The recently passed Jewish Nation-State Law lays the constitutional cornerstone of Israel’s attitude and behavior toward the Palestinians, both those who remained after the 1948 War — the Nakba — where they had been living before the creation of Israel and became Israeli citizens, and those living in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (OPT). Although the law in its entirety is anti-Arab, anti-democratic and discriminatory against Arabs and their culture, there are two elements in that law that affect critical aspects of the relations between Palestinian Arabs and Jews.
Denying the Palestinians’ Right of Self-Determination
The first element is the fact that the law denies the Palestinians the right of self-determination by determining that this right is exclusive to the Jewish people. This denial applies both to the Palestinian citizens of Israel (national minority) and the Palestinians in the OPT. Consequently, this law unifies the Palestinians on both sides of the blurred Green Line by denying them the right of self-determination by the state that governs them or has full control over their lives.
The second element is the establishment of the Jewish settlements and settlement activities in the OPT as a priority value and a top national interest of the Jewish nation-state. This principle does not distinguish between building inside Israel within the 1949 Armistice treaty know as the 4th of June 1967 lines or in the occupied territories. The law considers all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as the Land of Israel and determines that settlement activities in this land are a national value. As such it unifies the historical land of Palestine/Land of Israel from the river to the sea.
As a result , the Israeli policy of blurring the Green Line and its actions to this end have unified geographic Palestine, which was divided as a result of the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan and the creation of the state of Israel on part of it as a result of the 1948 War.
Israel Has Unified the Palestinian People
The new reality is that Israel has unified the Palestinian people under its control inside Israel with their brothers in the OPT, unified their land and placed them on the same level as one people struggling for self-determination, freedom and democracy in the land which they consider as their homeland. All of this stems from the Israeli right refusal to recognize the existence of non-Jews and its goal of annexing the OPT without its people. This is reminiscent of what happened in June 1967, when Israel annexed East Jerusalem and decided unilaterally that all its inhabitants are Jordanian tourists who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time of the 1967 war and granted them a resident visa in accordance with the Law of Entry to Israel. The same is happening now in regard to the Palestinians in the OPT, where Israel is taking steps to annex their land without annexing the people who live there in order to maintain its dominant Jewish demography and control.
The outcome of this situation is that Palestinians in the OPT have no choice but to join the struggle with their national brothers inside Israel who, as a result of the Jewish Nation-State Law, suddenly find themselves with no state that accepts them to identify themselves with. This law takes the conflict back to its origins before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, making it once again a conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine/ Land of Israel, though not necessarily using the same methods of struggle.
The armed struggle is not on the national agenda of the Palestinians in the OPT, and the Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship and represent 20% of the Israeli population will not opt for armed struggle against their own state, even if that state denies them their rights and they cannot identify with its defined political, national, religious or social identities.
A Joint Arab-Jewish Struggle Is the Key
Therefore, the assumption is that the struggle will be for equality between Arabs and Jews living under the control of the Jewish state of Israel. In this struggle, the Arabs will not be alone. There are many Jews who oppose discrimination against Arabs and are afraid of their state becoming an apartheid state. We saw these Jews in Tel Aviv demonstrating together with the Arabs against the Jewish Nation-State Law, and there is no doubt that many of them will join the struggle for equality and democracy. The stronger the fascist spirit becomes, the stronger the opposition to it will grow. We should recall the joint struggle of blacks and whites in South Africa against their apartheid regime and expect to see this alliance here. Arabs, whether citizens of Israel or the OPT, must understand that their struggle is not against the Jews, all Jews, but against fanatic, fascist extremists who deny the Arabs their right of self-determination and their right to live in peace and dignity. The joint Arab-Jewish struggle should be the essence of the future struggle which will lead all to a democratic state of all its citizens — citizens who identify with the state and who want to live as equal citizens without any discrimination based upon race or religion.
The fascist legislative trend in the current Knesset, which is considered the most-right-wing Knesset Israel has ever had, aims to guarantee the existence of Israel as a Jewish-superior state but, ironically, it will achieve just the opposite, ultimately leading to the end of the Zionist dream and to the creation of a bi-national or multinational state — a state of all its citizens.