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Aug 29, 2017

State's segregation plan exposed - time for new legal actions

Map illustrating  planned Jewish town of Hiran
Map illustrating planned Jewish town of Hiran

Dear ally,

This month, Adalah uncovered an important document that could strengthen our legal struggle to defend the 500 Bedouin villagers of Umm al-Hiran from displacement and dispossession.

The document confirms that, contrary to the state's claims before the Israeli Supreme Court, the new town that is to be built over the ruins of the Bedouin village – and to be called "Hiran" – will be open to Israeli Jewish citizens only.

According to the document, Hiran's cooperative association bylaws state that: "an individual may be approved by the admissions committee and become a member of the Hiran cooperative association if they meet the following qualifications: a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values…" (emphasis added).

These bylaws contradict the state's response to Adalah's appeals against the eviction and demolition of Umm al-Hiran in the years prior. In these replies, the state claimed that, "Hiran is planned as a general community, into which any Israeli of any background or religion may integrate."

Adalah immediately took new legal actions after it uncovered this document. On 7 August 2017, our lawyers wrote to the National Planning and Building Council (NPBC) arguing that the state had violated its proclaimed commitments before the Supreme Court that the new town would be open to the "general public", including Bedouin citizens. After our intervention, the NPBC – which was set to speed up plans for Hiran – postponed its meetings on these issues.

Our lawyers also wrote to the Attorney General (AG) demanding that he prevent the allocation of Hiran's plots exclusively to religious Jewish citizens, and that he ensure that the Bedouins of Umm al-Hiran are included in the planning of the new town.

"This land," wrote Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany to the AG, "is being allocated [by the state] to a group that discriminates and is racially motivated, and which limits membership to a specific national [ethnic] and religious group to the exclusion of other groups. There is no doubt that the allocation of plots to the Hiran core [group] constitutes discrimination against Arab citizens." Adalah is awaiting a response to our letter.

Adalah is planning further legal actions and advocacy initiatives to stop the state's segregation plan. But we cannot do this without your help.

Your support is crucial to advance our work to defend the Bedouin residents of the village. Donate today and help us #Save_UmAlHiran!

Hiran bylaws say residents must be Orthodox Jews
Hiran bylaws say residents must be Orthodox Jews
Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in Umm al-Hiran
Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in Umm al-Hiran
Jul 20, 2017

Palestinian protest secured after police backtrack on denying permit

Young Palestinians at the March of Return, 2 May
Young Palestinians at the March of Return, 2 May

Dear friends,

During the past quarter, Adalah successfully helped to protect the Palestinian "March of Return", which took place on 2 May 2017 on the lands of Al-Kabri, a Palestinian village that was destroyed by Israel during the War in 1948.

The March of Return is an annual demonstration held on Israel's declared Independence Day to commemorate the hundreds of Palestinians villages that were erased during the Nakba, or "catastrophe". 

Thousands of Palestinians visit these villages each year to remember their history, protest Israel's ongoing colonial land policies, and assert the right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.

This year, however, the Israeli police refused to grant a permit to the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Israel, which organizes the annual march.

The police claimed that they did not have sufficient resources to secure the event, as they were being deployed to events to mark Israel's independence on the same day. The decision would have been the first in 18 years that the Palestinian march would not be allowed to take place.

In a letter to the Israeli State Attorney and the police, Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam wrote that "The police decision is very strange and raises concerns that the refusal to approve the event is politically motivated". He added that the event "isn't meant to be secured by the police, but by ushers supplied by the organizers."

Thanks to our legal intervention together with the protest organizers, the police reversed their decision and the March of Return was allowed to take place as planned!

Adalah's legal and media staff also attended the successful march to observe and document the protest – see photos here.

Your contributions ensure that our work to #ProtectTheProtest will continue to achieve successes like this.

As Adalah expects many more protests against Israeli government policies to take place in the coming months, your support remains crucial to secure the freedom of expression rights of many more Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Palestinian citizens at the March of Return, 2 May
Palestinian citizens at the March of Return, 2 May
Jun 12, 2017

Tel Aviv must fulfill its promise: Provide a new building for Arab school

Students outside Municipal School #12 in Jaffa
Students outside Municipal School #12 in Jaffa

Dear Friends,

Adalah is representing a parents' committee and student council representatives in an important case, which aims to ensure that hundreds of Palestinian Arab middle and high school students can #MakeTheGrade in the mixed city of Jaffa in central Israel.

Municipal School #12 is the largest Arab public school in Jaffa. While the facility is only authorized to accommodate 600 students, the school has dramatically lowered its dropout rate, and today 850 students are enrolled.

As a result of this positive rise in student enrolment, the school faces a severe problem of overcrowding. To temporarily alleviate the problem, the school administration moved to convert bomb shelters, a library, science labs, and a gym into makeshift classrooms.

Since 1998, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality promised to provide a new building to supplement new classrooms at the school. These promises were backed up by official meetings, written documentation, and blueprints and plans drawn up by the municipality itself. Even during the construction of the new facility, a sign was placed specifying that the new building was slated for the school.

However, in early January 2017, Tel Aviv municipal representatives unexpectedly told surprised parents that – in violation of all prior agreements and commitments – the new building would not be handed over to Municipal School #12, but would instead be used as a new sciences school.

The school’s parents were baffled as to why the city demanded that the new sciences school be built at the expense of the students of Municipal School #12, who have been waiting years for their new building to be completed.

“Given the availability of empty structures in the city that could be used for the sciences school, the city’s insistence is totally incomprehensible,” said Mrs. Jihan Haddad, the Chairwoman of the parents’ committee. “I wonder what the Tel Aviv mayor would do if his grandchildren had to go to school in the conditions our children are now facing.”

Thus in April 2017, Adalah filed a petition to the Tel Aviv District Court, on behalf of the school’s parents’ committee and student council representatives, demanding that the municipality and the Israeli Education Ministry fulfill its commitment to expand the school.

Attorney Sawsan Zaher, Director of Adalah’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, wrote in the petition that: “The disregard for the serious distress the school is now facing as a result of overcrowding impinges upon the learning environment and harms the quality of education.”

The District Court held a hearing on the case on 6 June 2017, after the municipality refused to change its course of action and re-commit to the promise it made to Municipal School #12. The case is pending.

Your support makes it possible for Adalah to defend the education rights of Palestinian Arab students in Israel like those in Jaffa. Help us ensure that these children, and many more, can #MakeTheGrade.

Replacing signs, replacing owners
Replacing signs, replacing owners
 
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