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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • South Sudan treason charges dropped April 24, 2014
      South Sudan withdraws charges against four top politicians accused of the alleged coup plot that triggered the civil war.
    • Kenyan officials wrangle over status April 24, 2014
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    • Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi April 23, 2014
      Four people, two of them police, are killed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by a car bomb outside a police station.
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    • Bomb 'kills senior Egypt policeman' April 23, 2014
      A senior Egyptian police officer has been killed by a bomb blast in the capital, Cairo, officials say.
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      South Africa's public broadcaster says it refused to broadcast an advert from the controversial politician Julius Malema, saying it incited violence.
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      Islamist militants in Mali say French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, who was kidnapped in 2012, is dead.
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      A Jewish lawyer in Morocco challenges the political establishment by asking to join the ruling Islamist PJD party, it is reported.
    • VIDEO: Teacher tells of Boko Haram attack April 24, 2014
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    • VIDEO: Film features plight of African park April 24, 2014
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    • VIDEO: Ethiopia's Jewish community divided April 24, 2014
      Thousands of Ethiopian Jews have been left disappointed by an Israeli government decision to end a 30-year-old programme that saw tens thousands of Ethiopian Jews airlifted to the Holy Land.
    • VIDEO: Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi April 24, 2014
      A car bomb has exploded outside a police station in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, killing four people.
    • VIDEO: Horror of S Sudan massacre filmed April 23, 2014
      The White House has strongly condemned the massacre of civilians in South Sudan calling it a betrayal of the people by their leaders.
    • VIDEO: Grim journey through 'new Rwanda' April 22, 2014
      The United Nations says the on-going conflict in South Sudan has a disturbing echo of events in Rwanda 20 years ago.
  • RSS BBC News – Home

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      Mortgage applicants will face tougher questions about their lifestyle from lenders, under new rules about to come into force.
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      The US accuses Russia of "deception and destabilisation" in eastern Ukraine, warning of further sanctions unless Moscow defuses the crisis.
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    • Tech giants settle hiring court case April 25, 2014
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    • Terrorism financing suspect arrested April 24, 2014
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    • Coalition Church 'split' and AGM 'anger' - papers April 25, 2014
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      A young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
    • Ramires to miss rest of league season April 24, 2014
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    • Champion O'Sullivan trails Perry April 24, 2014
      Ronnie O'Sullivan trails Joe Perry 5-3 after the first session of their second-round match at the World Snooker Championship.
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  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • Arkansas judge strikes down voter ID law as unconstitutional April 25, 2014
      LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - An Arkansas judge declared the state's new voter identification law unconstitutional on Thursday since it stipulates that voters must meet an additional requirement before casting a ballot.
    • Exclusive: Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push - sources April 25, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said.
    • Colorado lawmakers advance bill to crack down on 'revenge porn' April 25, 2014
      DENVER (Reuters) - A bill that would criminalize the posting of intimate images over the Internet as an act of humiliation - so-called "revenge porn" - passed its first test in the Colorado state legislature on Thursday, sailing unanimously through a key committee.
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      SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A bill banning the sale of single-shot handguns that can be modified into semi-automatic weapons advanced in the California legislature on Thursday as lawmakers sought to close what the bill's supporters say is a loophole in the state's gun safety laws.
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      NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee will vote next week on three nominees to the Federal Reserve's board, including Stanley Fischer for vice chairman, in a big step toward bulking up the U.S. central bank's depleted ranks.
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      DENVER (Reuters) - A conservative advocacy group has pulled a photograph used in an attack ad against Democratic Senator Mark Udall that depicted him with a grim-faced President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Colorado theater massacre, after victims' families complained.
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      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to back a bill to wind down government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to sources familiar with talks on the legislation.
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  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
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inequalities facing Arabs

Posted by African Press International on March 25, 2012

ISRAEL: Address inequalities facing Arabs, says ICG

Graffiti in the Ajame neighbourhood of Jaffa, Israel, where currently about 500 Palestinian families face eviction orders

TEL AVIV,  – Urgent steps should be taken to address the widespread marginalization of Arab minorities in Israel, including Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem, to improve their livelihoods and encourage sustainable peace in the Middle East, says the International Crisis Group (ICG).

“Palestinian citizens [of Israel] are politically marginalized, economically underprivileged, ever more unwilling to accept systemic inequality and ever more willing to confront the status quo”, the think-tank said in a new report, entitled Back to Basics: Israel’s Arab Minority and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

As of 2011, there were about 1.5 million Arabs in Israel, comprising about 20 percent of the population of around 7.7 million. These figures include the 285,000 Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, most of whom do not hold Israeli citizenship but have permanent residency.

But inequalities between Arabs and Jews in Israel span many fields of public life, and are enshrined in parts of the legal system and government practices.

