ISRAELI APARTHEID LAWS
1. Identity and Citizenship
Law of Return (1950)
Grants right of immigration to Jews born anywhere in the world. Amended in 1970 to extend this right to "a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew." A "Jew" is defined as "a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."
Non-Jewish native-born Palestinians - most importantly those who fled during the Zionist massacres in 1947 and 1948 - are in most cases prevented from returning.
Nationality (/Citizenship) Law (1952)
Confers automatic citizenship upon all who immigrate under the Law of Return. Non-Jews - including native-born Palestinians - must prove residency and pass other tests; citizenship is granted at the discretion of the Minister of the Interior.
Under the new interim policy for "family unification" passed by the Israeli Cabinet in 2002, and made part of the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law by the Knesset in 2003, a discriminatory system has been put in place preventing applications for residency or citizenship from Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens.
Population Registry Law (1965)
Requires all residents of Israel to register their nationality - Jewish, Arab, Druze - with the Population Registry and to obtain an identity card carrying this information.
Identity Card (Possession and Presentation) Law (1982)
Residents must carry identity cards at all times and present them to "senior police officers, to the heads of local authorities, or to police officers or soldiers on duty when requested to do so."
Absentee Property Law (1950)
Classifies the personal property of Palestinians who fled during the Zionist terror campaign of 1947/48 as "absentee property" and places it within the power of the Custodian of Absentee Property. According to the law, even the property of Palestinians who are present within the newly created state of Israel, but are not physically present on their property ("internal refugees"), becomes "absentee property." This creates the category of "present absentees."
Land Acquisition (Validity of Acts and Compensation) Law (1953)
Confiscates the land of more than 400 Palestinian villages; "validates" retroactively their use for military purposes and for Jewish settlements.
Development Authority (Transfer of Property Law) (1950)
Transfers confiscated Palestinian villages and private property to the Development Authority, which is empowered to dispose of it in the interests of the State, giving priority to the Jewish National Fund - a Zionist organization aimed at settling Jewish immigrants to Israel. Both the JNF and the Jewish Agency - organizations that act exclusively in the interest of Jews - take on the status of quasi-governmental organizations within the framework of the Development Authority Law.
World Zionist Organization Jewish Agency (Status) Law (1952)
Establishes the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency as organizations with governmental status in fulfilling Zionist objectives - the immigration and settlement of Jews in Palestine.
National Planning and Building Law (1965)
Creates a system of discriminatory zoning that freezes existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion of Jewish settlements. The law also re-classifies a large number of Arab villages as "non-residential" creating the "unrecognized villages." These villages do not receive basic municipal services such as water and electricity; all buildings are threatened with demolition orders.
Land Acquisition in the Negev (Peace Treaty with Egypt) Law (1980)
Seizes thousands of dunums of land from Bedouins for the purpose of expanding Jewish settlements.
3. Political Participation
Bars a list of candidates from participation in elections to the Knesset "if its aims or actions, expressly or by implication" deny "the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people."
The Law of Political Parties (1992)
Bars the Registrar of Political Parties from registering a political party if it denies "the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic State."
In 2002 both Section 7A(1) of the Basic Law: the Knesset and the Law of Political Parties were amended further to bar those whose goals or actions, directly or indirectly, "support armed struggle of an enemy state or of a terror organization, against the State of Israel." These amendments were added expressly to curtail the political participation of Palestinian Arabs within Israel - such as Azmi Bishara - who have expressed solidarity with Palestinians resisting military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.
4. Judicial Practice: Equal Protection Cases
The Israeli courts - guided by the Supreme Court - have consistently decided that discrimination between Arabs and Jews is legitimate based on the founding principles of Israel as a state for the Jewish people; "nationality" is considered a legitimate basis for discrimination.
In the State of Israel vs. Ashgoyev (1988), an Israeli settler was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court of shooting a Palestinian child. The judge sentenced him to a suspended jail term of six months and community service. When challenged by critics, the trial judge, Uri Shtruzman, said: "It is wrong to demand in the name of equality, equal bearing and equal sentences to two offenders who have different nationalities who break the laws of the State. The sentence that deters the one and his audience, does not deter the other and his community."