Dear Friends and Supporters,
Adalah’s team wishes you and your families a happy, healthy holiday and New Year. We thank you for your steadfast support for Adalah in 2022, and ask that you continue to stand with us as we confront mounting challenges in the coming year.
Throughout 2022, the current ‘change’ government engaged in serious human rights violations, including the bogus designation of six leading Palestinian human rights and civil organizations as ‘terror organizations’; approving 4,000 new housing units in the illegal settlements in the West Bank; and engaging in nightly raids in the West Bank that resulted in the highest annual tally of Palestinians killed over the past seven years.
However, despite these formidable obstacles and the deteriorating political situation, Adalah was able to obtain significant achievements for Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Positive outcomes that we achieved through our legal work, international advocacy initiatives and media outreach included re-activating the Food Security Council and ensuring Arab representation on this crucial body; defending Bedouin residents of Ras Jrabah village in the Naqab (Negev) in court against the state’s attempts to evacuate and dispossess them; enabling Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Syrian residents of the Golan Heights to apply for higher education scholarships from the Israeli lottery; securing the removal of all ten police checkpoints erected in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem during protests against home demolitions; and representing Arab political parties against attempts by right-wing actors to disqualify them from Knesset elections. We are extremely proud of these results as we contemplate the year that is drawing to an end, and look ahead to 2023.
The fight before us will be largely shaped by the results of the Knesset elections held in November 2022, which delivered a comfortable victory to the exclusively radical right-wing and Ultra-Orthodox coalition. The ruling coalition includes virulently racist parties, some leaders of which are affiliated with the former Kach Party, declared a terror organization by Israel in the 1980s, or have been criminally convicted for incitement to violence against Palestinians. Such a government stands alongside some of the darkest regimes in history.
Click Here to view a slideshow of Highlights of Adalah's work in 2022
Other items on the coalition’s agenda are, alarmingly, relaxing the open-fire regulations of the Israeli police and armed forces, along with expanded powers and even greater impunity; the imposition of yet more restrictions based on Jewish religious law on the entire population; and limiting women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
The coalition also seeks to promote plans to alter the Israeli legal system and weaken the powers of the judiciary, by rendering Knesset legislation immune from judicial review through a Knesset override law, for example, and by introducing a highly-politicized judicial selection process. At the same time, it plans to bolster the powers of the government and the Knesset, at the expense of the principle of the separation of powers.
The incoming government is planning to make moves against Palestinian citizens of Israel, which could include evacuating the remaining unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab and ending Bedouin land disputes in favor of the state; expanding the use of ‘breach of loyalty’ as grounds for revoking citizenship; employing the Jewish Nation-State Law more broadly to discriminate against Palestinian citizens in state services and budgeting; and further militarizing policing in Arab towns and villages and in the mixed cities.
The advent of the new government presents grave dangers to both Palestinian and Israeli societies, including civil society organizations and human rights defenders, who are already embattled in the aftermath of the outlawing of the ‘Palestinian 6’ as ‘terror organizations’. In November 2022, religious Zionist leader and incumbent Finance Minister labelled human rights organizations an “existential threat to the State of Israel” and threatened that the government would target their sources of income through “legal and security means”.
Today, the involvement of the international community is clearly critical. It is imperative that we stand together against these threats.
Please consider making an end-of-year donation or a monthly recurring gift to Adalah, to allow us to continue to fight for the rights of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.
The Adalah Team
Warm regards to you from Adalah.
In this report, we update you about Adalah's recent work and Israeli Supreme Court decisions in the following cases: Granting sweeping impunity to the Israeli army and police; Land Grab in Jerusalem; and Revocation of citizenship for "breach of loyalty".
GRANTING SWEEPING IMPUNITY TO THE ISRAELI ARMY AND POLICE
Israeli Supreme Court rules no redress, no remedies for Gaza victims
In early August, Israel launched an intensive air offensive on the Gaza Strip, killing 47 Palestinians, including 16 children, and injuring 360 more (Palestinian Ministry of Health figures, 7 August 2022). This recent killing and injuring of civilians in Gaza is a result of the Israeli authorities’ shielding of their armed forces from accountability measures for their actions, both criminal and civil. On 5 July 2022, the Israeli Supreme Court (SC) rejected an appeal filed by Adalah and Al-Mezan demanding civil tort compensation for a Palestinian family following the severe injury of their 15-year-old son, who was left in a wheel chair for life after he was shot by the Israeli military in 2014, outside of any “act of war”.
