslims & Jews who lived for thousands of years in Palestine shall return to their homes in Palestine and practice their faith.

    The most unwanted people from Europe were dumped on Palestinian lands are now the most unwanted people in Palestine and Mideast. They have now become the most wanted people in Europe, USA and Canada. Will any of these counties take them and will this happen in our life time?? I wonder!

    1. Muazzam, you say “I believe in only one solution and that is:

      “Right of Return: For all Israelis to leave Palestine that they occupied and return to their home countries where they have come from.”

      “Right of Return: For all Arabs, Christians, Muslims & Jews who lived for thousands of years in Palestine shall return to their homes in Palestine and practice their faith.”

      Hmmm…

      Are you arguing that ALL Jews in Israel must leave Israel/Palestine to return to their “home countries?” Even those born in Israel? I have met a few Palestinians who think that, but I say to them that I won’t support that, nor will any Western country.

      If you really hold that position, would you also say that you and I (both immigrants or descendants of immigrants to Canada) should give up the land taken from indigenous Canadians a century or two ago and return to our “home countries”? I am a 3rd generation Canadian. My great grandparents came from Sweden. I don’t speak Swedish.

      I admit freely that my house is on land taken by force from the Algonquin people. (Probably yours too). They have a right to it. But I committed no crime and I have an acquired right as a result of being born here. The law will have to sort out the contradiction between the two rights. (Many “rights” are in contradiction and have to be resolved.) And besides, no indigenous Canadian claims that i should “return” to Sweden.

      I fully support the right of Palestinian refugees to return to live in Palestine (all of Palestine) to live in peace and equality with those Jewish Israelis who wish to stay. I do not support, and will not support the idea of a new expulsion of Jews.

      1. Peter, the Jews of Palestine are not the problem, I am talking about the ones who came and occupied the land by force and exiled indigenous Palestinians. It is the Israeli government and its ministers who continue to murder Palestinians. Many Jews in Palestine wish and want to leave in peace with Arabs, Christians and Muslims. The killing machine that Israeli government holds in its possession and giving the power to those who only know how to murder Palestinians is the problem. It is the Zionism and terrorism that brought us to the point that Jerusalem got rubbed and sold to the immoral occupying forces that has no respect for human rights or dignity. A truthful historian must document this as the gloomiest and sad day in the history of mankind and for those who have faith.

        Now we see a show of recklessness by the US to reject the possibility of the Palestinian “right of return.” to their ancestral homeland which is nothing but a cowardly display of arrogance, injustice and low scale human respect by the US.

        Peter, there is a difference between many of us as immigrants “right of return” as compared to Palestinians who were removed from their homes by force while we have made the choice to leave on our own. We may not be questioned to leave but all of us have the “right of return” to where we came from. Why not the Israelis? Leave or live with equal rights, dignity and self-respect as a peace loving nation.

    2. Muazzem ya zalameh, my family had been in Israel for almost a century my nieces and nephews have great grandparents from both Iraq and Europe, but are ineligible to a passport of neither, can they please stay in Israel?

      P.S.
      UN resolution 194 calls for the return of the Palestinians “who wish to live peacefuly next to their neighbours” in Israel.
      Even if you were indeed became a refugee in 1948, your expressed intent to uproot the Jews from Israel makes you ineligible to UN resolution 194
      With friendship,
      Your cousin

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