The European Union on Thursday said it was concerned about Israel's new Nationality Law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self determination, and said it would complicate a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The Knesset passed the Nationality Law earlier on Thursday after months of political argument. It was sharply criticized by the country’s Arab minority, who called it racist and verging on apartheid.
“We are concerned, we have expressed this concern and we will continue to engage with Israeli authorities in this context,” a spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini told a news briefing.
“We’ve been very clear when it comes to the two-state solution, we believe it is the only way forward and any step that would further complicate or prevent this solution of becoming a reality should be avoided,” she said.
Turkey also came out against the legislation, denouncing it as racist and accusing Israel of trying to form "an apartheid state."
A spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan called on the international community "to react to this injustice happening in front of the entire world's eyes."
Turkey and Israel have long been at loggerheads over Israel's policy towards the Palestinians and Jerusalem's status. Erdogan has called for a summit of Muslim leaders twice in the past six months after US President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Condemning the law, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin criticized what he called "this racist move that amounts to erasing the Palestinian people from their homeland physically and legally."
In a series of tweets, Kalin also repeated Ankara's long-standing objections to the construction of Jewish settlements on what he said was "occupied" territory. "We reject the Israeli government's efforts to form an apartheid state," he said.
Turkey's foreign ministry also criticiszd the law. "Identifying the right to self-determination as a right given only to Jews is the result of an outdated and discriminatory mentality," it said in a statement.
This law "tramples on the principles of universal law and disregards the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel," the Turkish foreign ministry added.
The largely symbolic law 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 strips Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.
Israel’s Arabs number some 1.8 million, about 20 percent of the 9 million population.
The two-state solution envisaged under an international peace framework, in which Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank would gain their own state, is already looking like a dim prospect.
Peace talks have been stalemated for several years and Israeli settlements in the disputed lands have expanded, despite condemnation from the EU and other bodies.