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Apr 3, 2019

Why Gaza's March of Return Began on Land Day

Dear Friends,

Many greetings from Adalah. 

One year has passed since Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip launched the Great March of Return protests, which continue to be held every Friday along the fence with Israel.

As you well know, most discussions around the protests focus on the Israeli military’s brutal response to the demonstrations, and the impunity with which Israeli snipers use live fire to intentionally kill or wound Palestinian protestors, without fear of consequences.

As Adalah and our partners have found – and as the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests has confirmed – these actions violate international law, and yet Israeli authorities have proven to be unwilling to properly investigate or punish the perpetrators for their crimes.

However, it is also crucial to remember why Palestinians in Gaza launched the march in the first place: to end the siege on Gaza and to reclaim their right to return to their homeland.

This is why the demonstrations began on 30 March – Land Day – which marks Palestinians' resistance to the state’s expropriation of mass tracts of their land in the Galilee in 1976. In these Land Day protests decades earlier, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel, engaged in a struggle for their land rights, were killed by police.

The Palestinian struggle to defend their land and homes remains as vital today as it was 43 years ago.

Just this year, for example, Israeli authorities announced plans to forcibly transfer 36,000 Bedouin citizens from their homes in the Naqab, in order to make way for a military industrial zone, a phosphate mine, expanded highways, and new towns for Jewish citizens - plans that Adalah is challenging before Israeli courts and planning committees.

These plans are being given legal backing by discriminatory legislation such as the Jewish Nation-State Law (JNSL), which enshrines Jewish supremacy as a constitutional rule and bears the distinct characteristics of apartheid.

Article 7 of this law, which calls on the state to promote Jewish settlement as a “national value”, will intensify Israel’s racist land policy on both sides of the Green Line and put thousands more Palestinians at risk of displacement and dispossession.

The Israeli elections next month foreshadow a continuation of these policies in Israel and in the 1967 Occupied Territories. As a result, Palestinians’ rights to their lands, their livelihoods and their lives are under greater threat than ever. 

Please donate to Adalah’s work to protect the protest in commemoration of this 43rd Land Day, 2019. 

In solidarity,

Suhad Bishara, Director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Unit

Mysanna Moranny, Coordinator of Adalah’s Land and Planning Unit

Links:

Apr 3, 2019

UN Committee questions Israel on education rights

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from Adalah.

Just last week, Adalah achieved a success from our work before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), a major UN human rights body. The Committee released a List of Issues relating to Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab, relying in large part on information submitted to the Committee by Adalah and our partner, the Negev Co-Existence Forum (NCF).

Israel ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – a main human rights treaty – in 1991 and is therefore obligated to abide by it.

In January 2019, Adalah and NCF submitted a joint report to the Committee on Israel's lack of compliance with the ICESCR. The report included information on: (1) Israel's failure to systematically collect specific data on the Bedouin; (2) the staggering high incidence of poverty, three times more than Jewish Israelis; (3) forced evictions, home demolitions and planning mechanisms to dispossess the Bedouin from their land; (4) the denial of access to safe drinking water and the lack of adequate sanitation; (5) the inadequate investment in education; and (6) the severe obstacles to employment for Arab Bedouin women.

In early March, Adalah Attorney Mysanna Morany together with an NCF representative, gave presentations to the pre-sessional Working Group of the Committee in Geneva on the issues raised in the joint report. The Committee is comprised of about 20 human rights experts from different countries around the world.

This past Thursday, 28 March 2019, the CESCR released its detailed List of Issues, obliging Israel to address critical questions based on several subjects highlighted in our joint report. For example, the Committee asked Israel to provide information on: “Steps taken to improve data collection relating to the Bedouin population and provide statistical data relating to their enjoyment of the Covenant rights, disaggregated by sex, disability and locality. This includes their numbers …  and access to education … and other public services.”

Further questions regarding the right to education included requests to Israel to provide information on: (1) the impact of measures taken to address the high incidence of school dropout and low level of academic achievement among Arab and Bedouin students; and (2) measures taken, and their impact, to ensure that all children, including Arab and Bedouin children, benefit from free early childhood education, and the enrollment rates of these groups of children.

Adalah and NCF welcomes the Committee’s List of Issues, and we look forward to participating in the Committee’s full review of Israel’s compliance with the ICESCR, scheduled for October 2019.  

Adalah engages with UN human rights bodies in parallel to our legal work before Israeli courts. The purpose of this international advocacy work is to make international human rights law, which is viewed by Israeli courts, as persuasive legal authority. Favorable concluding observations from these UN bodies also empower Adalah’s lawyers in their argumentation: they show that international human rights bodies agree with our claims of rights violations, and that the courts should also uphold the highest standards of human rights.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg

International Advocacy Director, Adalah

Links:

Dec 31, 2018

Al Zarnouq's kids need a high school closer to home

Al Zarnouq pupils: "High school = 0 dropout rate"
Al Zarnouq pupils: "High school = 0 dropout rate"

Dear friends,

This past quarter, Adalah has been fighting on behalf of the community of Al Zarnouq, an unrecognized village in the Naqab (Negev) home to around 5,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel, to help hundreds of its kids #MakeTheGrade.

There are currently about 450 high school-aged pupils in the village, many of whom have achieved excellent academic standards through grades 1 to 8 – and many more kids are growing up to follow in their footsteps.

But there is a major problem: Al Zarnouq has no high school of its own.

Because Israel refuses to recognize the village, the state has long denied basic rights and services to the Bedouin residents unless compelled to by legal actions from groups like Adalah. These denied services include electricity, water, sewers, safe roads – and schools.

Thanks to Adalah's interventions nearly two decades ago, an elementary school with all basic amenities was opened in Al Zarnouq in 2000, which today serves some 1,000 students from grades 1 through 8, and another 470 kindergarten students aged three to five.

However, once the students graduate from 8th grade, they are forced to leave Al Zarnouq every day – often from early morning until late at night – in order to study at high schools in other distant villages dozens of kilometers away. This long trek is compounded by the problem of overcrowded classrooms and sub-standard conditions in those schools.

These factors have led to a sharp decline in academic success and to a worrying dropout rate once the students enter high school. This, in turn, severely damages these youths' ability to pursue university studies and to find work in the future.

As such, in November 2018, Adalah sent a letter to Israeli authorities demanding that they open a high school in Al Zarnouq, reminding them that the state has an obligation under the Compulsory Education Act (1949) to help all its citizens fulfil their right to accessible and quality education.

Adalah even specified an exact location in Al Zarnouq that would be suitable for the construction of the high school, noting that there are no zoning or planning obstacles to prevent it from being built.

We are prepared to launch further legal interventions in court if the Israeli authorities refuse to comply. And for that to succeed, we need your support.

Will you increase your donation today to help Al Zarnouq's kids #MakeTheGrade, and to bring their high school closer to home?

 
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