International

Discrimination Against Arabs in Israel

By Syed Mohammad Raghib
Centre for West  Asian Studies, JNU
 
The conflict between Arabs and Israel is very much visible inside as well as outside world despite many claims by Israelies that they are giving maximum right to Arabs. The whole discussion is based on the way Israeli categorically, systametically crushing Arabs in Political, Social, Religious lines in  day to day life.  The way Israel behave through their policies breached  human right  violation and International Law, but there is nothing happened to stop such henious crimes against humanity through International player even world most important peace setup UN is not effective.

Discriminations of Arabs are seen in various places in Israel

Arab citizens, on the other hand, feel neglected and discriminated against by the state, particularly on issues of land ownership, resource allocation and political representation. While they enjoy political rights unknown to many in the region, they are largely cut off from the geographical, cultural, economic and political mainstream and subjected to various forms of discrimination. Increased tolerance by the Israeli body politic for extremist rhetoric, combined with hostile legislation and the participation in the Israeli government of parties openly advocating the transfer of Arab citizens out of the country, has further heightened tensions. I think the discrimination was due to wrong partitioned plan for Palestine and Israel on 29th of November 1947, then the UN Resolution No.181 which wrongly recommended the division of Palestine, with the Jewish State allotted 5700 square miles including the fertile coastal areas, while the Arab state was allotted 4300 square miles comprised mostly of the hilly areas (UN Resolution of 181). Palestinian discrimination  also started in two  faze or two categories of Arab population in Israel, first who was under their control till 1967 war, second is after the 1967 annexation of occupied land from Syria, Jordan ,West Bank and Gaza. So the first of their Arab minority are still there in various places inside Israel they come under different categories and they all are Palestinian national but under Israeli control like Jericho, Hebron, Qaliliya, Neblus, Tubas, Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, .Jerusalem, Gaza and Jaffa.

Religion: As we know that Israel is a country which was created on the basis of Religion and state religion is Zionism. The declaration of the Establishment of the state of Israel (1948) guarantees freedom of religion for all. Each religious community is free, by law and in practice, to exercise its faith, to observe its holidays and weekly day of rest and to administer its internal affairs. Each has its own religious council and courts, recognized by law and with jurisdiction over all religious affairs and matters of personal status such as marriage and divorce. Being a state and member of international Jewish past was ennobled and glorified. It was always they showed that Arab in declined they learned about, never in their greatness; the heroes of the past, the Prophet, the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid and Saladin got perfunctory mentioned. In four years of secondary education Arab children had 384 periods of Jewish history as against only 32 of their own. The study of Old Testament was compulsory, while the Muslim and Christian religions were not taught at all. Due to curfews where the local population is not allowed out for more than an hour or two a day for weeks or months at a time, schools are closed due to that student are confined in their house and did not get access to school which lead to their poor future.

 Israel many times religiously hearted Palestinian not only on the Issue of Haram Al Shareef (Bait-Ul-Maqdis) but many places were under their strict control. Why second  Intifada also called (Al Aqsa Intifada) started on September 28th 2000, due to Palestinians oppose of following Ariel Sharon’s visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharim and heavy presence of Israeli forces clash with people and brutally killed many Palestinian and violated the International law and law of religious belief. Hebron is also holy for Muslims and Jews to due to tomb of Abraham and his wife, but Israel separated that tomb in two portions without any general consensus. Many others examples show how Israeli attitude is against his own law for Arab Muslims. They cant construct the mosque without permission of the government and there is lot of restriction for them to follow their religious law. Waqf property of Muslims also annexed by the Israeli defense ministry and there will be no compensation for that.
 
Educational: When we start the discrimination against Arab in Israel since last 62 years its really horrific in some cases, like in education where all Israeli is getting all educational facilities but Arab is denied to get such facilities, second Arab history became little more than a series of revolutions, murders feuds and Plundering, whilst everything in the Jewish past was ennobled and glorified. It was always they showed that Arab in declined they learned about, never in their greatness; the heroes of the past, the Prophet, the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid and Saladin got perfunctory mentioned. In four years of secondary education Arab children had 384 periods of Jewish history as against only 32 of their own. The study of Old Testament was compulsory, while the Muslim and Christian religions were not taught at all. Due to curfews where the local population is not allowed out for more than an hour or two a day for weeks or months at a time, schools are closed due to that student are confined in their house and did not get access to school which lead to their poor future.

Political: According to a poll published at the beginning of the month, fifty-six percent (56%) of Jewish high school students in Israel believe Arabs cannot be elected to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and forty six percent do not support civil equality for Arabs.

Instead of positive response from the state, the manifesto provoked many leaders and they regarded it as sedition and one of member Knesset, Avigdor Lieberman said “he who is not ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state cannot be a citizen in the country.” But the important thing which was ignored by many was Arab’s willingness to live together as the Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee Shwaki Khatib said “‘I want to live together, and I really mean it’, but the Jewish public has still not reached the same conclusion”

So the problems and counter criticizing is always happened from both side to contain each others.   The Israeli problem is they cant deny the right of Palestinian Arab nor they give them the right as others minority like Druze is getting, because of the nature of Israeli face, they think that Palestinian Arabs is a inside threat for state of Israel.

State’s response to the Arab citizens is always international issue and Israelis are in dilemma about what to do with them as the International Crisis Group analyzed that “The Arab community’s demographic weight and dual identity as Israeli and Palestinian undoubtedly will continue to strain Israel’s political and legal systems. Likewise, continued treatment of the Arab minority as second-class citizens presents a serious threat to Israel’s long-term stability”(ICG Middle East Report N 25, 4 March 2004).

