Essentially, they want to be a state within a state. They want control over their education and culture. They do not want to integrate. They want the right to maintain a distinct identity and to have a veto over things that affect them.
They say that such rights are based on international law. Wrong, there is no such law. They are 20% of the population today. If we annex Judea and Samaria the Arabs will then be 33% of the population. This would strengthen their demands for this kind of bi-nationalism.
Finally I am against giving citizenship to Arabs in J&S were we to annex it. Others in the annexation camp favour citizenship. They rely on our 2/3 majority. They are foolish. I see all kinds of unrest and challenges as we have seen in Turkey and the Arab world. Why should Israel be immune to such things even if we had a 2/3 majority.. Ted Belman
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON, JPOST
MK Jamal Zahalka, tells ‘Post’ proposed legislation is for Israel to recognize Arab citizens as national minority, fulfill obligations.
The Israeli-Arab Balad party is pushing a bill that would enshrine the country’s Arabs as an official minority with autonomous national rights in fields such as culture and education. They seek to have the bill included in Israel’s Basic Laws, which serve as a quasi-constitution.
The head of the Balad party, MK Jamal Zahalka, told The Jerusalem Post that the proposed legislation is based on international law regarding minority rights, and that its purpose is for the State of Israel to recognize Arab citizens as a national minority and fulfill its obligations to them.
This is “in order to protect their existence and preserve their cultural and civic rights, which would guarantee their equality. This also means that Israel must accept our connection to the Palestinians in the territories and the Arab nation at large.”
The Basic Law proposal would guarantee the participation of minority representatives in government decisions that affect the minority.
For example, said Zahalka, according to this law, it would not be possible to advance a law like the Prawer- Begin plan to regulate Beduin settlement in the Negev because the law did not involve the effective participation of the Beduin in the decision-making process.
The law would guarantee that the minority would always be connected to decisions made by the majority that affect them.
“We demand cultural autonomy so that we can decide what we learn in our schools,” he said. “This means that the history taught in Arab schools would include the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and the Nakba [the Arabic term meaning “catastrophe” that Arabs use to refer to the War of Independence], which are currently not mentioned in schoolbooks.
“Arab students don’t know about their history and why they are here,” he explained.