Adalah (legal center)

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Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Adalah 2.jpg
Headquarters in Haifa
Founded1996; 23 years ago (1996)
FocusHuman rights, Arab citizens of Israel, Minority rights, Indigenous rights, Civil and political rights, Economic, social and cultural rights, Prisoners' rights, Land and planning rights[1]
Area served
Israel and the Occupied Territories
MethodImpact litigation, legal consultation, international advocacy, education, training, publication, media outreach[3]

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Hebrew: עדאלה - המרכז המשפטי לזכויות המיעוט הערבי בישראל‎, Arabic: عدالة - المركز القانوني لحماية حقوق الأقلية العربية في اسرائيل‎) is a human rights organization and legal center.

Adalah's goals are "achieving individual and collective rights of the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel" and protecting "the human rights of Palestinians living under occupation, based on international humanitarian law and international human rights law".[4]

The organization was founded in November 1996; it is non-partisan and not-for-profit. Adalah's founder and General Director is lawyer Hassan Jabareen. Adalah means Justice in the Arabic language.

Mission and philosophy[edit]

Adalah attempts to influence Israeli public discourse through media outreach and campaigning. Adalah regularly participates in Israeli and international academic conferences.[5]

Historian Ilan Pappe describes Adalah’s philosophy as "that the personal autonomy of the individual was a right that had to be fiercely protected, and that this right included also the collective rights of the group to which the individual belonged."[6]

Legal advocacy[edit]

Many of Adalah's cases involve first-time legal challenges and affect Arab citizens as a collective group. Adalah’s legal advocacy focuses on appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court. Between 1996-2000, it brought over twenty cases before the court dealing with equality for Arab citizens, including language rights cases, budgets of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, health and education in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in Israel.[6]

Adalah’s legal department is divided into three units: Land and Planning; Economic, Social, and Cultural; and Civil and Political (including Criminal Justice and the Occupied Palestinian Territory).

Land and planning rights[edit]

Adalah is challenging discriminatory land and planning laws and policies in a wide range of fields. Its litigation efforts include petitioning the courts and planning committees against forced evictions and home demolitions in the Naqab; challenging the policies of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for making land available only to Jews; challenging the state's refusal to recognize or provide services to Arab villages and neighborhoods; objecting to planning decisions which prioritize Jewish settlements over Arab towns; and seeking to overturn policies which discriminate against Arabs in the provision of mortgages and housing assistance.[7]

Economic, social and cultural rights[edit]

Some of Adalah's main litigation includes: ensuring that the state implements a 2006 Supreme Court decision which declared that the 'National Priority Area' discriminates against Arab citizens; seeking to secure basic social services – such as water, electricity, schools, roads, and mother and child health clinics – in the Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages; challenging regulations which prohibit Arab citizens from opening their stores on Saturday (Sabbath); and achieving equal treatment for the Arabic language on road signs and in governmental operations, as befits its official status.[8]

Civil and political rights[edit]

Adalah's litigation activities include ensuring citizens' right to peaceful protest, including the representation of demonstrators; defending Arab MKs in political criminal cases; challenging laws which violate freedom of expression, including laws that restrict Nakba commemoration; and demanding investigations and accountability when the state employs violence against its own citizens, as it did in October 2000 with the killing of 13 Arab protesters.[9]

Occupied Palestinian Territory[edit]

Adalah's work focuses on Gaza, occupied East Jerusalem and the rights of prisoners and detainees.[citation needed] Adalah monitors rights abuses in the OPT, both during and outside of military offensives, and submits impact litigation cases to expose and challenge these practices.[citation needed] Adalah has argued cases dealing with the denial of tort compensation to Palestinians harmed by Israeli military operations, demanding investigations into home demolitions; fighting against techniques of collective punishment imposed against the civilian population; and seeking an end to inhumane detention conditions at Israeli prisons.[citation needed]

International advocacy[edit]

Adalah’s international advocacy work focuses on United Nations human rights bodies, European Union bodies, embassies/foreign diplomats based in Israel, and cooperating with international human rights organizations and networks.[citation needed]

Adalah has conducted regular interventions to UN Committees in its reviews of Israel’s compliance with human rights conventions.[10]

Adalah and its partners played a leading role in the passing of an EU Parliament Resolution on 5 July 2012 condemning Israel’s practice of forced displacement against Palestinian Arabs in the Occupied Territory (West Bank and East Jerusalem) and in the Naqab (Negev) in Israel.[11][better source needed]

October 2000 events and the Or Commission[edit]

In October 2000, Israeli security forces used live ammunition and rubber-coated bullets against Palestinian Arab citizens at demonstrations, killing 13 people. A Commission of Inquiry was established and Adalah represented the family members of the 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel killed by the police, and the Arab political leaders who received warnings from the Commission.[12][better source needed]

