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ADC Condemns New Israeli Law Barring Palestinian Spouses from Citizenship

Washington, DC, August 1–The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly condemned a new Israeli law adopted yesterday by the Knesset, which bars Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from applying for Israeli citizenship. Spouses of all other ethnic and national origins will still be eligible for citizenship through marriage to Israelis. The law effects the Palestinian spouses of all Israeli nationals, but is especially onerous for the more than one million Palestinian citizens of Israel who are much more likely to marry Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories than Jewish Israelis. The law effectively forces Palestinian citizens of Israel who marry Palestinians from the occupied territories to either leave Israel and live abroad, abandon marriage plans, or marry but live separate lives. Many Israelis, including Knesset members, have acknowledged that the law is racist.
ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, “The law takes Israel even further away from its professed goal of being a democratic and equitable state. It is yet another inhumane policy designed to disrupt the normal live of Palestinians on both sides of the 1967 ‘green line‘ and ensure that the fewest possible Palestinians become citizens of Israel even through such normal and universally recognized processes as marriage.” Former Congresswoman Oakar added, “this new form of discrimination can only exacerbate the state of tension which fuels conflict, and promotes fear and distrust between Israelis and Palestinians.” She concluded, “we call on the Bush administration to make it clear to the Israeli government that the United States strongly disapproves of laws which discriminate against people because of their ethnicity, and discourage marriages and divide families due to racial or ethnic intolerance.”