In this case, Adalah and Al Mezan challenged the 2012 amendment to Israel's Civil Wrongs Law (State Responsibility)-1952, which prescribes that residents of an “enemy territory” are not eligible for compensation from Israel. Israel declared Gaza to be “enemy territory” in 2007, following the takeover by Hamas. The law grants total, sweeping immunity for Israel from all liability for any damages, in violation of Israeli and international law. In its decision, while the SC acknowledged that the law infringes on fundamental rights of Gaza residents, it maintained that immunity is appropriate in order “to prevent economic and moral assistance to the enemy.”
Adalah and Al Mezan: “This decision not only grants sweeping immunity to the Israeli military to injure Palestinians wherever they are, but also determines, in a radical move, that the deliberate denial of compensation is an appropriate tool for harming the enemy. There is no clearer evidence of the fact that the Israeli legal system is committed to the legitimization of war crimes and to assisting the military in its efforts, by denying all legal remedies to victims, especially when, at the same time, the Court refuses to intervene in the state’s closure of criminal investigations into alleged war crimes and thus also providing impunity for criminal actions committed by the Israeli military."
The NGOs will demand a second hearing by an expanded panel of the SC on the case.
Demanding police accountability for the killing of a Palestinian citizen of Israel
Following a TV interview with a high official, Adalah sent a letter on 26 July 2022 to the Attorney General, the State Attorney (SA), and the Chief of the Police Investigation Department (PID) demanding to re-open an investigation into the 2017 police killing of Y.Q., a Palestinian citizen of Israel, during a home demolition operation in his village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev). In the interview, the former Deputy Chief of PID, M.S., revealed that the former SA and former chief of police pressured the PID to close the probe.
In the letter, Adalah argued that the statements by M.S. supported our deep suspicions of a conflict of interest within the SA’s Office that led to this unreasonable decision. In the interview, M.S. spoke of extreme pressure by public figures, coupled with a flawed investigation during which key evidence was ignored. The police killing of Y.Q. is yet another stark example of the lack accountability and the impunity granted to Israeli police forces in the killing of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
LAND GRAB IN JERUSALEM
US Embassy in Jerusalem to be built on privately-owned Palestinian land
In 2019, the US relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, choosing a temporary site before moving to its permanent location. Documents recently obtained by Adalah from the Israeli state archive reveal that the planned site of the new US Embassy compound will be located on privately-owned Palestinian land, which was illegally seized by the state pursuant to 1950 Israeli Absentees’ Property Law. The Plan, currently in the advanced stages of the approval process, was submitted in 2021 by the US State Department and the Israeli Land Authority to the Israeli planning authorities. The descendants of the Palestinian landowners, including residents of Jerusalem and US citizens, demand that Israel release their properties and that the US Administration cancel the plan.
Adalah’s Legal Director: "This plan is a serious escalation in the US legitimization of the illegal Israeli seizure of Palestinian land using the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law. Under this law, Israel dispossessed Palestinian refugees, internally displaced Palestinian citizens of Israel, and residents of illegally annexed East Jerusalem from their property in the years following the Nakba in 1948 and again in 1967. This legislation is an arbitrary, racially-based, discriminatory, and sweeping law for land confiscation with far-reaching implications. The US Embassy plan will violate the private property rights of Palestinian landowners, and the internationally-established right of Palestinian refugees to return and gain restitution of their properties."
In response to a media inquiry, the US State Department stated that it was now “engaged in a process that will culminate in [the] construction of a new embassy in Jerusalem", and that “The site of that new embassy has not yet been confirmed.”
The plan and the newly discovered evidence, which was revealed by Adalah on 10 July 2022 during Biden's visit in Israel, made headlines in local and international media, receiving wide coverage, including feature stories in the New York Times, NBC News, Democracy Now, and Haaretz.
