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Israel Summons EU Envoy Over Controversial Bill

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Israel has summoned the European Union (EU) ambassador Emanuele Giaufret on Thursday over allegations of interference in the passage of a controversial law which could pave the way for Jewish-only communities.

Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the foreign ministry to “reprimand” the EU envoy while warning that “additional steps” were being planned.

 

The summons is tied to the ‘nation-state law’, a proposed legislation that would allow the state of Israel to authorise a community composed entirely of people of homogenous faith and nationality in order to preserve the exclusive nature of that community; Netanyahu wants the law  passed by the end of the month.

The law has however been interpreted to mean certain towns and cities within the Israeli state could legally exclude its Arab population which account for some 17.5 per cent of Israel’s general population.

 

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, whose role is largely ceremonial, has expressed deep concerns regarding the bill in a rare intervention in the country’s politics.

In like manner, the Attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit has also raised opposition to the law, which if passed could become part of the country’s basic laws that serve as a de facto constitution.

 

Israeli media reported that European diplomats have told lawmakers in the country that the law is discriminatory and against democratic principles.

Netanyahu’s office however accused the European Union of “interfering with Israeli legislation”.

“Apparently they do not understand that Israel is a sovereign state,” his office said.

 

Despite international opposition, the Israeli state continues to seize Palestinian lands and expand settlements into the west bank. The recent recognition of Jerusalem as the de facto capital of the state of Israel and the subsequent move of the US embassy to the city by President Donald Trump has stoked tensions among the Palestinians and Israelis in recent times; tensions that has led to violence and bloodshed, most of them young Palestinians born into the conflict between both parties.

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