Why I believe Israel is an apartheid state — Zackie Achmat
South Africa’s John Vorster, the architect of Apartheid and an outspoken Nazi sympathizer, meets with Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Yitzhak Rabin. Jerusalem, 1976.
This is the full text of the speech I delivered University of Cape Town — Palestine Solidarity Forum — Israeli Apartheid Week 06 March 2012.
The accompanying picture should speak a million words to people of conscience. An alliance between two apartheid states cemented with arms to promote and protect racial oppression and colonisation.
AL-KHALIL FREEDOM FOR THE PEOPLE OF HEBRON, PALESTINE, APARTHEID ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE-EAST
In the histories and oftentimes contesting narratives of the world, all people of Jewish, Christian and Muslim descent affirm, assert or seek our roots in the traditions of Abraham. We imagine the birth of our current or past faiths in Al Khalil or Hebron (as it is more widely known), the home and burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Contemporary secularists, agnostics and atheists of Jewish, Christian and Muslim descent (such as I am) cannot escape the significance of Al-Khalil.
We cannot avert our eyes from nor turn our backs on this ancient Palestinian town. It is our duty to look back and to act.
Hebron or Al Khalil is also located in one of the most important and durable human bonds – friendship. Abraham’s narrative as The Friend of God is rewritten today in the enmity of Al-Khalil’s ancient inhabitants – the Jewish, Christian, Muslim people of faith and those of no faith in Palestine and Israel.
The global solidarity movement with the Palestinian people in Israel, the Occupied Territories and the refugee camps indict Israel as an apartheid state. From Cape Town to Tel Aviv, Warsaw to New York and from Berlin to Boston, from Khayelitsha to Calcutta, from Sau Paulo to Lyon we call for an end to apartheid in Hebron, the Occupied Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza as well as Israel. We oppose Israeli terror and claim the heritage – “Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself”.
“WE SHOULD HAVE SLAUGHTERED THE ARABS OF HEBRON ONE BY ONE”: IS ISRAEL A COLONIAL SETTLER STATE?
In 1967, Rabbi Yehezkel Sarna who survived the 1929 massacre of Al-Khalil’s Jewish people by Palestinians attended a meeting with then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. Sarna said: “I want you to clear out the street for me…[we] should have slaughtered the Arabs of Hebron one by one”. (Segev:698)
Sarna was referring to the further conquest and colonisation of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim people by the state of Israel during the 1967 war. The humiliation, degradation and occupation of the people of Al-Khalil were settled on that day.
The massacre of 1929 was an unacceptable (and at times) even an anti-semitic response to reactionary Zionist settlement but nevertheless, it must be understood as the response of a people to foreign conquest of their land and livelihood.
Even in the desperation of a colonisation process, a minority of the Palestinian people of Al-Khalil/Hebron protected their Jewish neighbours.
Tom Segev, the Israeli historian’s book 1967 – Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East (2007) based on historical documents, state archives, interviews, books and newspapers of the time is a meticulous work of scholarship. He provides an unchallengeable background to the further conquest of Palestinian lands in 1967 by the Israeli state. All of us know that the West Bank and Gaza as well as other Palestinian land were conquered in the Israeli war against the Arabs in June 1967. Often, the detail and voices are drowned by dates and general statements of condemnation in our texts of protest. In every contest between immoral power and the power of solidarity, we must preserve every voice and every historical detail that can be recovered to inform our struggles for justice.
In May 1967, a few weeks before the war, Marcel Liebman a great socialist and Jewish intellectual living in France exchanged a series of letters with his comrades Ralph and Marion Milliband. His letters foretold the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza. (See Gilbert Achar ed. The Israeli Dilemma: Letters between Ralph Milliband and Marcel Liebman (2006) Merlin Press.
Liebman argued that “Israel means for the Arabs humiliation, threats and (in some cases) wholesale usurpation. … The Jewish settlers constituted a foreign element there: I mean an element without contacts with the indigenous population… or whose existence was denied. “ (Liebman & Milliband:28-29)
Here Liebman referred to conquest before and after 1948, a conquest that made the Muslim and Christian people of Palestine invisible in the same way that White South Africa in the past (and many to this day) failed to see the humanity of Black people. The 1967 was entrenched this failure to recognise the humanity of the Palestinians. To this day the invisibility of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories remain of life for most people in Israel.If Israelis were to see the humanity of the Palestinians they would have to admit to a brutal conquest and continuous terrorising of a people in their name.
Marcel Liebman’s memoir of the Occupation
Liebman lived under Nazi Occupation of Europe and particularly his homeland Belgium. His brother was killed in Auschwitz; he himself hid and faced the daily terror of discovery by the Nazis. Never mind that we have the duty to resist oppression everywhere irrespective of our identities, his detractors will claim that Liebman did not live the reality of Israel or its wars.