R.K., a US citizen and a descendant of Palestinian landowners of this property, told Democracy Now: “The fact that the US government is now participating actively with the Israeli government in this project means that it is actively infringing on the property rights of the legitimate owners of these properties, including many US citizens… By putting the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the US is violating resolutions of the UN that it voted for: for Jerusalem to be an international city and for nothing to be done in Jerusalem that would jeopardize the final status of that city… We are demanding that the US not build an embassy on our land. This is our property. It’s not the property of the state of Israel to give or rent or lease to the US."
NO CITIZENSHIP WITHOUT LOYALTY
The Israeli Supreme Court upholds a dangerous law, which permits the revocation of citizenship for "breach of loyalty"
On 21 July 2022, the Israeli Supreme Court (SC) rejected a 2017 lower court decision to strip A. Z., a Palestinian citizen of Israel, of his citizenship, but upheld a 2008 law that allows for the Interior Minister to revoke the citizenship of individuals convicted of offenses that constitute a "breach of loyalty" against the State of Israel, even if the person becomes stateless. Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) represented A.Z. in this case.
Criminal offenses that constitute a "breach of loyalty" include an act of terrorism; an act of treason or serious espionage; or the acquisition of citizenship or the right of permanent residency in a hostile state or in hostile territory.
Since the law’s enactment, the Interior Minister has applied it selectively, only to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In the 31 cases considered for the revocation of citizenship, no request was ever made to strip a Jewish-Israeli citizen of citizenship, despite a number of extremely serious incidents in which Jewish citizens murdered Palestinians or other Jewish citizens. This fact shows a racist and discriminatory pattern that exclusively singles out Palestinian citizens based on their national belonging.
Read in the link below: Adalah’s Q&A on the Supreme Court judgment and its implications.
Read more in Adalah’s newsletter, 16 August 2022: War Crimes in Gaza & Strategic Litigation
Read Adalah's 2021 annual report to learn more about our work.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support for Adalah’s work.We sincerely appreciate it.
Many greetings to you from Adalah.
In this update we highlight three new strategic litigation cases undertaken by Adalah. In these cases, Adalah challenged racist and discriminatory laws, policies and procedures before Israeli courts, as follows:
A law banning Palestinian family unification in Israel;
A procedure for appointing teachers in Arab special needs and other schools;
A demand to open employment bureaus in poverty-stricken Palestinian Bedouin towns in the Naqab
BAN ON PALESTINIAN FAMILY UNIFICATION
The newly-legislated Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) – 2022 – a new version of the 2003 Law – continues to prohibit the granting of legal status in Israel to Palestinians from the OPT or Israeli-defined “enemy states”, who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel or residents of Jerusalem. For the first time, the Law explicitly states that it is intended to ensure a Jewish demographic majority.
Adalah petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2022, on behalf of three Palestinian families against the law, demanding that it be revoked. Adalah argued that it is a racist and discriminatory law that violates the right to establish a family, and allows the state to operate on two separate citizenship tracks based on national and ethnic affiliation under the eternal pretext of temporality.
WHO DECIDES ABOUT TEACHERS' APPOINTMENTS IN ARAB SCHOOLS
For decades, the Israeli Education Ministry has employed two separate tracks for appointing teachers: in Jewish schools, the principals have complete discretion for selecting teachers, while in Arab schools, selection is based on a scoring system and principals have no discretion. In February 2022, Adalah filed a petition to the Jerusalem District Court on behalf of Jusour- Bridges for Autism and the Chair of the Parents' Committee in Amar School in Haifa, Ms. Hanin Shomli, seeking to exclude Arab special education schools from this discriminatory procedure.
Dr. Kareem Nasser, an occupational therapist specializing in the education of autistic children, who gave an expert opinion in the case: ”The appointment procedure in Arab schools leads to the prioritization of teachers whose qualifications do not meet students’ needs, resulting in many Arab parents choosing to enroll their children in Jewish special education institutions. Those children are prevented from receiving education in their native language based on their own cultural values and traditions, thus impeding their developmental skills and preventing them from realizing their right to becoming equal and active members of society, achieving independence and full integration in family and community life.”
