Middle EastPalestine

Hundreds of Israelis protest controversial draft bill


Hundreds of leftwing Israelis have gathered on the streets of al-Quds (Jerusalem) protesting a controversial bill defining Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Saturday night’s protest was organized by Israel’s Peace Now settlement watchdog and was held in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.

Peace now said the protest was “an opportunity to let the democratic camp’s voice be heard against the draft law,” which embodies “nationalism, racism and aggression.”

According to Netanyahu, the draft would bring balance to Israel’s Jewish and democratic characteristics.

The bill’s critics say it will institutionalize discrimination against minorities such as Arabs and will endanger democracy.

Police say some 800 people took part in the demonstration, some of whom were carrying signs reading the right-wing nation-state law is democracy for Jews only.

On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet voted in favor of the controversial motion in another sign of increasing efforts to Judaize the occupied Palestinian territories.

The new development is seen as an extension of Israel’s efforts over the past decades to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds (Jerusalem) by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.

Palestinians argue that al-Quds is the capital of a future Palestinian independent state, and that its heritage should remain intact.

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