Abbas vows to appeal Israel's nation-state law at UN

Palestinian president vows to appeal Israel's nation-state law at UN
2 min read
19 August, 2018
Several clauses contained in the controversial law that passed last month have drawn international concern.
The law implies that Israel's Jewish nature takes precedence over equality and democracy [Getty]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Saturday to appeal Israel's controversial Jewish nation-state law at the UN.

Abbas' comments, made in a televised program, come amid growing concern and protests against Israel's nation-state law. Several clauses contained in the controversial law that passed last month are sources of concern, especially since the text is part of Israel's so-called basic laws - a de facto constitution.

It makes no mention of equality or democracy, implying that Israel's Jewish nature takes precedence - something for which Israel's far-right religious nationalist politicians have long advocated.

One section refers to Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and says they have a "unique" right to self-determination there.

Others define the establishment of Jewish communities as in the national interest and make Hebrew the sole official language, downgrading Arabic to special status.

Abbas repeated sentiments rejecting the US as a mediator for the Palestine-Israel peace talks, adding that he will not meet with the US until it reverses its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump broke with decades of US policy last year by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and later moving the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

In more pointed terms, Abbas added that should the US insist on its position, the Oslo Accords would not continue.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the move has caused widespread anger in the region and garnered international condemnation.

Abbas said the United States had disqualified itself as a mediator with that move, urging the UN to step in. "We will no longer accept that it has a role in the political process," he said at the time.

"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine, and is not for sale for gold or billions", said Abbas' office, with other senior officials saying they will not be "blackmailed" by Trump's threat of aid cuts.