The Or Commission found that there was no justification whatsoever for the excessive use of lethal forced that caused the deaths of 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel. It found that in October 2000 snipers were used to disperse demonstrations for the first time since 1948, and that this sniper fire, which led to the death and injury of citizens, was illegal and certainly not grounded in the internal regulations of the police governing the use of live fire. Similarly, the Or Commission determined that the firing of rubber-coated steel bullets, which produced fatal results, was also contrary to the internal police.[13]

Unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages[edit]

By the 1990s, there were about 45 Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev) that were not officially recognized by the state, even though many of these villages had existed before the state’s establishment or residents were moved there by the state itself during the 1950s.[citation needed] Because of their “unrecognized” status, these villages do not receive basic services such as water, healthcare, schools, safe roads and others.[citation needed]

In December 1997, Adalah represented 12 of the largest unrecognized villages in the Negev “in a demand for the establishment of basic medical clinics”, where mothers and children seeking treatment had to travel long distances with no public transportation in order to access a health facility. The Bedouin villages in the Naqab have the highest rate of infant mortality in the country as well as the lowest level of immunization.[14]

By the mid-2000s ten of the 45 villages were accepted by the state as being “in the process of recognition”. However, the state has not provided full services entailed by that recognition and Adalah continues to pressure the government to fulfill its commitments to these villages.

The Prawer plan[edit]

Stopping the implementation of the “Law for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev” (the “Prawer plan”) is a legislative focus of Adalah.[15][better source needed] According to human rights groups, the Plan will oversee the demolitions of 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab and the forced relocation of 40,000–70,000 Bedouin citizens to recognized townships.[16]

Adalah is representing several villages before the courts to challenge their eviction and demolition orders, including the villages of Umm el-Hieran and Atir, which are to be destroyed to build a Jewish town and a forest on their locations respectively.[citation needed] Adalah regularly submits petitions and letters in partnership with other NGOs and civil society groups, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, the Negev Co-Existence Forum, and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages.[citation needed]

Current cases[edit]

Among others, Adalah is currently involved in the following legal cases:

  • Representing Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality - Hadash) on a criminal indictment charging him with four alleged offenses of assaulting or insulting police officers resulting from his participation in anti-Wall and anti-War demonstrations between 2005 and 2007. The court accepted Adalah's arguments concerning parliamentary immunity, and dismissed two of four charges in 10/11.[17]
  • Representing residents of Al-Araqib and human rights activists on criminal indictments related to protest activities concerning the repeated demolition of the Arab Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Naqab.[17]
  • Demanding the cancellation of an Israel Land Administration (ILA) policy permitting the marketing and allocation of Jewish National Fund (JNF)-controlled lands by the ILA through bids open only to Jewish Individuals.[18]
  • Seeking the cancellation of evacuation lawsuits against about 1,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized village of Atir-Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab and demanding its recognition by the state.[18]
  • Petitioning the Supreme Court on behalf of Gaza residents and Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations challenging the ban on Palestinian residents of Gaza from entering Israel to access the courts for tort damages cases filed against the Israeli security forces. The state’s prevention of entry is resulting in the dismissal of hundreds of compensation lawsuits. In effect, the state is exempting itself from all damages claims.[19]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Current Cases". Adalah. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Contact us". Adalah. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. ^ "About". Adalah. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  4. ^ "About Adalah". Adalah. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  5. ^ Payes, Shany, 'Palestinian NGOs in Israel: The Politics of Civil Society'(2005), pg 124
  6. ^ a b Pappe, Ilan, 'The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel'(2011), pg 208
  7. ^ "Land and Planning Rights". Adalah. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2013-01-15.[better source needed]
  8. ^ "Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights". Adalah. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-01-15.[better source needed]
  9. ^ "Civil and Political Rights". Adalah. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-01-15.[better source needed]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-06. Retrieved 2013-07-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)[better source needed]
  11. ^ "European Parliament Calls for Withdrawal of Prawer Plan, Linking Forced Displacement of Arab". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  12. ^ Payes, Shany, "Palestinian NGOs in Israel: The Politics of Civil Society" (2005), pg 129
  13. ^ The Accused – Part II: Failures and Omissions by the Attorney General in Investigating the October 2000 Events (PDF) (Report). Haifa: Adalah. October 2011.
  14. ^ Pappe, Ilan, "The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel" (2011), pg 210
  15. ^ Ze'ev
Begin (23 January 2013). Regulating the
Negev (PDF) (Report). Jerusalem: Adalah.
  16. ^ "Re: Memorandum of Law on the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, 5773-2013" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to Members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs. April 18, 2013.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ a b "Pending Civil and Political Rights Cases". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Pending Land and Planning Cases". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Pending Occupied Palestinian Territory Cases". Retrieved 22 March 2019.