Days of Palestine

Friday, March 31

For first time, UN body calls on Israel to amend or cancel Jewish Nation-State Law

Days of Palestine -

A United Nations body has – for the first time – called on Israel to amend or cancel its Jewish Nation-State Law in order to comply with an international human rights convention that it ratified in 1991, according to a press release.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) released on 18 October its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Israel, which includes a list of concerns, recommendations, and actions that Israel must take in order to comply with its obligations.

This finding and recommendation marks the first time that a UN monitoring committee determined that the Jewish Nation-State Law does not comply with a human rights treaty ratified by Israel – and calls on Israel to either amend or repeal the law, said Adalah, the Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel.

In response, Adalah attorney Myssana Morany sent a letter on 6 November to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit calling on him to express his opposition to the law in a response he is slated to submit to the Israeli Supreme Court by 17 November.

In its 18 October document, UN CESCR raised deep concerns about the discriminatory effect of the law on Israel's non-Jewish population including their rights of self-determination, non-discrimination, and cultural rights.

UN CESCR also called on Israel to respond to its concerns regarding aggravation of already-existing ethnic segregation and from increasing budgetary discrimination in other concluding observations – particularly the Bedouin population in the Naqab (Negev) region.

Adalah had earlier, on 7 August 2018, filed the Israeli Supreme Court petition against the Jewish Nation-State Law on behalf of all of the Arab political leadership in Israel – the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the National Committee of Arab Mayors, the Joint List parliamentary faction, and also in the name of Adalah.

In today's letter, Adalah argues that UN CESCR's review strengthened arguments in its Supreme Court petition which maintain the Jewish Nation-State Law contradicts the key principles of human rights as enshrined in international treaties, including those in the UN Charter.

Adalah Attorney Morany spoke at the NGOs briefing to CESCR's review of Israel at United Nations Headquarters in Geneva on 30 September. She emphasized that Israel's policy in the Naqab desert is one of forced displacement and forced urbanization guided by the false and misleading depiction of the region as a vast empty space that must be used for settlement of Israeli Jewish citizens only.