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Oct 16, 2019

New school year means new fights to protect Bedouin kids' education

Still from video on school bus stops in the Naqab
Still from video on school bus stops in the Naqab

Dear friends,

Thanks to your support during this past year, we have fought for and achieved the opening of high school for Bedouin students and then saved this nascent school from being closed!

Last year, in November 2018, Adalah sent a letter to the Israeli authorities demanding that they open a high school in Al-Zarnouq, an unrecognized Bedouin village, located in the Naqab (Negev) desert.

The village of around 5,000 residents has 450 high school-age pupils who have to travel long distances to and from schools in other villages. As a result, many students drop out and never complete more than the 8th grade. After long correspondence, the Education Ministry and the local Regional Council was set to open the school in September for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

However, in August 2019, Regavim – a right-wing, pro-settler Israeli organization – filed a petition to the Be’er Sheva District Court to prevent the opening of the urgently needed high school. Regavim argued that the high school had not acquired all the necessary permits and paperwork to open its facility, and claimed that regardless of these documents, the school itself is still illegal because it is located in an unrecognized village.

Regavim regularly submits petitions before Israeli courts against Bedouins in the Naqab and in the West Bank. The organization claims that “the Jewish People are being robbed of the Land of Israel” by any development projects undertaken by/for these communities.

In a hearing on 29 August 2019, Adalah argued before the court that Regavim’s petition must be rejected. Adalah emphasized that the school had already been put in place and that preparations were under way to begin the new year in the fall of 2019. Adalah further argued that Regavim's petition was pursuing bad motives and intentions under the law.

The court accepted Adalah’s arguments. Adalah later participated in a meeting with the local planning committee to secure the remaining necessary permits. And the school was finally opened at the end of September 2019!

An achievement like this – the opening of the high school and fighting the right-wing to prevent its closure - is made possible by your ongoing support of our work.

Further, for the new school year, a journalist and cameraman for YNet – a leading Hebrew newspaper in Israel – accompanied Adalah to several villages in the Naqab and interviewed our staff and local residents about the government’s neglect of kindergartens for Bedouin children, producing a widely watched report (Hebrew).

Adalah also released a one-minute video to raise awareness of Israel’s refusal to provide basis infrastructure for transportation for Bedouin school kids.

About 12,000 Bedouin children continue to face danger every day as there are no bus stops to keep them safe from the busy highways where they need to be picked up.

Adalah took the Israeli authorities to court to construct these bus stops and won – but despite the state’s commitment, one year later, the bus stops have yet to be built.

Your support is crucial for us to take all actions necessary to ensure the state fulfils its obligations. Please donate to Adalah today.

Oct 16, 2019

Israeli police must be held accountable to Palestinian citizens

Adalah's meme linking October 2000 to October 2019
Adalah's meme linking October 2000 to October 2019

Dear friends,

Nineteen years ago, in October 2000, Israeli police shot dead 13 Palestinians in Israel during mass protests against Israel's repressive policies in the Occupied Territories at the start of the Second Intifada. The police, who used live-fire and rubber bullets, also wounded 1,000 protestors and arrested 660 in Israel.

For years Adalah represented the families of the 13 killed Palestinian protestors, demanding that those responsible be investigated and prosecuted.

In a 2003 report, a commission of inquiry confirmed that there was no justification for the police's use of lethal force against the protestors. It also called on the police to "root out the existence of negative prejudices against the Arab sector" across its ranks, adding that the police should no longer see the Palestinian citizens as an "enemy".

Despite these strong words, the Attorney General in 2008 closed all of the files against police officers, commanders, and political leaders. To this day, not a single Israeli officer or other official has been indicted for the killings. And years later, it is clear that the Israeli authorities have refused to heed Palestinian demands for fair, humane, and accountable law enforcement.

This month, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel have taken to the streets to protest the police's systemic negligence in tackling the rise of deadly violent crime in Arab communities.

On 3 October, Adalah participated in a general strike by the Palestinian community to protest the police's inactivity. Adalah staff also attended a mass demonstration in the northern town of Majd Al-Krum, where we legally observed the protests and stood ready for any legal representations of protestorsthat may have been necessary.

To commemorate October 2000, Adalah issued a meme on its social media pages connecting the protests in 2000 with the current protests of October 2019 (see above), and reiterating our demand for justice and accountability for the killings and injuries of Palestinians past and present, whether by the police themselves or by their grave inaction.

Our persistent efforts over all these years to protect Palestinian citizens’ right to protest, and to hold the Israeli police accountable to the people they are meant to serve, can only be possible by your ongoing, generous support for our work.

A monthly, recurring donation will help to ensure our continued ability to “Protect the Protest”.

Will you make a new contribution to Adalah today?

Thank you in advance for all of your support to our crucial work.

Jul 31, 2019

Win! Afula public park ends racist ban on non-residents

Entrance to Afula public park
Entrance to Afula public park

Dear friends,

We won!

Following Adalah's lawsuit, the Municipality of Afula in northern Israel was compelled by court on 14 July 2019 to end its ban on non-residents from entering a public park in the city.

This policy was aimed at blocking residents of nearby Arab communities from using the facility. We know because the municipality told us so.

Earlier this month, Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and her infant son arrived at the park and found a new large sign at the entrance reading: "The park is open … to Afula residents only".

Upon learning that they are from the nearby Arab city of Nazareth, a security guard at the park entrance forbade them from entering.

"I felt deeply humiliated by the situation," said Attorney Shehadeh-Zoabi.

"Jewish residents freely walked past me into the very park that I so often enjoyed with my son while I was prevented from entering and forced to leave – simply because I am from the Arab city of Nazareth".

The ban was issued following an explicit election promise by Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz to act against what he deigned the "conquest of the park" by residents of surrounding Arab towns. He called on the city's Jewish residents to "proudly hoist Israeli flags throughout the park and play music in Hebrew".

The ban was also made public just days after Mayor Elkabetz took part in a protest against the sale of a home in the city to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and after newly-elected city council members were sworn into office pledging to act to preserve the city's Jewish character.

This positive result following Adalah’s legal interventions – which were widely covered in local and international media – effectively rebukes the city and its mayor for their racist policies, and ensures that Palestinian families in Israel can enjoy free access to the public park.

Our victory shows what Adalah is able to achieve with your contributions.

For Adalah to continue its fight against racism and discrimination, and to secure just rights for all Palestinians, we need your support.

Will you donate to Adalah today? Will you share our appeal with friends and family? We would be very grateful.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi
Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi
Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury speaking to media
Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury speaking to media
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