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While much of the focus on I/P debates has been Israel's policy in Palestine, the present government's mistreatment of its Arab minorities within its borders also amounts to massive violations of International Law. One may ask why I post about Israel on an American blog. The answer is that as long as we send military aid to Israel and as long as we don't tie it to improved performance in human rights, Israel's behavior is not going to change. That is just like rewarding a kid for bad behavior or a referee refusing to call fouls in basketball because boys will be boys.

A new report by the Arab Center of Law & Policy highlights the discriminatory nature of Israel's housing policies within its own land. Bibi is touting his housing reforms, yet he has made no provision whatsoever to end the massive institutionalized discrimination against its Arab minorities or curtailed out of control bureaucracies which make excuse after excuse for stopping housing projects.

It is a real-life catch 22 in many cases. For instance, in the article, a certain building committee suspended construction plans in 26 different northern Arab communities, citing inadequate sewage. Yet the same government refuses to provide these communities the resources they need in order to meet these standards.

This refusal to provide adequate housing for its minority populations is a violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. As stated by this convention:

Convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere,

Reaffirming that discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin is an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and is capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples and the harmony of persons living side by side even within one and the same State,

Among the articles violated are as follows:
Article 1(1):
1. In this Convention, the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
Based on the article, Israel has engaged in, and continues to engage in, distinctions and restrictions against its Arab minorities with regards to housing as well as preferential treatment for its Jewish population, denying its Arab minorities an equal footing in its economy.

Article 2(1):

1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end: (a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;
Israel has failed to meet its international obligation to end discrimination without delay seeing that this is a problem that has persisted for decades.

Article 5:

(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections-to vote and to stand for election-on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;
(d) Other civil rights, in particular:
(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
By refusing to allow its Arab minorities to own property through discriminatory laws and policies, Israel is in violation of Article 5.
(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:  
(iii) The right to housing;
Through its discriminatory policies against its Arab minorities, Israel is depriving them of their right to housing.

Article 6:

States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination.
Israel has failed to provide its Arab minorities with effective recourse against the discriminatory actions mentioned above.

Israel's actions are also in violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Article 11:

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.
Israel's failure to take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of its Arab minorities' right to adequate housing constitutes a violation.

Israel is also in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We could mention numerous other violations by the Israeli government. Israel was formed as a result of international law. Therefore, Israel has an obligation to live by the very laws that brought it into existence as a nation. The fact that they are doing otherwise is turning them into a rogue state.

Much is made of the so-called "special relationship" between this country and Israel. But the fact of the matter is that we have basic philosophical differences. We are making progress in our fight against discrimination; Israel is not. We support a diplomatic solution with Iran; Israel would attack them and turn the Middle East into a major nightmare. We allow our Native Americans to participate in our political process; Israel does not allow their Palestinians to participate in theirs or respect their wishes for independence. In light of the major fundamental differences that the US and Israel have, the Obama administration needs to reevaluate our unthinking military support for this regime.

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