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Home arrow Israeli Apartheid Structures arrow Noted Arab Citizens Call on Israel to Shed Jewish Identity
Noted Arab Citizens Call on Israel to Shed Jewish Identity PDF Print E-mail
Feb 07, 2007 at 12:00 AM

by ISABEL KERSHNER

JERUSALEM, Feb. 7 - A group of prominent Israeli Arabs has called on Israel to stop defining itself as a Jewish state and become a "consensual democracy for both Arabs and Jews," prompting consternation and debate across the country.

Their contention is part of "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel," a report published in December under the auspices of the Committee of Arab Mayors in Israel, which represents the country's 1.3 million Arab citizens, about a fifth of the population. Some 40 well-known academics and activists took part.

They call on the state to recognize Israeli Arab citizens as an indigenous group with collective rights, saying Israel inherently discriminates against non-Jewish citizens in its symbols of state, some core laws, and budget and land allocations.

The authors propose a form of government, "consensual democracy," akin to the Belgian model for Flemish- and French-speakers, involving proportional representation and power-sharing in a central government and autonomy for the Arab community in areas like education, culture and religious affairs.

The document does not deal with the question of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where an additional three million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation without Israeli citizenship. The aim of the declaration is to reshape the future of Israel itself.

The reaction of Jewish Israelis has ranged from some understanding to a more widespread response, indignation. Even among the center-left, where concern for civil rights is common, some have condemned the document as disturbing and harmful. On the right, Israeli Arabs have been accused of constituting a "fifth column," a demographic and strategic threat to the survival of the state....

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Gaza's Ark organizers remain determined after attack
Gaza's Ark was badly damaged and partially sunk by a large explosion  at about 3:45 AM Gaza time on April 29th. No-one was injured. Mustafa Abu Awad, the guard who was on duty at the time, was taken to the hospital for tests and he has now been discharged.

The Ark was in the port of Gaza being readied to put to sea in June. Whether and when the boat can be repaired is something we will not know for sure until it can be pulled out of the water for inspection.

Awad said he had been warned to leave the area by an anonymous caller. "I was [sleeping] near the boat and someone phoned me -- an unidentified caller. I answered and he told me: 'Mustafa, leave the boat right now because we are going to blow it up.'"
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