Egypt rejects Israeli nation-state law on 'racial segregation'

Egypt rejects Israeli nation-state law on 'racial segregation'
Egypt, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, says the law "undermines the chances of achieving peace" with Palestinians.
2 min read
22 July, 2018
Israel's nation-state law has been criticised as "legalising apartheid" [Getty]
Egypt on Saturday rejected a controversial law adopted by the Israeli parliament that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people, warning that it undermines peace efforts.

It "consolidates the notion of occupation and racial segregation, and undermines the chances of achieving peace and reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian issue", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli law adopted on Thursday defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest and downgrades Arabic from an official language to one with "special status".

Read more: Enshrining apartheid: Israel's fig leaf democracy officially dies

Arab citizens account for some 17.5 percent of Israel's more than eight-million population and have long complained of discrimination.

The Israeli legislation was also condemned by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, comprised of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Rights group Amnesty International has also criticised the legislation, saying it "entrenched and exacerbated 70 years of inequality and discrimination against non-Jews".

Egypt alongside Jordan is the only other Arab country that has a peace treaty and significant economic ties with Israel. 

There have long been suggestions of behind-the-scenes military and intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel, although officials from both countries rarely comment publicly on them.

Israel's nation-state law [click to enlarge]