‘Israel’s extreme right wing government has finished any hope for a Palestinian state’ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

‘Israel’s extreme right wing government has finished any hope for a Palestinian state’

Last year, Palestinian citizens of Israel suffered two major set-backs in their ongoing fight for equality. The first was the Nation-State Law, which basically turned non-Jews into second class citizens. The second, which is related to the first, was a slump in Palestinian and Arab representation within the Israeli Knesset (parliament).

For the 2 million Palestinians who make up almost 22 per cent of the population of Israel, discrimination and institutional racism has been a reality since the Nakba of 1948. Even though “the right to equality is not yet enshrined in law regarding most aspects of life,” no previous decree with constitutional status has relegated non-Jewish Israeli citizens to an inferior status resembling the apartheid laws in White-ruled South Africa rather than the equal rights and democracy celebrated in the West.

To discuss the implications of the Nation-State Law and the reasons why growing numbers of Palestinian citizens of Israel feel disillusioned and alienated, I sat with Yousef Jabareen. The Palestinian academic born in Umm Al-Fahm in northern Israel was elected for a second time to the Israeli Knesset in April.

This law, he told me, “deepens discrimination” and “excludes” the Arab Palestinian community within Israel. It also “enshrines the purity of the Jewish citizen in Israel and of the Jewish people in general.” Because of this, he added, “it’s important to explain to the international community the dangers of this law, and how it will lead to greater conflict in the region.”