Israeli Law on Jewish Nation-State to Mount Tensions in Country – Palestinian MP

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitThe opening session of the Knesset
The opening session of the Knesset - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The constitutional law declaring Israel a "nation-state," and stipulating that only Jews had the right to self-determination, will escalate tensions in the country, Masud Ghnaim, a member of the Knesset for the United Arab List, told Sputnik on Thursday.

"This law will escalate tensions in the country, there may be some unrest. But tomorrow all the ministries will adopt amendments given the special rights of Jews and restricted rights of others. Therefore any legal dispute will not be won by the Palestinians," Ghnaim said.

He said that the law had not expelled the Palestinians from Israel but significantly restricted their rights.

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The same opinion was expressed by another United Arab List lawmaker, Aiman Oudah.

"As a result [of the law] the tensions between the Jews and the Palestinians will escalate. But we must calm down and be united. We must conduct a balanced and wise domestic policy in order to help Arabs in Israel in this difficult time. It is important to develop the policy for the future," Oudah told Sputnik.

The Israeli parliament passed the controversial law earlier in the day. The legislation also declares Hebrew as the only official language, stripping Arabic of the same status.

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The law was passed in the 120-seat Knesset by a vote of 62 to 55, with two abstentions. The heated debate ended in applause by the ruling nationalist coalition and accusations of apartheid by Arab lawmakers, who tore up their copies of the bill in a protest.

Arabs make up a fifth of the country’s eight-million-strong population and have frequently accused the government of discrimination, including against Palestinian refugees, millions of whom have been trying to return to their ancestral homes after being banished during the creation of Israel.

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