Wednesday, February 7, the United Arab list is going to submit to the Knesset a draft Basic law: «a democratic, multicultural and equitable state of Israel.» This law is submitted in opposition to the law on the Jewish character of the state, which is being developed these days, provides for the abolition of all Jewish symbols, as well as the entire Jewish component of the character of the state.
«The state of Israel – is a common state for all citizens – Jews and Arabs. All the institutions and resources of the state serve in full and equally to all citizens», – stated in the text of the law.
The bill also defines the boundaries of the 1967 borders of the state, Hebrew and Arabic have equal status, and the flag, emblem and anthem should reflect what the authors of the bill called «equal relationship of the state with all its citizens.»
For clarification about the bill editorial NEWSru.co.il turned to its author the Deputy Yusuf Jabarin. The United Arab list, he is a representative of HADASH.
Interviewed political commentator NEWSru.co.il Gabby Wolfson.
Mr. Jabarin, let’s start from the end. It’s more about declarations than about the bill, as you are well aware that the chances of its adoption are equal to zero.
First of all I want to say that applying this law, I intended and intend to compete for his approval. But it is obvious that the Knesset, in its current form, this law does not approve. So you’re right: it is about the expression of the position and presentation of alternative view on how the state should look like. This law has additional value as an alternative to the vector, which is reflected in the law on the Jewish character of the state. Sorry, I know my laws will not pass.
In other words, your initiative is a response to the law on the Jewish character of Israel.
This reaction, which outlines the parameters of the state, as we would like it to be. The law on the Jewish character of the state clearly assumes the primacy of the Jewish collective over all others. Thus, national minorities, primarily Arabs, are the indigenous population of this country, become the status primigenia. This strikes at the basic principle of any democratic state – the principle of equality. My bill returns the discussion to the normal framework in frameworks that among other things stipulated by international law. These frameworks provide for the preservation of the principle of equal citizenship, the relationship of the state to all citizens on the basis of equality. Without these basic principles, democracy can not exist.
The essence of the bill is that Israel is not a state of the Jewish people and the state for all citizens?
I don’t know what the meaning is embedded in the terms the state of the Jewish people or the state for all citizens. This law defines the principle of equal citizenship as the basic principle of government. But this law promotes and collective characteristics of the two groups: the Jewish majority and the Arab minority. So I say, for example, the preservation of equal status of the two languages: Hebrew and Arabic. I have deliberately not used the term «state of all citizens». It was important for me to emphasize the principle of equality of all national groups. You can talk about the «state of all citizens», about equal state, multicultural. A global definition is less important. More importantly, on what basis is formed by the state. If based on the priority of some people over others – this is unacceptable, this is racism. If the term «Jewish state» contradicts the principle of equality of citizens, my the law rejects the principle of the «Jewish state.»
I’m sure you are a supporter of the rights of national groups to self-determination. In your opinion, the Jewish collective has the right to national self-determination?
In the state of Israel on the 70th year of its existence was home to two national groups: the Jewish national collective, which is a majority and the Arab national team, which is minority and indigenous groups. And the state of Israel should reflect the right of both groups to self-realization. And my main principle is that there are no priority rights of the majority over the minority. And so self-determination can be citizens, not some national group.
That is, national groups, as such, no right to self-determination?
It is possible to formulate the same thing differently and say that the two national groups living in Israel today have a right to self-determination, and so achieved the equal attitude of the state to both national groups living today in Israel. I’m like a lawyer acting for the preservation of the principle of equality, is extremely wary of any formal, constitutional definition, provide one group an advantage over another. It is unworthy, and in today’s state is simply immoral. And so I seek out formulations that maintain the principle of equality at least at the declarative level. By the way, the same principle can and should be applied when looking at the whole Arab-Israeli conflict.
That is, the principle of equality must be the determining factor in the case of a single state on the entire territory of mandatory Palestine. The state shall ensure the right to self-determination of both national groups.
If I understand you correctly, you are considering the option of a single state as a worker. The HADASH rejected the idea of two national States?
I haven’t abandoned the idea of two democratic States in the 1967 borders with the preservation of Jerusalem as the capital of both States. But frankly, it scares me the direction in which it moves the government, as well as the support that it receives from the administration of Donald trump. This makes the prospect of creating a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders less likely. But nevertheless, today I still think a more likely option is the creation of two States and try as much to contribute to the realization of this vision.
Now let’s imagine that a Palestinian state is created. Would you be willing to act like yours, was admitted there to a Palestinian state was multicultural to the Jews, who are called settlers, lived there as a national minority?
Error in your design is that you are comparing the Arabs in Israel, the natives of this country, its indigenous people who lived here before the creation of the state of Israel, with the settlers outside of the 1967 borders. They stay there illegally, they are there to stay don’t have to. The international community clearly considers all settlements illegal. Therefore, it seems to me that you cannot develop a thesis about preserving the rights of the illegal settlers. If a Jew wants to remain in a Palestinian state, he will have to resolve this issue with the authorities of the new state. But illegal settlers, aliens, not the indigenous population any right to claim can not.
That is, in other words «democratic, multicultural and equitable» should be only the state of Israel. In the state of Palestine is not covered.
The Jews who are behind the 1967 borders are illegal settlers. They initially there is no reason to require those national right which we are seeking, ethnic minority, indigenous. By the way, I doubt that a large number of settlers will want to stay in a Palestinian state. But at a detailed level about all this to speak still early.
You limit public debate about your bill and still make it to a vote of the Knesset?
I’m definitely going to make it and to the vote of the Knesset and for the consideration of the inter-Ministerial Commission on legislation. There it will be rejected.
Let’s talk about the United Arab list. It will remain before the next election?
I really hope so. We are now working on maintaining a single list, create a structure that will allow continued cooperation.
Deputies from HADASH, Jewish-Arab list comfortable one faction, such as BALAD?
It seems to me that the cooperation was very successful. With BALAD, and «Islamic movement», and with the party of Ahmed Tibi (TAAL – the Arab national movement – approx. ed.). I think that on the background of the challenges facing us in the era of the far-right government, it is especially important to keep unity. The independence of each party in the Merged list is stored. We are not a United party. The difference in approaches, the nuances, the worldview is preserved, but it is better when the shades are part of the whole, and not live by themselves.
Do you agree with the protest of members of your faction at the time of speaking in the Knesset, the Vice-President of the USA Michael Pence?
Complete agreement. It was a worthy, legitimate, non-violent protest. Outrageous was the behavior of the guards, who literally attacked the parliamentarians. It is unworthy and unacceptable behavior of the guards in the civilized Parliament. Knesset speaker could ask us to leave the room. What we were going to do. But the behavior of the guards was shameful.
Your behavior conforms to the norms of civilized Parliament?
We are a political party. We are not a public organization or a business firm. The task of the representatives of the political parties – to Express their political views. The Declaration of the trump on the issue of Jerusalem has stirred the whole world: our population, our voters, and deputies. And we believed that have the right to peaceful protest, similar to what we often see in different parliaments. And if not for the rowdy reaction of the guards, all would go much easier without extreme incidents.
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