LACK OF EMPLOYMENT BUREAUS IN NAQAB BEDOUIN TOWNS
Despite having the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the country and the lowest socio-economic ranking, six Bedouin towns in the Naqab have no state-run employment centers; rather, job-seekers from these towns, as well as from nearby Bedouin villages, including the unrecognized villages, are directed to fairly distant Israeli Jewish cities. There is little to no public transport from these towns to the cities, and the existing centers are linguistically and culturally foreign. Employment centers provide unemployment benefits and offer job opportunities and vocational training for job seekers and assist employers in finding employees.
Adalah petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2022, on behalf of the local councils of four Bedouin villages, the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality and the Sidra Association, demanding the establishment of employment centers in Hura, Kuseife, Leqiya, A’ra’ara, Shqieb A-Salam (Segev Shalom), and Tal A-Sabei (Tel Sheva); Rahat is the only Bedouin town in Naqab which has a center. The high unemployment rates of Bedouins and the wide gaps, in general, between Palestinian Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel, are the result of, and have been maintained by, decades-long discriminatory state policies.
Click here to see Adalah’s News, 29 April 2022: Strategic Litigation
Thank you for your continued support of Adalah’s work.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On behalf of the Adalah team, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy holiday and New Year. I also thank you for your steadfast support for Adalah in 2021, which has been a particularly tumultuous year.
The May 2021 events were a seminal moment. In May, we witnessed a deadly escalation in violence in Israel and the OPT, sparked by Israel’s brutal repression of protests against the eviction of Palestinian refugee families from Sheikh Jarrah. Hostilities spread to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex and Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes killed 240 people, including 65 children. Palestinian citizens of Israel took to the streets across the country to demonstrate, and were met by extreme violence by police and ultra-right wing Jewish Israeli vigilante groups.
In response to the May 2021 events, Adalah represented dozens of Palestinian citizen protestors detained and viciously beaten by police, and secured their release from detention with less harsh conditions, including political leaders unjustly charged with incitement. We also helped draw international scrutiny to the violence and incitement against Palestinian citizens by Jewish Israeli vigilante groups and senior Israeli officials, which culminated in the opening of an unprecedented investigation by the UN into the events and their root causes on both sides of the Green Line.
Another milestone was the announcement by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of the opening of a criminal investigation into the “Situation in Palestine.” This watershed decision confirms what Adalah and many other human rights organizations have maintained for years: that Israel is committing war crimes against the Palestinian people, and that there is no accountability under the Israeli legal system.
More upheaval followed when Israel designated six of the most prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations”, shocking the international community. These groups are the most vocal in resisting the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policies, and some are active before the ICC. Adalah is providing legal advice and assistance to the Palestinian 6 against Israel’s transparent attempt to silence, delegitimize and defund them.
Click Here to view a slideshow of Highlights of Adalah's work in 2021
Warm regards to you from Adalah.
This month, October 2021, we achieved three important successes as a result of our Supreme Court strategic litigation. These cases pressured Israeli authorities to amend their policies, resulting in positive outcomes and the protection of human rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Inclusion of the Arabic language in COVID-19 vaccination certificates:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Adalah brought a series of cases demanding the inclusion and addition of Arabic to the Israeli authorities’ health-related official documents and websites. Due to Adalah’s legal actions, the Israeli ministry of health and later the primary emergency medical and ambulance service, Magen David Adom (MDA), started providing essential public health information in Arabic on their websites, after previously publishing this information only in Hebrew and in English.
Adalah’s latest case, brought in March 2021 before the Israeli Supreme Court (SCT), was the demand to add the Arabic language to the Israeli COVID-19 vaccination certificates (“Green Pass”), previously issued only in Hebrew and English. These documents are necessary for access to numerous facilities – gyms, restaurants, cultural spaces, etc. - inside the country.
Adalah argued that the state is obligated to include Arabic, as it is the language of more than 20% of the population, and by excluding Arabic the state is violating directives issued by the Israeli Health Ministry’s director general regarding cultural and linguistic accessibility in the health system, as well as previous SCT judgments. Further, the exclusion of Arabic from these essential COVID-19 documents hinders their participation in the process of returning to a new normal in the wake of the pandemic.
As a result of this litigation, at the beginning of October, the Health Ministry included Arabic in its newly issued COVID-19 vaccination cards and recovery certificates. While Adalah welcomes this move, “The fact that we needed to file a petition to the SCT in order to compel the authorities to comply with their obligation under the law is a testament to the influence of the 2018 Jewish Nation-State Law, the racist values it enshrines, and its harmful effects. Adalah will continue its fight to ensure that the Arabic language rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel will not be violated further.”
