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Saturday March 17, 2012 1:04 PM (EST+7)
UN committee to slam discrimination in Israel

Read more: CERD, United Nations, discrimination, settlements, Ethiopian Jews, land, property, law, legislation

RAMALLAH, March 17 (JMCC) - A United Nations committee that monitors racial discrimination is set to release a report slamming Israeli policies.

In an advance version of the document reported on by the Electronic Intifada, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination responds to a submission by Israel. It criticizes Israel's construction of settlements as illegal and discriminatory, but goes on to also address conditions inside Israel, particularly the existence of Jewish and non-Jewish sectors. According to the Electronic Intifada:

CERD has expressed particular concern about the segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities in Israel. For example, there are two separate systems of education — one in Hebrew and one in Arabic — and two separate systems of local government — for Jewish municipalities and “municipalities of the minorities.”

The committee underscored its unease at allegations of ongoing discrimination against Ethiopian Jews (also known as Falashas) in Israel. More than 50 percent of Ethiopian Jewish families in Israel live below the poverty line, while the corresponding figure for white Jewish Israel families is 16 percent. Ethiopian Jews encounter a range of problems in Israel such as frequent verbal abuse of a racist nature and being restricted to low-paid jobs (“The tribulations of being an Ethiopian Jew,” IRIN, 9 February 2012).

Noting that Israel denies Palestinians (including Bedouins) equal access to land and property through a number of discriminatory laws on land issues, CERD “strongly recommends” that Israel revokes any legislation that does not comply with the principle of non-discrimination. The same applies to laws and bills that would make social and economic benefits dependent on completion of military service.







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