Will Palestinian Israelis renounce their citizenship?

This Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 photo shows election campaign poster of Heba Yazbak, a newly elected Balad party Israeli Arab lawmaker at the market in Nazareth, northern Israel. (AP)

A Palestinian woman named Huda Naccache was recently selected to be Israel’s representative to the Miss Earth beauty pageant in the Philippines. Huda stated that she participated in the pageant to cast light upon her Arab-Israeli community.

I looked at Huda’s photos and read her words, and I must admit that she has both the looks and the brains.

Some people attacked Huda for representing Israel, but this is such a frivolous attack for two reasons. First, Palestinians represent at least 22 percent of Israel’s citizens, and this share is expected to increase to 50 percent within the next five decades due to their high fertility rate.

Second, before Huda, when poet Mahmoud Darwish was living in Israel and holding an Israeli passport in the sixties, he was part of the Israeli delegation to the Youth Festival of Socialist Countries (World Festival of Youth and Students) in Moscow in the Soviet Union, as a member of the Israeli Communist Party.

A young Palestinian girl blows soap bubbles near the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city on the first day of Eid al-Adha on August 21, 2018. (AFP)

A young Palestinian girl blows soap bubbles near the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city on the first day of Eid al-Adha on August 21, 2018. (AFP)

It is out of the question for Palestinians who live in Israel to renounce their Israeli citizenship, just like Indian Muslims categorically refuse to renounce their Indian citizenship to hold that of the Muslim country of Pakistan, for reasons pertaining to living conditions, practicality, rights, democracy, and even the future.

Many Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship engage in professional life there, and there is no shame in that. They are employees, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and artists. Many Palestinian men and women are even unabashedly and winningly involved in public security and the army in the Israeli territories or on the borders. They even take an oath upon graduation from security and army colleges and salute the Israeli flag.

Furthermore, many Palestinians hold key positions in Israel as ministers, ambassadors, and deputies. Palestinian youth of both genders play in different sports clubs and represent Israel in international competitions. For instance, the Israeli football team includes a large number of Palestinian players.

(L to R) Ayman Odeh, Israeli Arab politician and head of the Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) party which is part of the Joint List electoral alliance, Arab Movement for Change (Taal) party's leader and candidate Ahmad Tibi, Hadash member and candidate Aida Touma, Balad (National Democratic Alliance) party member and candidate Mtanes Shehadeh, Hadash's Jewish member and candidate Ofer Cassif, and Balad member and candidate Heba Yazbak stand before supporters at the Joint List's campaign headquarters in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth on September 17, 2019, as the first exit polls are announced on television. (AFP)

(L to R) Ayman Odeh, Israeli Arab politician and head of the Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) party which is part of the Joint List electoral alliance, Arab Movement for Change (Taal) party's leader and candidate Ahmad Tibi, Hadash member and candidate Aida Touma, Balad (National Democratic Alliance) party member and candidate Mtanes Shehadeh, Hadash's Jewish member and candidate Ofer Cassif, and Balad member and candidate Heba Yazbak stand before supporters at the Joint List's campaign headquarters in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth on September 17, 2019, as the first exit polls are announced on television. (AFP)

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Another example is Dia Saba, a pure Palestinian who used to be part of the Israeli national football team. He currently plays for UAE Pro League club Al-Nasr and will represent it in the Gulf League. Saba was the 2017-2018 Israeli Premier League top scorer and he had moved to the Israeli Hapoel Be’er Sheva F.C. for 2.5 million euros.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi Arabian outlet Asharq al-Awsat.

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Last Update: Sunday, 22 November 2020 KSA 20:50 - GMT 17:50
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