Israeli-Arab lawmaker resigns over Jewish nation bill

Arab Israeli Zouheir Bahloul resigned on July 28, 2018 and branded the parliament “racist” after it passed a controversial new law which declares Israel the nation state of the Jewish people. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Updated 29 July 2018

Israeli-Arab lawmaker resigns over Jewish nation bill

  • Zuhair Bahloul says he can no longer serve in a country that officially marginalizes the Arab minority he represents
  • Bahloul, a former popular sports broadcaster, is regarded as a symbol of Jewish and Arab coexistence

JERUSALEM: An Israeli Arab lawmaker says he is resigning from parliament for “ideological reasons” to protest the recent passage of a controversial law enshrining the state’s Jewish character.
Labor lawmaker Zuhair Bahloul says Sunday he can no longer serve in a country that officially marginalizes the 20 percent Arab minority he represents.
Bahloul, a former popular sports broadcaster, is regarded as a symbol of Jewish and Arab coexistence.
His departure marks further fallout from the explosive bill, which has also seen strong opposition from a Druze minority that serves in the military and feels slighted by the legislation.
Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence defined its nature as a Jewish and democratic state. The government says the bill merely enshrines the country’s existing character but critics say it undercuts its democratic values.


Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”