JERUSALEM (Jul. 31)
Mayor Shalom Wach of Kiryat Arba today declared as null and void the United Kiryat Arba List and Kach Party coalition agreement calling for the dismissal of Arab workers employed by the municipality, a call that has been denounced in Israel as tantamount to apartheid, since it was adopted two weeks ago.
Wach’s declaration came after Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir ruled that the agreement was illegal and that if the parties to the agreement did not accept his ruling the military authorities in Judaea and Samaria should intervene. Wach said his decision to accept Zamir’s ruling was on behalf of the municipality.
ZAMIR DENOUNCES THE AGREEMENT
Zamir denounced the agreement, saying: “The open racism (of the accord), without shame and cover, threatened the principle of equality before the law, threatened the entire judicial system, the social establishment, the democratic system and the cultural life in Israel. It would be a mistake to believe that the agreement only affected Arabs, as already the present coalition agreement threatened to harm those Jews who would have work relations with Arabs.”
In his legal opinion, which he submitted to Premier Shimon Peres, Zamir said the agreement was a clear and present danger and that the government must therefore deal with the issue openly and with deterrence.
According to Zamir’s ruling, the Kiryat Arba municipality is banned from dismissing Arab workers; the racist agreement is illegal and therefore null and void; the municipality cannot refuse granting contracts to local plants which employ Arabs; any racist activities by the local government will be countered by legal measures; and, if the municipality persists in implementing the agreement, the military authorities are empowered to step in.