Speakers Describe Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel

The issue of the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel was the subject of a March 15, 2016 lecture sponsored by the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at Birzeit University. Panelists included members of the Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel, an organizing body.

“The Palestinians’ status in the 1948 territories a key topic that we should highlight,” said Dean of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration Yaser Amouri, saying that the faculty has a number of lectures lined-up addressing social and legal issues.

“Unity is the key solution,” Amouri continued. “All Palestinians have one common set of legitimate goals: to exercise the right to self-determination, the right of return, and independence. A unifying leadership is needed to represent Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and the 1948 territories.”

Keynote speakers Higher Follow-Up Committee leader Mohammad Barkeh , spokesperson for its northern branch Saleh Lutfi, and the committee’s Islamic Movement representative Mansour Abbas agreed that the cultural and political identity of the Palestinian minority in Israel is under attack by Israelis. The Israeli public discourse on transfer, the demographic threat and the public perception of Palestinians inside Israel causes Palestinians to face inequality in almost all aspects of social, political and economic life.

They explained how Palestinians in the 1948 territories are subject to discrimination in their civil rights and are treated as second-class citizens. Continued Israeli government campaigns of incitement, hatred and racism require the committee to unite civil society, political and religious movements to draw international attention to what Palestinians experience and to stop these measures.

The Higher Follow-up Committee seeks equality under the law and freedom from discrimination, said the speakers. “These are basic human rights that are enshrined in international and human rights treatises of which Israel is signatory and that we have every right to object and protest.”