Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:42PM
Thousands of Arabs in Israel attend a demonstration to mark Land Day in the town of Arrabe, near the coastal city of Haifa on March 30, 2011.
European Union (EU) envoys in Israel have criticized Tel Aviv's maltreatment of Arabs living in Israel, a report on the human rights violations says.
"While the international community is focused predominantly on restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, we should see Israel's treatment of its minorities as a core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the confidential 27-page study obtained by AFP on Thursday said.
The report says Arabs living in Israel are worse off than non-Arabs in terms of income, education, housing and access to land.
A draft of the report dated November 2011 stated that Israel's “security policies” clearly target Arabs.
The EU often publishes reports on worsening human rights situation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but this is its first report on the 1.37 million Arabs that make up more than 20 percent of Israel's population.
The Arabs in Israel are the remainder, or descendants, of Palestinians who did not leave their land after “Israeli Declaration of Independence” in 1948, known as Yawm an-Nakbah, or day of the catastrophe among the Palestinians.
In 1948, the Tel Aviv regime forced 760,000 Palestinians out of their homeland to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab states as well as to many other countries in the world, and hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed.