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Isn’t Israel a democratic state already?

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens, but rather the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them.” — Benjamin Netanyahu

Democracy, being government by the people, is based on the premise of equality between citizens. Although it is expected of a democratic state to discriminate on the basis of citizenship, the state of Israel discriminates on the basis of identity between:

1) Jewish non-citizens and non-Jewish (and/or Palestinian) non-citizens, with:

2) Jewish citizens and non-Jewish citizens, with:

3) Jews and non-Jews in territories it has officially annexed, such as:

  • East Jerusalem, where it:
  • The Golan Heights, where it:
    • Refuses to recognize non-Jewish inhabitants’ non-Israeli citizenships
    • Has expropriated 95% of non-Jews’ lands
    • Imposes restrictive zoning and building policies through the authority of the Jewish Agency for Israel (formerly the Jewish Agency for Palestine) which politicizes identity and whose mission is explicitly limited to the interests of Jews
    • Has established Regional Planning Councils in the name of the World Zionist Organization which also politicizes identity and whose mission is also explicitly limited to the interests of Jews
    • Discriminates between Jews and non-Jews in the allotment of basic services such as water and electricity
    • Also discriminates between Jews and non-Jews in other ways

4) Jews and non-Jews in territories it occupies but has not officially annexed, such as the West Bank, where it:

5) Jews and non-Jews in territories it controls, such as the exclusive evacuation of Jews from Gaza prior to imposing its blockade on it, following decades of identity-based discrimination during its prior occupation of the Strip, as per the points above.

Relevant readings and videos:

Israel must become a state for all its citizens — Gershon Baskin, Jerusalem Post
Debunking the myth that All Israelis are Equal — Decolonize Palestine
The Discriminatory Laws Database — Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
The Inequality Report — Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid — UN Report, co-authored by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley
Annexation Legislation Database — Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights
Q&A: A Threshold Crossed—Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution — Human Rights Watch
Q&A: Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians—A Look Into Decades of Oppression and Domination — Amnesty International
Video: Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity — Amnesty International

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