BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
LANGUAGES
arabic
persian
pashto
turkish
french
Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 01:17 GMT 02:17 UK
UN blasts Israeli marriage law
Orthodox Jews
Supporters of the bill fear the loss of Israel's Jewish character
A United Nations panel has urged Israel to repeal a new law forcing Palestinians who marry Israelis to live separate lives.

The Geneva-based Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination unanimously approved a resolution saying the Israeli law violated an international human rights treaty.

However the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, accused the panel of bias.

On 31 July the Israeli parliament approved a law preventing Palestinians married to Israelis from gaining Israeli citizenship or residency.

[Israel] should reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification on a non-discriminatory basis
UN panel
Arabs make up about 20% of Israel's population of 6 million. About 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Many families were divided by the Middle East conflict, and over the years marriage between the two groups has been common.

Until recently, the Israeli interior minister had the final say on whether Palestinians who married Israelis could receive citizenship and make a home in the country.

Since 1993, more than 100,000 Palestinians have obtained Israeli permits in this way and some Israelis see this as a security threat.

Challenge

The UN committee - which monitors the 1966 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - condemned new law.

Israel views the Committee's initiative as being highly politicised
Israeli ambassador to the UN
"The State party (Israel) should revoke this ban and reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification on a non-discriminatory basis," it said.

However the Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Yaakov Levy, said the resolution showed "a biased approach which singles out Israel".

He added that the law was still under review by Israel's Supreme Court, after facing challenges by opponents.

"The domestic internal proceedings have not yet been exhausted," he said.




Israel and the Palestinians

KEY STORIES

FEATURES & ANALYSIS

Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
Palestinians adopt a new tactic to deter Israeli attacks, but this is a high-risk strategy

VIDEO AND AUDIO


PROFILES

 



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific