Discrimination, harassment, threats of more ethnic cleansing

       Prior to the ethnic cleansing that began in 1947, Palestinians owned over 92% of the land in what is now the state of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  By expropriating the land that belonged to Palestinian refugees, the state of Israel now owns 93% of the land while Palestinians, who make up 20% of the population now only own 3.5%. Furthermore, the large majority of land owned by the state of Israel is managed by the Israeli Land Administration (ILA); by law half of the ILA Board members must be from the Jewish National Fund, a semi-private organization whose mandate is to buy land and distribute land solely to Jews.  Human rights groups have challenged the ILA for discriminating against non-Jews in its land policies, but this discrimination persists.

According to the 2010 Israel Statistical Abstract, there were 4,000 “Arabs” living in Ashkelon (Israel uses “Arabs” instead of Palestinian citizens of Israel, in an attempt to deny both the history and existence of Palestine and the Palestinian people.)  According to the human rights organization, Mossawa, the situation of Palestinians citizens living in Ashkelon is similar to the situation in other parts of Israel. While it appears on the face of law that Palestinian citizens can legally live anywhere in Israel, there are many policies that make it very difficult and undesirable—if not impossible—for them to live in predominately Jewish areas, which is most of the country.  Such discriminatory practices are similar to those operating in the U.S. prior to the Civil Rights movement; such practices excluded African Americans and other minority groups from housing developments, employment, public facilities, and transportation.

Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel reports: “2011 marked a further escalation in the legislation and enactment of discriminatory and anti-democratic laws by the Israeli Knesset. Between January and April 2011, several laws have been enacted that threaten the rights and harm the legitimate interests of Arab citizens of Israel, on the basis of their national belonging. The laws concern a broad range of rights, including land rights, citizenship rights, the right to political participation, the rights to freedom of expression and association, and the rights to a fair trial and freedom from torture and ill-treatment.”

Palestinian citizens of Israel have been subjected to attacks, escalating in recent months, by Jewish extremists.  Israel is also currently engaged in a campaign to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian population.  Furthermore, there have been statements by Israeli government officials supporting the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from Israel.


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