Friday, March 28, 2008

When Israel was established in 1948, most of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants were driven out or fled from the area that became Israel. Approximately 150,000 Palestinians remained behind. Until 1966, these Palestinians lived under martial law. Today, having increased in number to approximately 1.3 million or about one fifth of Israel's population (not including the Palestinian population of Occupied East Jerusalem), they are citizens of the State of Israel and can vote in elections for the Knesset. Despite this, most view themselves as second-class citizens. As indigenous non-Jews in a self-described Jewish state, they face a host of systematic social, legal, economic and educational barriers to equality. Israel lacks a constitution and has no other basic law guaranteeing equal rights to all citizens regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin.
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