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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/13/10

Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts

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On October 1, 2009, the Court ruled that granting Kol Bo Books an import license mooted the petition, saying it found no reason to address its questions and that petitioners could again request legal redress if the need arose.

This is another example of how Israel denies its Arab citizens the right to develop ties with other regional states, to conduct legal commerce, and to maintain contact with friends and family abroad, many of whom are refugees unable to return home.

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In addition, Palestinian writers and academics want to compete in literary competitions in cultural capitals like Beirut, Damascus and elsewhere. Religious and political officials visit these states, and Israeli Arabs and Jews want to import a range of goods exclusively produced there.

Israeli prohibitions are harsh, illegitimate, and applied only to harass. The best known is the 2003 Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law (Emergency Order), prohibiting citizens from marrying and living with their spouses in Israel if they reside in an "enemy state."

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During both world wars, similar measures were used as a defense against security threats. Since 1962, America used it against Cuba, embargoing country for half a century. Until 1998, it included all types of goods, including books, films and music. Following years of complaints, permission was granted to import them.

Few countries now embargo Cuba, except for limited applications related to security issues. In addition, international law lets national minorities maintain contact with their own people in other countries.

Most importantly, under Article 2(5) of the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, persons belonging to minorities are entitled to maintain contact with members of their group abroad without discrimination.

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Israel violated the Declaration by bogusly declaring Arab nations "enemy states," a label applied solely to them. Yet until 1948, they comprised an "integral part of the national, social, political, cultural, religious, historical and linguistic experience of the Palestinians," who under Israeli rule became a discriminated minority, even though they're citizens entitled to equal rights. They're not and can't have legitimate relations with others outside Israel or in the Territories.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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