Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project

by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Adalah's Coronavirus Human Rights Project
Photo: Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs/ website
Photo: Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs/ website

Dear Friends,

Warm regards from Adalah! We hope that you and your family have a very happy and healthy holiday.

As we approach the end of 2020, Adalah continues to take critical legal actions to protect Palestinian communities in Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis.

This update will focus on work that we have done in recent months to secure more just distribution of food aid for at-risk Palestinian communities in Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem. While these legal interventions remain pending with Israeli authorities, Adalah is hopeful that we will soon be able to report on some success in this critical area.

Food security grants

On 15 November 2020, Adalah sent an urgent letter to the minister of interior demanding that he change a policy that excludes at-risk populations from receiving COVID-19 food security grants. On 22 October, the Ministry of Interior issued a tender for NIS 700 million (US $215 million) to manage the distribution of food stamps for disadvantaged families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to qualify for the food aid, the ministry required that a resident must be eligible for a property tax deduction; however, this condition excludes about 90,000 Bedouins, citizens of Israel who live in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab. These villages do not fall under any municipal authority and their residents are not eligible for a property tax reduction, and despite being among the poorest communities in the country, they are thus excluded from the food security grants.

The Bedouin population in the Naqab is one of the groups most in need of food security aid in Israel. According to data published by the National Insurance Institute at the end of 2019, more than 45% of all Arab families in Israel live below the poverty line, among them almost 67% are Bedouin families living in the Naqab. Adalah demanded that the Ministry cancel the tax condition of eligibility and instead, establish a more equal, inclusive criterion. To date, Adalah’s arguments remain under consideration by the Ministry of Interior .

National program of holiday food aid

In another case, on 29 October 2020, Adalah sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services demanding information on the allocation of state budgets for a national program of food aid distributed during the holidays. The letter followed a call for proposals to food aid organizations published by the ministry earlier in the month.

In 2019, out of NIS 9 million (US$2.8 million) that were distributed through this program, only NIS 5,000 (US$1,540) were allocated to one Arab food aid organization. The stark difference in budgets for food aid support to Arab organizations as compared with Jewish Israeli groups comes despite the fact that, as noted, 45% of Palestinian families are poor, as compared to 18% of all families in Israel. The COVID-19 crisis has greatly exacerbated the already dire state of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity among Palestinian citizens and families in Israel. In this letter, Adalah sought information on the number of Arab organizations that applied for grants from the government food program during the last seven years, and the reasons for their rejection. Adalah also asked that the call for proposals for the organizations be published in Arabic in addition to Hebrew. Adalah is awaiting a response.

Food aid and social service provision

In addition to working on food insecurity issues among Palestinian citizens of Israel, Adalah also worked to ensure more dignified living conditions for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. On 22 October 2020, Adalah sent an urgent letter to the municipality of Jerusalem demanding that it provide food parcels and social services to the Palestinian residents of Kufur Aqab, a neighborhood located behind the Separation Wall. Adalah asked the municipality to take responsibility for 190 families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, who, following the lockdown, have been suffering from food insecurity, shortage in electricity and other essential services. Adalah is following closely to make sure that these families receive the food and services they need.

Thank you for your support.

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Schoolchildren in Naqab. Photo: Amir Abu Kaf
Schoolchildren in Naqab. Photo: Amir Abu Kaf

Dear Friends,

Many greetings to you from Adalah! We hope that you are healthy and safe. Adalah is continuing in August 2020 to tackle the ongoing and evolving impact of the COVID-19 on Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Since mid-March 2020, Adalah has undertaken over 40 emergency legal actions, including 12 petitions to the Israeli Supreme Court, to confront the COVID-19 crisis. While this this work was covered by local and international media, Adalah convened webinars for the local and international community to raise awareness, and worked closely with other civil society groups and coalitions to fight against discriminatory practices. Thus far, Adalah has succeeded in securing access to health services, promoting dignified living conditions, and protecting civil liberties.

Among our major achievements throughout the coronavirus crisis:

  • The opening of COVID-19 testing centers and clinics in the Naqab, Triangle, Upper Galilee, and East Jerusalem neighborhoods, and by the Qalandya checkpoint.
  • An Israeli Supreme Court decision accepting our argument that there is no legal authority for the government to expand the powers and use of the secret Shin Bet security service (“the Shabak”) for cellphone surveillance of coronavirus patients and other citizens.
  • The cancellation of emergency regulations allowing to put over 4,300 pregnant women on unpaid leave without a special permit from the Labor Ministry.
  • The securing of NIS 200 million (aroundUS $59 million) in state funds- the amount requested by Arab local municipalities in Israel to mitigate the COVID-19 financial damages for the first three months of the crisis.

Israel is currently facing a second-wave of the coronavirus health crisis, and together with its political, social and economic implications, the pandemic is expected to cast its shadow upon us for a long time. As we go forward, Adalah will continue to undertake legal cases and interventions in our three main fields to mitigate the dangerous ramifications and grave threat posed by the coronavirus.

Access to healthcare: Adalah will work to ensure that the government’s emergency response does not leave Palestinian communities unnecessarily exposed to the pandemic through substandard protection and limited access to testing and emergency medical services, and future treatments and vaccines, particularly in the unrecognized Bedouin villages and East Jerusalem.

Dignified living conditions Adalah is currently working on cases toward the opening of the new school year as many Arab schools in Israel lack the funds to prepare the schools to meet the Health Ministry’s guidelines. Of particular concern is access for 50,000 Bedouin children in the Naqab, who live in villages that lack electricity and the internet or have no computers, to in-person studies as well to distance learning. Adalah is monitoring and working on securing government action to prevent unnecessary deterioration in the already poor living conditions of Palestinians, by demanding equal access to state aid funding, unemployment benefits and tax relief measures for Arab citizens of Israel during the economic crisis. Further, Adalah is continuing to defend the rights of thousands of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons, who are isolated from the outside world and left with little to no protection due to overcrowding, lack of adequate hygiene and sanitation, and lack of access to visits and phone calls by family members and lawyers.

Protection of civil liberties: Adalah will continue to intervene legally to prevent the government from resorting to and exploiting Emergency Regulations. Adalah is challenging comprehensive coronavirus legislation, and we recently filed a major case demanding the cancellation of “corona fines” issued to thousands of individuals, due to the lack of clarity in the rules and the arbitrariness of their enforcement.

The following Adalah newsletters documented our extensive coronavirus-related work: Adalah’s News, March 2020; Adalah’s News, April 2020; Adalah's News, May 2020, and Adalah’s News, July 2020.

 

For more on Adalah’s coronavirus work to date, see links under Additional Documentation and Resources.

 

Thank you for your support.

Mobile Coronavirus testing clinic in Naqab
Mobile Coronavirus testing clinic in Naqab
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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AdalahEnglish
Project Leader:
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
Haifa, Israel
$4,064 raised of $50,000 goal
 
22 donations
$45,936 to go
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