After the 1967 war, Amos Elon, an Israeli who supported the war wrote of the Palestinian refugees of the 1948 Naqba: “[w]e have a moral obligation because the road to Israel’s independence was paved on the backs of these people, and they paid with their bodies, their property and their future for the pogroms in the Ukraine and the Nazi gas chambers.” (Segev:632)
Earlier I compared Jewish Israelis to White South Africans. For many years and until the war against the people of Gaza, I resisted the apartheid comparison because analogies could be simplistic. I have now adopted the comparison not because my experience of apartheid suggests a limited similarity but under white minority rule, I never found anything as cruel and systematic (in that system) as the Israeli Occupation. The United Nations declared apartheid a crime against humanity – I use the definition of Israel as an apartheid state because its policy and practice is in my knowledge and experience worse than apartheid. For me, the conquest of 1948, the Occupation in 1967 and the ongoing and daily war against the people of Palestine must be seen by every person of conscience locally and globally as a crime against humanity.
IS ISRAEL AN APARTHEID STATE?
The assertion that Israel is an apartheid state does not automatically make it one.
In February 2010, I had not fully clarified my personal understanding of the territorial resolution of the conflict and the question of the strongest armed forces in the Middle-East that of Israel. After serious discussion with my comrades, I was convinced of some fundamental problems with a one-state solution to which I could not give an answer.
The power of the apartheid state in South Africa was based mainly White army but more than half its police and most of its prison warders were black while the state and capitalism could not exist without the Black working class. Even some of the poorest White people employed Black women to raise their children, clean their homes and listen to their woes of “lazy Blacks”. Their plush gardens could not exist without “the Boy”; a Black man denied humanity most often the subject of racist pity and paternalism.
In Apartheid Israel, the character of the state is much worse and the Israelis need never “see” a Palestinian certainly not in their homes. The problem is the power of an ideologically mobilised and armed population led by an army. Increasingly the officer corps of the Israeli armed forces is dominated by extreme right-wing Orthodox Jewish fanatics who benefit economically from Occupation and apartheid but they do not rely on Palestinian labour. The demand for one-state does not automatically dissolve ideology, army or integrate armed settlers. For these reasons, I still (but very sceptically now) support two-states. Israel stands in the way of a two-state solution that gives freedom, justice, equality and dignity for all any meaning.
My observations below are based on personal experience during visits to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories between 2008 and 2011 and almost daily contact with Jewish and Palestinian activists in that region. Nothing that I had read could prepare me for the existential horror of the Palestinian people (Christian and Muslim) I experienced on a Breaking the Silence tour of Al-Khalil/Hebron.
Desolate streets, eerily empty of people, the Magen David – Star of David painted on the doors of Palestinian homes and shops with graffiti “Death to the Arabs”, “Arabs are vermin”, “Arabs to the gas chambers” all confronted me. An Israeli soldier I spoke to was nervous and uncomfortable about his role in Occupation. On that day I spoke to a Palestinian school principal who confirmed everything I had seen on video, children sometimes barely five years old throwing stones at their Palestinian peers. Parents teachers and grand-parents of the Palestinian children were similarly abused, spat on and stoned. On another day, I listened to a Palestinian grandmother speaking of how her home was raided and on a different occasion how she was stoned by a child no older than 12 years while Israeli soldiers and her settler parents watched.
South Africa “Beach and Sea Whites Only
Under apartheid we had “Whites Only” amenities but except for a very brief period in Pretoria our people were never banned from streets. Black people had to use back-entrances to White people’s homes and even their shops but they were never forced to use the back-entrance of their own homes. In Al-Khalil, I witnessed Palestinians reduced to using back-entrances or holes in walls to enter their own homes. My family were forcibly removed from their homes under the Group Areas Act but they were never expelled from the country of their birth.
Palestinians in the occupied territories are also subjected to ‘administrative detention’ which is detention without charge or trial that is authorized by administrative order rather than by judicial decree. According to international law, administrative detention can be used only in the most exceptional cases, as the last means available for preventing danger that cannot be thwarted by less harmful means. Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly violates these restrictions. It is carried out under the thick cover of privilege, which denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense.
Over the years, Israel has administratively detained thousands of Palestinians for prolonged periods of time, from months to years, without prosecuting them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their attorneys to study the evidence.
Thus, making a mockery of the protections specified in Israeli and international law to protect the right to liberty and due process, the right of defendants to state their case, and the presumption of innocence. The detention and forced confessions from children kept in administrative detention is an egregious example of copying South Africa.
