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The Israeli Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee approved a proposal on Feb. 29 that, if passed, would allow a vote by 90 out of 120 members of the Knesset (MKs) to suspend a serving MK from their post indefinitely.Earlier this month, the Knesset's Ethics Committee suspended three Arab MKs for periods of two to four months as punishment for meeting with families of alleged Palestinian terrorists shot dead after killing Israeli civilians.This month's suspension of three Arab MKs and the proposal to grant MKs the power to indefinitely suspend other elected representatives appear to be yet another step in an ongoing agenda to further marginalize and limit the right of the Arab minority in Israel to political representation.The threshold for outlawing an Arab association is blatantly much lower than the one for Jewish organizations.Issa subsequently backtracked on his refusal. Again, while the language of such laws and policies has addressed all Israeli citizens, in effect they disproportionately affect Arab citizens. With the government's growing intolerance toward dissent, some Jewish civil society organizations have also faced attacks or restrictions (although not as severe as Arab organizations such as the Islamic Movement).The Israeli government's targeting of the civil and political rights of Arab citizens should raise alarm not only because it attacks a minority population, but also because of its implications for the viability of democratic opposition in Israel.
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