Israel renews law blocking Palestinian spouses from citizenship
People protest before a vote by Israel’s parliament on a law barring citizenship or even residency to some Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens.(Tsafrir Abayov / Associated Press)
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Israel renewed its temporary law not to extend citizenship rights to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens in occupied Gaza and the West Bank. The allegedly temporary law first started in 2003. 

Israeli citizens who live in Gaza and the West Bank are not affected by the law. 

The nation-state claims the law is a security measure. However its critics consider the law racist, not unlike South Africa’s apartheid, which lasted from 1948 to 1990.

During Apartheid, White citizens dominated the country across all facets of politics and government. At the time, Black citizens comprised the majority.

Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Interior Minister, noted the policy aims to maintain an Israeli majority. Shaked tweeted that the bill is a victory for “a Jewish and democratic state” and a defeat for “a state for all its citizens.” 

“A state for all its citizens” is the rallying cry for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians in occupied Gaza and the West Bank want recognition and citizenship

One Arab lawmaker noted the similarities between the renewed law and South African apartheid. According to Ayman Odeh, an Arab lawmaker, the law is a victory for “an apartheid state.” 

Israel law draws parallels to apartheid

The law started during a Palestinian uprising in 2003, however its continued presence signals Israel’s hostility to Palestinians. The law barring Palestinians from receiving citizenship from their Israeli and Arab spouses did not pass parliament last summer, due to objections from left-wing and Arab politicians.

The policy applies mostly to Arab families, who account for 20% of Israel’s population. Currently, Israel provides protection for 100,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank to enter Israel. 

Meanwhile, Israeli citizens lack the resources to bring their Palestinian spouses into Israel. However, the law does not apply to Jewish citizens in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Under Israeli law, all Jewish people maintain the right to live in Israel. The law, called the Law of Return, continues to apply today. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

One reply on “Israel renews law blocking Palestinian spouses from citizenship”

  1. I am disturbed by this law on so many levels. As a human being for its injustice and prejudice and as a Jewish person, you’d think after all the injustice and prejudice we’ve suffered, we wouldn’t as a people be racist or prejudice. When will we learn?

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