Amnesty: Palestinian Lawmakers Face Discrimination in Israeli Knesset

The Israeli Knesset. (Photo: File)

Palestinian lawmakers elected to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, are the target of discriminatory measures, according to Amnesty International. 

Amnesty International’s findings show that the ability of Palestinian Knesset members, referred to in the report as MKs, to “represent and defend the rights of the Palestinian minority population in Israel” is being undermined.

The report, entitled Elected but restricted: Shrinking space for Palestinian parliamentarians in Israel’s Knesset, was published Wednesday, just a few weeks ahead of September 17 elections in Israel.

Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, said:

“Palestinian members of the Knesset in Israel are increasingly facing discriminatory attacks. Despite being democratically elected like their Jewish Israeli counterparts, Palestinian MKs are the target of deep-rooted discrimination and undue restrictions that hamstring their ability to speak out in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people.” 

He added:

“With Israel systematically committing human rights violations against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it is vital that Palestinian voices in parliament are heard, considered and respected.”

The rights group identified legislative amendments, regulations and practices that allow for discrimination against Palestinian lawmakers. 

Among them is a 2016 legislative amendment which allows members of the Israeli parliament to be expelled by a majority vote. 

According to the report, this means “that MKs who express peaceful political views or opinions that are deemed unacceptable by a majority of MKs can face expulsion from parliament”.

Amnesty International quoted one Palestinian lawmaker who described this amendment as a “sword dangled over our heads by members of the Knesset who oppose us politically”.

The report further reveals that, since 2011, at least four bills related to the rights of Palestinians were disqualified before they were even discussed in the Knesset.

The report also highlights the discriminatory attitudes held by Israeli politicians towards Palestinian members.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

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