A small group of White women mainly mobilised through the Black Sash campaigned to free child detainees in apartheid South Africa
Far worse than any apartheid law is the Israeli armed forces jurisdiction (for almost 45 years) over Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories. Military law from British Occupation supplemented with the most advanced military technology rule the lives of every person in the Occupied Territories. The real Parliament of Palestine is an Israeli military Occupier; the real police and administrative laws is made by the army; the police who arrest, detain, shoot, kill and maim is a young Jewish woman or man hardly ready for life. The prosecutor is a soldier and the judge is a soldier. This law only applies to Palestinians but not to one of the unlawful settlers.
Steve Biko before his murder by apartheid security police on 12 September 1977
Apartheid South Africa never had two legal systems. In 1977, Stephen Bantu Biko one of South Africa’s greatest leaders died brutally at the hands of the security police while held under the Terrorism Act. In 1982, a young White doctor and trade union organiser Neil Aggett died in police custody while he was held under the Terrorism Act for suspected membership of the ANC.
Today, my comrades Yonatan Pollak and Mohammed Khatib can get tear-gassed, beaten and shot at the same protest. However, Yonatan will go to an Israeli jail with the fullest rights of a national and a citizen and facing a relatively independent judiciary. Muhammad will be held in administrative detention and face military justice with a near perfect conviction rate.
PASS LAWS AND GROUP AREAS
Across a whole century 19 million Black African people were convicted under Pass Law offences in the years between 1890s and 1985. The Pass laws were designed to maintain a cheap labour system and to prevent any family life and permanent settlement of Black people outside designated rural areas.
Once again even though I witnessed cruel and barbaric pass law raids in South Africa as a child, visited pass law courts as a teenager and helped organise against the pass laws in the 1980s, the Orwellian Israeli permit system for donkeys, carts and people simply to cross roads to work their land never existed. The white minority government never built an Apartheid Wall even though they kept troops in the townships.
Apartheid in South Africa never imprisoned a whole people through checkpoints, separate roads and a wall
The military check points were never a permanent feature of life and throughout most of apartheid did not prevent people who are ill from reaching hospitals. Apartheid never tried or could succeed in imprisoning a whole population. The Israeli State with the assistance of the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and the US has made the Occupied Territories a prison for all the people of Palestine.
In East Jerusalem, the attacks on the people of Silwan through forced removals could compare to the Group Areas Act which removed hundreds of thousands of people from their homes where White minority regime wanted to “purify” the cities and towns. Apartheid removals were never effected through using terrorist groups such as the ElAd armed settlers funded through the so-called Jewish National Fund and right-wing Zionists in the United States of America.
ISRAELI APARTHEID EDUCATION
Almost every child in Israel and the Occupied Territories whether Jewish Israeli, unlawful settler or Palestinian enter schools that are legally segretated by military and other laws. The deep inequality and the degradation of the personality of all children breeds distrust, fear and hate.
In Israel, two state education systems exist – one Jewish only and the other Palestinian only. Israel apologists say this is “not like apartheid education”. People such as Benjamin Pogrund suggest in a deceitful manner that separate education was inherited from the Ottomans and British therefore Israel cannot be held responsible.
He claims that there are no “laws” that separate the children. Pogrund says that Jewish Israeli parents with more access to resources and Jewish only local governments supplements educational subsidies. Pogrund insisted that I was ignorant, that he wanted to “illuminate” me insisting that the National Israeli Ministry of Education does not discriminate in funding education and I was lying. The number of cases before the Israeli High Court brought by Adalah and others suggest that he is being very fastidious with the truth.
Bedouin Palestinian children and families often find homes and schools demolished
Despite the Israeli government’s obligation to provide free education, thousands of children in East Jerusalem remain outside of the school system each year. According to the Jerusalem Municipality Educational Almanac for the previous school year, 4,387 Arab children are not registered in any educational institution, and have dropped out of the system. According to the 2009 State Comptroller’s Report, there was a shortage of 1000 classrooms in East Jerusalem because Israel will not give building permits for Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem classes are held in garages, apartments, offices and other venues unsuitable for education.
APARTHEID MILITARY CRIMES
Most importantly, the South African Defence Force occupied our townships, shot children, the elderly and anyone who opposed them whether with stones or placards. This lead to a courageous campaign to end conscription by progressive White youth who refused to serve in the apartheid army. However, the apartheid army never bombed our townships in the way that the Israeli army bombs the people of Palestine or harasses them every day of their lives.