Ensuring more equitable and just distribution of state funding for education:
Over the years, Adalah has brought numerous legal actions before the SCT arguing for economic and educational justice and demanding more equitable funding and more benefits for Palestinian children, citizens of Israel. As emphasized by theFollow-up Committee for Arab Education: “Many unjust budgeting mechanisms violate the rights of Arab children in the field of education, and bring us to repeatedly turn to courts on behalf of parents and local authorities. Despite the changes we have been able to achieve over the years in the various struggles we have waged, the gap between Arab and Jewish education is still large, and our struggle to achieve our full rights continues.”
In the case at hand, Adalah submitted a SCT petition on 9 September 2020, demanding a just provision of state subsidies for after-school programs in Arab towns in the Misgav Regional Council (MRC) in the north of Israel. The ministry’s method of distribution of financial aid is determined based on the ranking of the regional council, as a whole, and not that of each town. The MRC ranks high in the socioeconomic levels as it consists of 29 wealthy Jewish towns and six Arab towns with the lowest socioeconomic ranking. In the petition, Adalah demanded that the fees Arab parents are obligated to pay for their children's participation in the Nitzanim national after-school program be determined according to the socio-economic grouping of their specific local authority rather than that of the MRC.
Following the petition, filed on behalf of parents and the Follow-up Committee on Arab Education, an expert NGO, the Ministry of Education informed the SCT that it will change the current budgeting model for after-school programs so that it takes into account the average socio-economic background of students. The new method will no longer refer to the regional council as a single entity, and financial assistance within the program will be provided in accordance with the average financial status of each school. The Ministries of Education and Finance will continue to develop and adapt the new model so that it will be implemented at the start of the next school year (2022-2023). Adalah will continue to monitor the situation, in order to ensure that a new model is implemented and to protect the right to equal access to education against discriminatory practices and policies based on national affiliation.
This case also has wider implications for the Israeli public as a whole, as the change in budgeting should also benefit Israeli Jewish families and towns with low socio-economic rankingsthatare at a disadvantage since they are considered to be part of a wealthy regional council.
Challenging the construction of a dangerous phosphate mine in the Naqab:
A major part of Adalah’s legal work in the Naqab concerns the state’s policies and plans to forcibly evict and subsequently displace tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, citizens of Israel, from their lands and homes to make way for more Israeli Jewish settlement. In recent years, this work has involved challenging major infrastructure plans all over the Naqab, such as the expansion of national roads and railways, and more.
In this case, in January 2019, Adalah, together with other human rights groups and on behalf of residents of Al-Fura’a village in the Naqab, petitioned the SCT against the construction of a phosphate mine. The planned mining area encompasses four Bedouin villages: Al-Fura’a (a recognized village), and Al-Azarura, Ez and Katamat (unrecognised villages). The construction of the mine is expected to lead to the immediate evacuation of more than 500 families and endanger the health of thousands of residents living in all four villages, and the surrounding areas.
On 11 October 2021, the SCT ruled that the state must conduct an environmental impact survey, which also examines health risks stemming from mining and quarrying for all residents of the area, including Bedouin citizens, who were previously excluded from these surveys. The SCT emphasised the importance of this stage, stressing that the planning committees must address the effects on public health during the planning procedures, and accordingly, consider the possibility of reassessing or even cancelling the plan.
It is extremely important that the SCT recognised that health considerations must be part of the planning process; however, this recognition is insufficient as a comprehensive health review should be a prerequisite to approving such plans. Although the court stressed that planning authorities must also consider the possibility of not approving the phosphate mine in light of possible health risk results, the ruling does not address the real threat of displacement and lack of development to the future of thousands of Bedouin residents living in and near the mine.
Further, although the Bedouin village of Al-Fura’a was recognized 15 years ago, the planning of the village is delayed due to the mining plan. Adalah, together with the residents and the partner organizations will continue to work to advance the planning of Al-Fura’a in its current location and to protect the health of its residents.
Thank you for your continued support for Adalah’s critical work. We sincerely appreciate your generosity.
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