According to the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), about 30 Israeli laws discriminate directly against Arab citizens. One of them, for instance, is the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who are married to Israeli citizens from acquiring Israeli residency.

In other areas of governance and government practices, discrimination happens less overtly, but nevertheless affects people severely.

“I am not a squatter”

One of the places where Arabs feel marginalized as a result of official housing policies is Jaffa, Tel Aviv. Here, about 40 percent of the Palestinian population live in so called “absentee ownership” properties, designating formerly Palestinian properties taken over by the Israeli state after the 1948 war, after its Palestinian residents had fled, or were expelled.

Currently about 500 of the 2,000 “absentee-property” homes inhabited by Palestinians in Jaffa face eviction orders, because they are considered “squatters” by the Israel Land Administration, the government body in charge of administering national land, which also oversees “absentee property”.

“If the government destroys my house in April as scheduled, I will build it up again, and even build another one beside,” Esther Saba, who lives on social welfare with her husband and three children in a small house in Jaffa, told IRIN.

''In Palestinian Jaffa, the poorest people live on the most expensive piece of soil in the country. Even if I have a doghouse close to the sea, the value of it comes from what you can build once you demolish the doghouse.''

“In Palestinian Jaffa, the poorest people live on the most expensive piece of soil in the country,” Judith Ilani from Jaffa’s Popular Housing Committee, told IRIN, adding: “Even if I have a doghouse close to the sea, the value of it comes from what you can build once you demolish the doghouse.”

Many among Jaffa’s Palestinian community expressed certainty that they would never be evicted from their homes if they were Jewish. “If I was Jewish, no one would have let me live without electricity in this shack for five years. I am not a squatter,” Esther Saba said.

Indeed, many observers of the situation in Jaffa have pointed out that as part of a wider gentrification process, poor Palestinian residents are being pushed out in order to make space for wealthier newcomers.

Restricted access to land

For most Arabs in Israel, access to land and the continuing Israeli measures to expel them from their homes are highly emotional topics. In this regard, ICG cautiously warns about the potential for escalation.

“In addition to restrictions on Muslim access to holy sites, especially in Jerusalem, discriminatory policies regarding land and housing have potential of sparking localized violence in the future, if the grievances are not addressed,” Ofer Zalzberg, senior analyst with ICG in Jerusalem, told IRIN.

About 93 percent of Israel’s land is nationalized, and much of it is allocated explicitly for Jewish communities. And while Arab citizens constitute 20 percent of the population, only about 3.5 percent of Israel’s land is owned by them.

The potential for conflict over land issues is particularly high in the Israeli Negev desert, where Bedouin communities have been struggling over land rights for years now, Zalzberg said, adding: “Jewish-Arab tensions within Israel are growing and may dangerously flare up.”

To many Arab citizens of Israel, questions of identity, self-definition and education lie at the heart of their perceived marginalization within a Jewish-dominated, Israeli state.

Teaching one’s own history

“Discrimination against Arab schools happens on three levels,” Yousef Jabareen, head of Dirasat, a policy think-tank for the Palestinian minority, told IRIN. “The first one is allocation of resources. Secondly, Palestinian-Arab identity is not recognized by the education system. And thirdly, there are simply no Arab educators inside the decision-making processes.”

Palestinian Arab schoolchildren make up about 25 percent of the country’s school students, or around 480,000 pupils. “We expect the Ministry of Education to allocate the same share of 25 percent to Arab education. Not three times less,” Jabareen said, adding: “We are currently facing a lack of about 6,000 classrooms in the Arab sector.”

In addition to a lack of classrooms, the drop-out rate among Arab pupils is two times higher than among Jewish students. Only 30 percent of Arabs who take the national matriculation exam needed to enter university also qualify, as compared to 75 percent of Jewish youths.

To Arab educators in Israel, an end to marginalization essentially means the permission to teach one’s history.

“One of the most important demands is that the [Israeli] Education Ministry allow Arab students to study their own history – to learn about the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, about Palestinian protests, and about their own poetry and literature,” Jabareen said.

“Finding solutions to national identity issues will be necessary for reaching full reconciliation. Otherwise Palestinian Arabs will continue to feel marginalized, unable to feel that they belong, even if socio-economic equality is addressed,” Zalzberg said.

The ICG suggests changes in three stages. First, the Israeli state and its Arab citizens should try to lower tensions, while socio-economic inequalities should be reduced. In a second step, essential questions over the nature of the Arab minority and its status in Israel should be addressed through inter-communal dialogue.

But a grand bargain over rights between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities is unlikely to happen, unless it is integrated into a wider Israeli-Palestinian peace process towards a two-state solution, the ICG report suggests: “Under one possible option, Palestinians would recognise Jews as Israel’s national majority with a right to self-determination, while the state would officially recognise Palestinian citizens as a national minority with equal individual as well as specific collective rights.”

ha/eo/cb
source www.irinnews.org

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