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Israeli Arabs torn over judicial reforms protest movement

At a recent march for Land Day, Jameel Saed denounced the nationwide protests against controversial judicial reform plans that have convulsed Israel since the start of the year.

"I didn't participate in any and I'm not going to. I don't think that many Palestinians did," said the student from the Arab city of Nazareth, in northern Israel.

"The Israeli protests are calling to get the status quo back - to 'claim back democracy'. But we don't think that it was anything but tyranny and apartheid.

"This is not something that we want."

Jameel is one of Israel's approximately two million Israeli Arabs. Israeli Arabs are Palestinians and their descendants who remained in the land which became Israel in 1948. They comprise about 20% of Israel's population. While they are officially citizens of Israel, many - estimates and polls vary - self-identify as Palestinians.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been on Israel's streets weekly. They have been demonstrating against the right-wing government's proposed reforms that would radically increase its control of Supreme Court appointments and decisions.

In the face of the uproar in Israel's towns and cities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition has now put the reforms on hold at least until the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, returns from recess on 30 April.


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