MIDDLE EAST

OIC calls for action on Israel’s ‘racist’ laws

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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday called for taking measures to launch an investigation into what it described as "racist" Israeli laws.

In a statement, OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen described Israel's Nation-State law as an attempt to "legitimize" policies of the Israeli occupation.

"These racist laws and practices practiced by Israel, the occupying power, will not legitimize its injustice, aggression and violations of the rights of the Palestinian people," he said.

"We affirm that just and lasting peace cannot be achieved until Israel ends its colonial occupation and the abolition of its racist laws and policies," he added.

The legislation, which was passed by the Knesset (Israel's parliament) in July, defines Israel as a Jewish state with a "united Jerusalem" as its capital. It has also promoted Hebrew as the only official language, stripping Arabic as an official language while recognizing its "special status".

The controversial law risks further alienating the Arab minority who argue they already face discrimination from Israeli Jews and the government and already feel as though they are second-class citizens.

Known as "Israeli Arabs", Palestinians of Israeli citizenship account for roughly 21 percent of Israel's population and have members serving in the Knesset.

Meanwhile, Israel's Druze population (roughly 140,000 people) and its Circassian minority (about 4,000 people) -- both of which serve in the Israeli army -- have described the law as a "stab in the back".

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