The HyperTexts

Israel's Racist Laws and Policies

by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry

Is Israel the only democracy in the Middle East, as the claim has frequently been made? Or has Israel deliberately crafted racist laws that allow Israeli Jews to rob Palestinians of their ever-dwindling land and water, just as the United States once had racist laws that allowed Native Americans to be robbed of their land and water? Here is hard evidence that Israel has wildly unjust, racist laws. Why? For the same reason that the U.S. once had wildly unjust, racist laws: so that the "superior" people could rob the "inferior" people of their most valuable possessions: land and water sources ...

• Section of 5 in the Law of Political Parties and section 7A of the Basic Law: Both stipulate that any party platform that calls for full and complete equality between Jews and non-Jews can be disqualified from any political post. The law also denies Palestinian Arab citizens the right to challenge the state's Zionist identity.

• Law of Return: “Every Jew has the right to become a citizen no matter where they come from” while the indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants who were expelled [ethnically cleansed] in 1948 are expressly barred from returning to their homes. Israel is defined as a Jewish state, and ethnic Jews can return to Israel. However, non-Jewish refugees who fled Israel during the war of 1948 are denied the right of return.

• Nakba Law: Penalizes any institution that commemorates or publicly mourns the expulsion [ethnic cleansing] of the native Palestinian population. This is like denying Native Americans the right to commemorate or publicly mourn the Trail of Tears.

• Anti-boycott law: Provides that anyone calling for a boycott of Israel, or its illegal settlements, can be sued by the boycott's targets without having to prove that they sustained damage. The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid.

• Admission Committees Law: This formally allows neighborhood screening committees to prevent non-Jewish citizens from living in Jewish communities which control 81 percent of the territory in Israel. In March 2011 Israel passed a law to allow residents of Jewish towns to refuse non-Jews the right to live in their communities. This is clearly a law establishing a system of apartheid.

• Amendment to the Citizenship Law: Stipulates that an Israeli citizen who marries a Palestinian cannot live as a couple in Israel with his/her spouse. A Palestinian spouse can neither gain citizenship nor residency. This is like saying that if a white American marries a Mexican woman, the Mexican woman cannot become a U.S. citizen, or even a legal resident.

• 93% of the land, the vast majority of which was confiscated from Palestinian owners after 1948, can only be owned by Jewish agencies for the benefit of Jews only. One of these agencies is the Jewish National Fund, which, in its charter forbids sale or lease of land to non-Jews.

• Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [article 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952)]: This authorizes lower import taxes for Jewish citizens of Israel compared with non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

• National Planning and Building Law (1965): Through various zoning laws, this freezes the growth of existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion Jewish settlements and creation of new ones. The law also re-classifies a large portion of established Arab villages as “unrecognized” and therefore nonexistent, allowing the state to cut off water and electricity as well as to simply appropriate the underlying land.

• Appropriations are carried out under The Requisitions Law which allows a “competent authority” to requisition the land – called “land requisition order” – so that only he may “use and exploit the land” as he sees fit. This applies to “home requisition orders” as well, whereby another “competent authority” who can “order the occupier of a house to surrender the house to the control of a person specified in the order, for residential purposes or for any other use, as may be prescribed in the order.”

• There is a planned Mosque Law that will prohibit the broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer, which has been sounding over that land since the beginning of Islam.

• Non-Jews living in the West Bank are denied access to the holy places of Jerusalem, which are only a few kilometers away.

• Also, for the first time in the history of Islam and the history of Christianity, Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the West Bank and Gaza are denied access to their holy Places of Jerusalem, even on the high holy days of Eid, Christmas, and Easter Sunday.

• Since Israel took the West Bank, the Christian population has declined from 20,000 in 1967 to less than 7,500 today.

• Israel spends $192 per year per non-Jewish student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student.

• Military Order 1229: authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely, without charge or trial.

• Military Order 329 and 1650 effectively prevent Palestinians from being anywhere in the West Bank without a specific permit to be there, making it a criminal offense to go from one Palestinian town to another.

• Military Oder 92 and 158: These give the Israeli military control of all water resources in the West Bank, which belongs to Palestinians.

• Israel then allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, while unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies creating a reality of green lawns and swimming pools for Jewish settlers and a parched life for Palestinians, whose access to water, according to the World Health Organization does not meet the minimum requirements for basic human water needs.

• Furthermore, that fraction of confiscated Palestinian water is sold to Palestinians at 300% more than what it costs Jewish settlers in the same area ($1.20/cubic meter vs. $.40/cubic meter).

• Military Order 811 and 847: These allow Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using “power of attorney.”

• Military Order 25: This forbids public inspection of land transactions.

• Military Order 998: This requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make withdrawals from their bank accounts.

• Military Order 128: This gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which is not open during regular business hours.

• Military Order 138  and 134: These forbid Palestinians from operating tractors or other heavy farm machinery on their land.

• Military Order 93: This gives all Palestinian insurance businesses to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.

• Military Order 1015: This requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. This permit expires every year.

• Through various military orders, according to the WHO, Israel has uprooted 2.5 million trees belonging to Palestinians, and which often represent their only means of sustenance. To fully grok this, just think of the movie Avatar.

The HyperTexts