Saudi Arabia slams new Israeli law, says it ‘perpetuates racial discrimination’

The law which was adopted by Israel's parliament on Thursday defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest. It also downgrades Arabic from an official language to one with special status.

Days after Israeli government announced a legislation defining the nation as the state of Jewish people, Saudi Arabia on Saturday slammed the law terming it as ‘perpetuating racial discrimination’ against Palestinians, news agency AFP reported. The law which was adopted by Israel’s parliament on Thursday defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest. It also downgrades Arabic from an official language to one with special status.

A report in AFP stated that the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Friday night released a statement saying that the kingdom “rejects and disapproves” of the new legislation, adding it contradicts international law. A Saudi foreign ministry official has called on the international community to “confront such a law and or other Israeli attempts, aimed at perpetuating racial discrimination against the Palestinian people”, SPA reported. The Gulf nation said adoption of such law will act as a hurdle in ending the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier in April during an interview said that Israelis, as well as Palestinians “, have the right to have their own land”. Even after accounting for some 17.5 per cent of Israel’s more than eight million population, Arab citizens have long complained of discrimination.

The law was also condemned by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, comprised of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Commenting on the law, GCC secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani said that it “reflected the regime of racism and discrimination against the Palestinian people.” He also accused Israel of trying to obliterate the Palestinians’ “national identity and depriving them of their legitimate civil and human rights on their occupied homeland”.

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