Three major discriminations are still in practice: in allocation of resources as in 2004 budget which HRW described “Prime Minister Sharon acknowledges that ‘education is the most effective tool to reduce gaps in Israeli society,’ but his budget perpetuates discrimination against children who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel,” said Clarisa Bencomo, researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division. “This budget does nothing to close the educational gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens”(Ibid)

Most of the rightwing Israelis see the Palestinian population in Israel a “time bomb”. Israeli historian Benny Morris states  “The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then. If we are attacked by Egypt (after an Islamist revolution in Cairo) and by Syria, and chemical and biological missiles slam into our cities, and at the same time Israeli Palestinians attack us from behind, I can see an expulsion situation. It could happen. If the threat to Israel is existential, expulsion will be justified”(Ibid).

 “Prime Minister Sharon acknowledges that ‘education is the most effective tool to reduce gaps in Israeli society,’ but his budget perpetuates discrimination against children who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel,” said Clarisa Bencomo, researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division. “This budget does nothing to close the educational gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.” (Ibid)

Arab population in Israel, a classification: Arabs population in Israel is composed of various groups which. The largest population is of Muslim Arabs predominantly Sunni Muslims. Christians, Druze and Bedouins are other groups.  Though the Arab population is identified with single Arab identity, there are lots of variations among the population which opted different political ways in order to achieve their ends. Arab Christian and Druze are seemed least hostile population, while Arab Muslims are still to recognize Israel as country not occupation. Arab Muslims are most active in political life in all organizations ranging from nationalists and Islamic revivalists.

Sunni Muslims population is the largest population and had been at defiant mood since the creation of state of Israel. Though they are recognized Arab citizens of state of Israel, they are not enjoying full right of national minority because most of Muslim Arab population still observe Nakba “catastrophe” instead of celebrating “Israeli Independence day. They still believe that Settlers are sole responsible for their plight. The same attitude is reciprocated by the state as well by treating them with suspicion and imposed military rule upon them for more than two decades after creation of state. The Muslim Arab population is also excluded from compulsory military service in Israel.  

Conclusion: In the whole  I can say that Israeli non seriousness towards the development of Palestinian in both areas before 1948 and after 1967 the situation is going worst and worst. So many committees also voiced concern at an unequal distribution of water resources, a disproportionate targeting of Palestinians in house demolitions and the denial of the right. Many other areas where Israeli is not doing equality like education, employment these are the field which is totally neglected to Palestinian. Even Israel did not provide the employment equality to Palestinian Arabs in Defense, social sector etc but only in low level work like labors etc. They Arabs also denied right to health also, in many cases injured Arabs denied permission to get treatment in Israeli Cities.

Chomsky points to official government records of a meeting at the start of the Israeli occupation in September 1967, when Moshe Dayan urged government ministers to tell the Palestinian residents of the occupied territories that ‘we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave-and we will see where this process leads.

Differing applications of criminal law between Jews and Arabs had caused “harsher punishments for Palestinians for the same offence”, is very much there. A high number of complaints by Arab Israelis against police officer for there excess use of power are not properly investigated and many Arabs suffer discriminatory work practices and high unemployment also visible to all.

Israel argues that the UN committee’s remit, to ensure compliance with a 1965 international treaty against racial discrimination which the Jewish state has ratified, does not apply to the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. The committee rejects that position. I think the non implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 was also a cause of discrimination of Arab in Israel.

The problem runs deep and is not easily resolved because it goes to the heart of Israel’s self-definition as both a Jewish and a democratic state and because of the complex, multi-layered nature of inter-communal relations - an Arab minority living in a Jewish state that is in conflict with its far more populous Arab neighbors. Fear and mistrust deepen the divide between Israel’s two populations. Mutual perceptions typically have been characterized at best by indifference, at worst by total misunderstanding and hostility.

Finally I would like to say as per my own observation that the world most powerful organization (UN) is not much effective, he is effective only on Iraq and Afghanistan not for Israel due to his US support. US also don’t like to solve the problems and did not want to take any action despite the violation of international law by Israeli state. Human right violation is very common against Arab in Israel and no organization is going to take or protest against that which will force Israel to behave with its citizen or its people in equal way. Some occupied land where the Arabs are living is also in trouble like all the citizen of Golan Height, West Bank and Gaza. So there is need to mount pressure on Israeli state to behave equally and provide all the right equally from education to health and from employment to religious and political as well. Collective punishment is common in Israel and that could involve curfews where the local population is not allowed out for more than an hour or two hour in a day or months, school are closed and there is no employment. Israel has justified the use of curfews on the basis that confining the Palestinian population to their homes for long periods prevents militants from attacking Jews. The situation is still pathetic due to construction of 1600 new settlements in occupied territory of West Bank, which incite the whole atmosphere there. I think the destruction of Arab Palestinian’s houses in many occasion is also a kind of  aggression and it’s a kind of collective punishment or I can say that its collateral damage for minority Arab there.

A growing gulf between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities is highlighted in a critical EU paper which breaks new ground by suggesting that the international community has a role in ensuring “genuinely equal treatment” for the country’s Arab minority. The confidential 27-page draft prepared by European diplomats and seen by The Independent charts a wide range of indicators showing that Israeli Arabs suffer “economic disparities...unequal access to land and housing...discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned.” The paper also levels criticisms at some Israeli Arab leaders, charging that the most extreme feed accusations of disloyalty within the majority Jewish community. And it is careful to praise positive state measures affecting the Arab community, including on policing. But it charges that Israel has addressed “few” of the recommendations on the “socio-economic causes of Israeli Arab frustration” made by the Or Commission, appointed after 12 Israeli Arabs were killed by police during demonstrations 11 years ago.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2012 on page no. 16

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