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Israel's 'government of change' shows how right-wing it is

Israel wahlbündnis : 'government of change' shows how right-wing it is

The Israeli parliament rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's new "government of change" to extend an obviously racist law, similar to South Africa's apartheid laws, which prohibits residency or citizenship rights to Palestinians from the occupied territories married to Israelis.

Israel's 'government of change' shows how right-wing it is
Seated Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett smiles as he waits to pose for a group photo with ministers of the new government at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Monday, June 14, 2021 (AP Photo / Maya Alleruzzo)

The tie vote of 59 to 59, three weeks after the new government toppled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and took the oath of office, is widely seen as a defeat for Bennett, who has been unable to unite his partners in coalition in what he called a "referendum" on his new government.

Bennett, who is even further to the right than Netanyahu, has a tenuous grip on power. Far from being resolved, the Israeli political crisis will worsen.

If the vote means that tens of thousands of Palestinians can now apply for Israeli residency and citizenship, it will have no effect in practice. Their demands will be rejected by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, notoriously known for her hatred of Palestinians, pending new legislation to renew the law on citizenship and entry into Israel.

Adalah, a legal advocacy group for Palestinian citizens of Israel, said: "This law is one of the most discriminatory and racist promulgated by Israel, and it must therefore be condemned and repealed." He added: "No democratic country in the world denies residence or citizenship to the spouses of its own citizens on the basis of the national, racial or ethnic affiliation of their spouses, while simultaneously labeling them as enemies."

According to human rights groups, the Citizenship and Entry Law prevents nearly 45,000 Palestinian families living in Israel and East Jerusalem from reuniting with their spouses and children. This law was intended as a way to limit the number of Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship, or residence in the case of East Jerusalem.

The law, introduced in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada, must be renewed every year, as it has been for 17 years. This year it has been torpedoed by the opposition parties, led by Netanyahu, not because they oppose the renewal, far from it, but because they saw it as an opportunity to destabilize the new government. , a surly coalition of eight parties that span almost the entire spectrum of official Israeli politics.

Speaking ahead of the vote on Monday, Netanyahu said: "With all due respect to this law, it is more important to topple the government." He added: “It's not just a law. It is a law that shows the fault line of this government, whose goal is to advance an anti-Zionist program. ”

This attempt to brand the coalition as anti-Zionist focuses on the inclusion of the Islamist Ra'am party led by Mansour Abbas. Netanyahu was referring to the "compromise" on the citizenship law that Bennett offered to his "liberal" coalition partners, Meretz, which supports the "two-state solution," and Ra'am, according to which the legislation would be 

renewed for six months, while offering residency rights to 1,600 Palestinian families: a tiny fraction of those affected. The move came after two failed attempts to secure an agreement from his partners, forcing him to postpone the vote twice. But his compromise was rejected by two Ra'am lawmakers, who abstained, as well as a member of Bennett's right-wing Yamina party,

Netanyahu had sought to turn the vote into a motion of no confidence, but that would have required an absolute majority of 61 out of 120 MPs in parliament, so the government survived.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who as leader of the Knesset's second-largest party tinkered with the difficult eight-party coalition and will become prime minister in two years if the coalition survives that long, clearly indicated that the compromise was not motivated by any 

democratic sentiment. He said bluntly that the law was more demographic engineering and "of security importance." He tweeted: “[There is] no need to hide the purpose of the [citizenship] law. It is one of the tools intended to guarantee a Jewish majority in Israel. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and our goal is for them to have a Jewish majority ”.

The Bennett-Lapid bloc is only united on the need to oust Netanyahu, who is unpopular with President Joe Biden's new Democratic government and faces a criminal trial for corruption. All of the leaders of the bloc have been collaborators of Netanyahu, held important positions in the government under his 

leadership, and have no notable political differences with him. Their mission is to save the financial and business elite from the impending economic, social and political storm. But it's going to come at the expense of Jewish and Palestinian workers in Israel / Palestine and the working class across the resource-rich Middle East.

Promising to focus on policies that unite them, infrastructure and the economy, and that avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they rushed to strengthen ties with the Biden administration and launch an investigation into the religious pilgrimage to the Mount Meron last April which left 45 dead. But despite their futile statements, they cannot avoid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is linked to the establishment of the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland in the form of a capitalist state created by the dispossession of the people. Palestinian and maintained by war and repression, as well as social inequality in the country.

Bennett's first act as prime minister was to endorse Netanyahu's decision to allow a provocative march by thousands of Jewish extremists into Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to mark the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem. Is by Israel during the 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and 

its illegal annexation. Originally conceived as a way to thwart Lapid's efforts to form an anti-Netanyahu coalition, the march received the green light from Netanyahu in the final days of his tenure to appease his far-right supporters and destabilize the new government. The march benefited from full police protection,

Two days later, Bennett authorized airstrikes on Gaza, following the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza which caused a few fires in open fields in southern Israel. The move came just after the 11-day Israeli criminal assault, chaired by Netanyahu and Bennett's Defense Minister Benny Gantz, on the besieged enclave, 

which killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66. children and 39 women, and injured 1,900 others, destroyed many buildings and displaced at least 60,000 people. Since then, Bennett has prevented all financial and material assistance for reconstruction from entering Gaza, which the World Bank estimates to cost at $ 485 million. In Gaza, 62 percent of the population faces food insecurity.

Bennett, a former colony council chief who in 2012 said he would refuse a military order to expel settlers from the West Bank, reported that the Evyatar settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank, illegal even under of Israeli law, will 

be allowed to proceed. The outpost, set up quickly in recent months, has sparked daily protests from Palestinians in the area, in which at least four people were killed and hundreds injured by Israeli soldiers firing at live bullets.

The 50 settler families must leave the site, but their makeshift homes will remain under the protection of a new military base to be established there. If, after examining ownership of the land, the government decides that all or 

part of the land belongs to the State of Israel and not to the local Palestinian farmers who have owned it for decades, as evidenced by income statements dating back years 1930, the colonists will be allowed to build a religious school on the site, which will have the effect of legalizing the outpost.

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