Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament protest against the controversial Nation State Law adopted by Knesset today, declaring Israel the nation state of the Jewish people with Hebrew as its only official language.
They also restate their support for the NGO Breaking the Silence, through which former Israeli soldiers share their experience in the occupied Palestinian territories. Earlier this week, the Knesset also passed a law authorising the Minister of Education to prevent “external elements acting against the goals of education and against the Israel Defence Forces.”
S&D Vice-President for foreign policy and human rights, Elena Valenciano, said: “The Israeli government and the right-wing majority in Knesset may think that decisions they make these days will go unnoticed by the international community due to the summer break. They will not. These new laws represent another serious attack against democratic values and fundamental freedoms in the country.
“The Nation State Law not only downgrades the status of Palestinian Arab citizens and of Arabic language in Israel, but also encourages segregation through the promotion of Jewish settlement as a national value. Preventing human rights defenders from meeting children in schools and declaring them the enemy of the state is unacceptable. Breaking the Silence is and will remain a close partner to the S&D Group. We continue to support the important work they do towards achieving peace.
“We side with Zionist Union, Meretz and Joint List Members of Knesset who voted against these laws. All this happens against the backdrop of demolition and transfer orders imposed on Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages in the Negev and in Area C in the occupied West Bank; and the ongoing violence around the Gaza Strip, where rockets and killings must stop, ceasefire must be respected, and another war must be prevented.
“The international community, including the European Union, has to say it loud and clear: Israel is not above international law and standards. Acts and decisions must have consequences. It is in this spirit that I reiterate our call for a genuine assessment by the European Union whether Article 2 of our Association Agreement with Israel is still fulfilled.”