Israel is planning to block Palestinian citizens from living in almost 1,000 neighborhoods and villages under the pretext that they were built for Jews only. The Knesset (Israeli parliament) is set to discuss a law to build Jew-only areas in the country, according to a report in Haaretz.
The director of the Alternative Planning Center, Hanna Sweed, described the proposed legislation as “racist”, he said that it aims to prevent Arabs from living in new neighborhoods. He added that municipalities used to prevent Arab citizens from living in Jewish neighborhoods, but this practice looks set to become enshrined in law.
“There have been indirectly-racist laws in Israel,” explained Sweed, “but this law stipulates clearly the building of Jewish neighborhoods without any Arab residents.” He warned that this might lead to more racist laws to put extra limits on Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up 20 per cent of the population.
The former MK pointed out that there is no law that prevents Jews from living in Arab neighborhoods. “What’s more, consecutive Israeli governments have built hundreds of Jewish towns and neighborhoods in occupied Palestine, but have never built any Arab neighborhood since 1948.”
He noted that the Israeli authorities have never even expanded Arab neighborhoods, causing severe housing shortages and pushing Arabs to apply to live in new Jewish areas. “Due to years of having their land confiscated, Israel’s Arab citizens do not have enough land to meet housing demand as the population continues to grow.”
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