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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/30/16

Israeli expulsion law "violates all rules of democracy"

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Reprinted from Aljazeera

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Critics fear the new legislation is designed to empty the Knesset of its Palestinian parties.



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Nazareth -- Israel's parliament, the Knesset, awarded itself a draconian new power last week: A three-quarters majority of its members can now expel an elected politician if they do not like his or her views.

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According to Adalah, a law centre representing the fifth of Israel's population who are Palestinian citizens, the so-called expulsion law has no parallel in any democratic state in the world.

The group noted that it was the latest in a series of laws designed to strictly circumscribe the rights of Israel's Palestinian minority and curb dissent.

Others fear that the measure is designed to empty the Knesset of its Palestinian parties.

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"This law violates all rules of democracy and the principle that minorities should be represented," Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, told Al Jazeera. "It sends a message to the public that it is possible, even desirable, to have a Jewish-only Knesset."

The four Palestinian parties in the parliament, in a coalition called the Joint List, issued an open letter on Friday warning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government "want a Knesset without Arabs."

Zeidan noted how quickly that could happen: "It would only require one Palestinian legislator to be expelled and there would be enormous pressure on the others to resign their seats in protest."

Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian Knesset member (MK) for the Joint List, said the law created "MKs on probation," intimidating them into silence or "good behavior." Its effect, he added, would be to strip tens of thousands of voters of the right to representation.

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Those advancing the law, including Netanyahu, have done little to conceal their intention to use the measure against only Palestinian MKs. The Joint List has 13 seats and is currently the third-largest faction in the 120-seat Knesset.

The legislation's immediate target is Haneen Zoabi, a politician with the Balad party who is reviled by most Jewish MKs. The measure was originally termed the Zoabi Law.

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)
 

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