The Australian’s Apartheid Cloud

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As for Khatib’s charge of apartheid, his own bio on his own extremist writings says that he is a Ph.D student in Anthropology at the University of Haifa and a teacher at Western Galilee College in northern Israel. In addition, Khatib himself challenged the Citizenship Law in the Israeli High Court, as is the right of all Israeli citizens irrespective of ethnicity.

Are these indicators of Israeli “apartheid”?

Ha’aretz explains the current situation:

The Citizenship Law is temporary legislation that only allows reunification in Israel of Palestinians with an Israeli spouse if it involves a Palestinian husband who is at least 36 years of age or if it involves a Palestinian wife who is at least 26.

The decision to refuse to allow couples to live together in Israel was initially taken by the government in May 2002. The Knesset affirmed the policy the following year and has since extended its initial expiration date twice. The extensions came despite petitions filed in the High Court of Justice challenging the provision.

Israel generally grants citizenship to spouses of Israelis in a gradual process. In the spirit of this process, a similar process was established for the naturalization of spouses of permanent residents, though the process is a little longer. A 2002 temporary order excluded Palestinian spouses from these processes and barred them from becoming Israeli citizens.

The Australian paints these restrictions as grounded in racism rather than security concerns. Even without such security issues (the Citizenship Law was passed during a period of sustained Palestinian terrorism), every sovereign state has the right to impose its own immigration and citizenship regulations.

Which is all the more hypocritical considering that Australia exercises stringent restrictions on immigration and citizenship. Indeed, there is nowhere in the world that exercises open and unfettered immigration policies.

More evidence of Lyons’ lazy journalism appears in this charge:

Israel does not allow Palestinians living in Jerusalem to vote in national elections, and if they leave Jerusalem for three years they lose their residency.

This statement is simply false. Palestinians living in Jerusalem have the right to become Israeli citizens and therefore to vote in national elections (they already have the right to vote in municipal elections). Most have chosen not to exercise this right. Israel does not prevent them from doing so.

John Lyons’ story is a shoddy, one-sided and inaccurate piece of journalism. Changing the original and offensive headline is not enough. Send your considered comments to The Australian – letters@theaustralian.com.au

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Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, flickr/pareeerica.

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