Israeli Knesset Approve Impeachment Bill to Exclude Arab MPs

تم نشره في Wed 20 July / Jul 2016. 01:05 PM - آخر تعديل في Wed 20 July / Jul 2016. 01:12 PM
  • Arab MP in Israeli Knesset, Hanin Zoubi - (AFP)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament approved the first of three readings of a new Bill on Monday night that is intended to exclude Palestinian members.

The amendment to existing legislation was drafted after three Palestinian members of the Knesset (MKs) were suspended for visiting the families of Palestinians killed in alleged attacks against Israeli occupation forces and illegal West Bank settlers.

The three, all members of the Joint Arab List bloc, were sanctioned by the Knesset’s ethics committee.

The amended legislation would allow any member to be suspended on the vote of the 90 MKs — three-quarters of the chamber — but critics say it is aimed at silencing Palestinian members who support opposition to Israel.

Some 1.75 million of Israel’s 8.5 million citizens are Palestinian, in addition to the 4.7 million Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza who have been denied citizenship of any nation since 1967.

Under the legislation, MKs could suspend a colleague for “inciting racism,” ‘‘supporting armed struggle, by an enemy state or terrorist organisation, against Israel” or “negating the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said that the new Bill would allow suspensions to be justified solely on an MK’s word.

“This law is being promoted to harm the Arab MKs, whose statements and actions do not find favour with the political majority,” ACRI said.

Nissan Slomiansky of the Jewish Home party presented the Bill, strongly supported by right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, saying: “There are borders to democracy.”

But the Joint Arab List condemned the proposed legislation as “racist and unconstitutional.”

In a statement, the alliance said: “The suspension law has only one aim — to strike against the political existence of Palestinians in Israel. “What Netanyahu does not understand is that, just as ethnic cleansing failed to strain our existence, political cleansing will not succeed in stopping our political movement and resistance.

“We reject that a radical and racist occupation government draws limits on our political capability by setting conditions on our parliamentary membership.”

Last month, Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh threatened to resign from the Knesset if the Bill was passed, as did other members.