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Musings From Abroad

‘Apatheid’ brews in Isreal over new ‘Jewish nation-state’ law

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Israel’s parliament on Thursday adopted a law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it will lead to blatant discrimination against its Palestinian citizens.

The legislation, adopted by 62 votes to 55, makes Hebrew the country’s national language and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest.

The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.

It stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. It also states that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

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“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote.

Palestinian members of the Knesset have condemned the bill.

“It has passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens,” Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab Joint List – an alliance of four predominantly Arab parties – said in a statement following the law’s passage.

Ahmed Tibi, one of the lawmakers, said: “I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy.”

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Musings From Abroad

US bans four former Malawian officials over bribery

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The United States State Department said on Wednesday that four former government officials from Malawi were not allowed to come to the US because they were involved in major crime.

“The United States stands with Malawians working towards a more just and prosperous nation by promoting accountability for corrupt officials, including advocating for transparency and integrity in government procurement processes,” department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

The people named are Reyneck Matemba, who used to be solicitor general and secretary of justice, John Suzi-Banda, who used to be director of public procurement and disposal of assets, Mwabi Kaluba, who used to be an attorney for the Malawi Police Service, and George Kainja, who used to be inspector general of the Malawi Police Service.

The State Department said that the four “abused their public positions by accepting bribes and other articles of value” from a private businessperson in exchange for a grant to work on government policy.

In the past few years, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has been fighting crime hard. In January 2022, he got rid of the whole Cabinet because three ministers were being accused of corruption.

Later that same year, Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau caught and charged Saulos Klaus Chilima, the vice president of the country, with graft. According to the group, public officers in Malawi stole money from the government by trying to change how contracts were awarded through the country’s public procurement system.

A lot of people in Malawi live on less than $2 a day, making it one of the most fragile places in the world. The population density puts it in the top 10 in Africa, even though it is a small country.

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Musings From Abroad

Again, British parliament’s upper house frustrates Rwanda migrant plan

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Rishi Sunak’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda have suffered another setback as it has been rejected again by Britain’s upper house of parliament.

The parliament suggested changes that would delay the policy, but not stop it. The prime minister hopes that this will help his party’s chances in the next election.

Ahead of general elections later this year, Sunak has put a lot of political capital into the Rwanda plan, saying that it will help him keep his promise to stop thousands of people from coming to Britain illegally in small boats.

The House of Lords, which is Britain’s unelected upper house, tried to change the new laws a third time after Monday when the House of Commons turned down its second set of plans. But the move probably won’t stop the bill from being approved this week, which means it will become law.

Sunak wants to go to Rwanda as soon as possible, but the plan could still be thrown out of court. The House of Lords agreed with four ideas. One of them was an amendment to make sure the law follows international law.

The bill returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday as Conservative members are likely to vote against the changes that are being suggested. If that didn’t happen, the upper house might decide it wasn’t possible to get elected lawmakers to make any changes and pass it.

Asylum seekers who come to Britain illegally will be sent back to their home country. This is because of a policy made two years ago that aims to stop dangerous Channel crossings in small boats and end the business model of people smugglers.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stopped the first planned removal flight in June 2022. Last year, the UK Supreme Court said the plan was illegal.

Sunak’s new law, which doesn’t follow some existing human rights laws, is meant to go against the Supreme Court’s decision by saying that British courts should treat Rwanda as a safe place to visit and that people can only appeal in very rare cases.

Nowadays, Europe is worried about people coming in illegally from Africa and the Middle East. In June 2023, a record 45,000 people had flown across the English Channel in small boats.

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