NEW CONSTITUTION PROPOSED FOR ISRAEL

The following was just sent to me by Sam Bahour…. an interesting read about a much talked about subject….

This new report, a third from Israeli Palestinians INSIDE Israel who are citizens of the State of Israel, is a major development. These Palestinians are not living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and E. Jerusalem. They are part and parcel of Israel, Palestinians who never fled in 1948 and 1967.

The news report is below, but the actual text of “The Democratic Constitution” may be found at:

ENGLISH COPY: http://www.adalah.org/eng/democratic_constitution-e.pdf

ARABIC COPY: http://www.adalah.org/ara/democratic_constitution-a.pdf

HEBREW COPY: http://www.adalah.org/heb/democratic_constitution-h.pdf

Source: http://www.adalah.org/eng/index.php

And the following from today’s HaAretz…

Israeli Arab group proposes new ‘multi-cultural’ constitution

By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent

A proposed constitution written by the Israeli Arab advocacy center, Adalah, states that Arab Knesset members will be able to bring about the disqualification of bills that impinge on the rights of Arabs, and classifies the State of Israel as a “bilingual and multicultural” country rather than a Jewish state.

The proposal, entitled “The Democratic Constitution,” also calls for majority and minority groups to split control of the government in such a way that will strengthen the Arab minority on issues relating to the character of the state.

Adalah’s version of the constitution essentially abolishes the Jewish elements of Israel, but allows the Jewish majority to maintain its character through educational and cultural institutions. The proposal invalidates the Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to people with at least one Jewish grandparent, and states that citizenship will be granted to those who come to Israel for humanitarian reasons, regardless of their religion.

The document states that the “internal refugees” _ Arab residents and their descendants expelled in 1948 and whose number is estimated at about a quarter of today’s Israeli Arab citizens _ will return to the area where they used to live and receive compensation. The introduction to the proposed constitution demands that Israel recognize its responsibility for the “historical injustices that it caused the Palestinian nation in its entirety,” withdraw from the territories and recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The proposal sets the state’s borders along the 1967 cease-fire lines.

The proposed constitution grants citizenship to all descendants of Israeli citizens, whether they were born here or abroad, as well as to all spouses of Israeli citizens thereby undermining Israeli efforts to limit marriages between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians living in the territories.

Instead of dealing with the issue of who is a Jew, says Adalah, the proposal deals with the issue of who is a citizen.

Adalah’s constitution is the first one proposed by an Arab institution, though there have been many proposed by various Jewish ones. Adalah chairman Prof. Marwan Dwairy said the other proposals are not based on democratic values.

“They relate to Arab citizens like foreigners in this homeland, in which history, memory and collective rights are the legacy of Jews alone,” he wrote.

Adalah hopes that its proposal will spur public discourse on the legal and cultural standing of Israeli Arabs.

“If this ‘Democratic Constitution’ succeeds in highlighting the large gaps that exist between it and the other proposals, and generates dialogue and topical public discussion on the nature of the freedoms and rights in the this country, we will see it as an important step,” wrote Dwairy.

According to the proposed constitution, all assets of the Waqf (the Muslim religious trust) that were expropriated after 1948 and all assets seized by the state from Arabs will be returned to their original owners, who will also receive compensation for the period of expropriation. The state must also immediately recognize all unrecognized Arab villages, the proposal states.

The document does not state what the symbols of the country should be, but says that they will be determined either by a Knesset committee, half of whose members will be Arab, or by agreement of 75 percent of Arab MKs.

All official publications, court rulings and media reports will be in both Hebrew and Arabic, according to Adalah. The proposal states that every cultural group, whether religious or ethnic, will be able to run their own institutions, and that national minorities can choose their own representative body, at the state’s expense.

The proposed constitution grants the judicial system the authority to overturn any laws that contradict the constitution.

Adalah says that many of its sections are based on international declarations of human rights, and has consulted with legal experts from around the world, including some who were involved in South Africa’s changeover from an apartheid state to a democratic one.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/831400.html

2 Comments

  1. Robin said,

    February 28, 2007 at 18:39

    Hi Steve,
    This is utterly sublime. For Israel to be a TRUE democracy and not just rely on it’s benefactors labeling it as such, then ALL citizens of that state must share equal rights amongst the other elements called for here. It took a while for “The Future Vision of Palestinian Arabs in Israel” to hit the mainstream news here, in fact I just read about it recently in the LA Times. From my perspective over here in the States, the debate IS coming to the forefront with such things as Carter’s book, “Peace Not Apartheid” (although his remarks about Israel proper are WAY off the mark which in my mind undermines his arguement to a great extent because he should “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth) In my own thought that this document and the resulting conversation should be undertaken QUICKLY (because things are talked about forever, but without starting the conversation, there IS no starting point), I hope you don’t mind but I “borrowed” your post. Thank You Steve!! And thank you also to Sam for bringing this important matter to all of our attentions.

  2. DesertPeace said,

    February 28, 2007 at 18:51

    Robin, it’s not only news about Israeli arabs that is hard to find in the ‘mainstream press’, it’s the truth about Israel period!
    That is what makes our Blogs so valuable… so ‘borrow away’ anytime.


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