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Family Values

by Open-Publishing - Sunday 25 July 2004

Wars and conflicts International Robert Thompson

by Robert Thompson

When the "State of Israel" was declared, those Palestinians who found themselves on the "Israeli" side of the famous Green Line were given a strange kind of second class Israeli citizenship, whereas those who were then in the West Bank were granted Jordanian citizenship and those in the Gaza Strip were taken in charge by Egypt.

This had the odd result of splitting families, depending purely on where they were at the time. A well-known example is that of the present Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was at the Seminary near to Bethlehem, while the rest of his family was still in his native Nazareth. He therefore can only travel with a Jordanian passport, while the others have Israeli passports.

Many other families and their former neighbours were separated in the same manner, but people still managed to maintain fairly close contacts. These contacts have over the years continued to give rise to marriages between those to whom chance had given these two very different nationalities.

Now the Israeli government has decreed that in every such marriage between an Arab who has Israeli citizenship with any other Palestinian Arab, the couple will no longer be allowed to live within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, but are restricted to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Understandably, despite their small number, the Arab Members of the Israeli Knesset, with the support of some other Members, have complained loudly against this measure. They describe it as being racist, since it only applies to Arabs whether they be Muslim or Christian, whereas any other person marrying an Israeli citizen can thereby gain entry to the land occupied by the State. Of course, I do not know how many in the U.S.A. know about this disgustingly unfair measure aimed at driving a further number of Arabs out of the land generally recognised as being Israeli.

It is amazing to me as a Christian that the present administration of the U.S.A., which still claims to base its actions on Christian values, should not have made clear its desire to uphold the bonds of marriage, to which it could have been expected to give its support.

I accordingly beg all decent folk in the U.S.A. to ask their politicians to protest in the strongest terms against this extremely nasty and unpleasant measure taken by the present Israeli government.