TRANSPORT APARTHEID, FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND RELIGION
Dozens of bus lines run through the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, many of them subsidized by the state. They run between different Israeli settlements, connecting them to each other and cities inside Israel. Some lines connecting Jerusalem to other cities inside Israel, such as Eilat and Beit She’an, are also routed to pass through the West Bank. Israelis suffer almost no limitations on their freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territory, and are even allowed to settle in it, contrary to international law. Palestinians, in contrast, are not allowed to enter Israel without procuring a special permit from Israeli authorities. Even Palestinian movement inside the Occupied Territories is heavily restricted, with access to occupied East Jerusalem and some 8% of the West Bank in the border area also forbidden without a similar permit. This has direct impact on access to religious sites especially the Al Aqsa Mosque. While it is not officially forbidden for Palestinians to use Israeli public transportation in the West Bank, these lines are effectively segregated, since many of them pass through Jewish-only settlements, to which Palestinian entry is prohibited by a military decree.
“SWART GEVAAR”: ISRAELI APARTHEID, PALESTINIAN DEMOGRAPHY AND INVISIBILITY
In 1967 after Gaza was annexed, Israeli Prime Minister Eshkol convened a meeting with Roberto Bacci from the Central Bureau of Statistics and Aryeh Dvoretzy a professor of mathematics at the Hebrew University. Tom Segev, the Israeli historian writes: “Bacci gave Eshkol alarming information: a survey had shown that infant mortality in Gaza might decrease. ‘If we continue to be as compassionate as we are now,’ he [Bacci] said, ‘infant mortality in the territories might even come to rival that of Israeli Arabs. “ In a statement shorn of its deceit Bacci says this: “We must find a way to let more Palestinian babies die”. There is no other way to explain a statement that calls for an end to Israeli “compassion”. For Eshkol, Bacci and Dvoretzy preventable childhood deaths wereconsidered as a tool to “cleanse” Palestine. (Segev:637)
Palestinians remain invisible as human beings to most Jewish people in Israel and for the right-wing apologists of the Israeli state around the world. To quote one of Eshkol’s deputy-ministers, Arie Lova Eliav: “Like many of my generation, we have developed a blindness of sorts, the skills of not seeing living people, living Arabs”. (Segev:515)
I witnessed the language of depersonification even from judge of the Israeli Supreme Court with whom we met. Her language of “they”, “the Arabs” and “Israel’s security” was reminiscent of the apartheid generals and judges. It suggested as Edward Said remarked that Palestinians are only seen by the majority of Jewish Israelis as the extension of guns not as human beings.
These are some of the reasons that I see Israel as an apartheid state and that I call for the prosecution before the International Criminal Court of all Israeli Cabinet members past and present who remain alive and all senior military and officers for crimes against humanity.
IS A POLITICS OF INCLUSION AND MUTUAL RESPECT POSSIBLE?
The late Edward Said, an internationalist, a Palestinian, an Arab and a global public intellectual called the suicide bombing and militarism of the Palestinian resistance – Fatah, Hamas and others “magical thinking” because it failed to confront the real issues of co-existence and it let-off steam among young militants faced with a brutal occupation. In addition, the military might of the Israeli state is never threatened by such actions.
Suicide bombing and other forms of terrorism against Jewish Israelis can never be equated to resistance, it is simply wrong, immoral and in Said’s words “magical thinking” just as bombing of White South Africans was wrong.
Said wrote: “We have not at all understood the politics of non-violence. Moreover, neither have we understood the power of addressing the Israelis directly, the way the African national Congress addressed the white South Africans, as part of a politics of inclusion and mutual respect. Coexistence is our answer to Israeli exclusivism and belligerence. This is not conceding: it is creating solidarity and therefore isolating the exclusivists, the racists, the fundamentalists.” (Said:171)
In Palestine and Israel, I witnessed Mikhael Manekin one of the most courageous Orthodox Israeli who served as a soldier in the West Bank and Issa Amro a Muslim Palestinian whose ancestors have always lived in Al-Khalil working together. I saw young Palestinian activists and young Israeli anarchists place their bodies before the bulldozers and tanks of the Israeli armed forces. I saw families of the bereaved on both sides of the conflict committed to a politics of inclusion and mutual respect. I saw this because there are Jewish Israelis such as Yonatan Pollak who see Palestinians as human beings. There are also Palestinians with enormous generosity who see Jewish Israeli non-violent activists not as the military of a brutal occupier but as human beings.
HOW CAN WE MOBILISE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR THE POLITICS OF INCLUSION AND MUTUAL RESPECT?
Article 1of the UDHR declares: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Resistance against Nazism, fascism and militarism gave birth to international human rights law and it is our duty to realise these rights in memory of the survivors and victims of the Holocaust. We also owe this to the people of Palestine.
Everyone committed to freedom and equality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, non-belief or any other status is a person committed to Palestinian freedom.
My generation who resisted apartheid learnt that the broadest possible coalition can be united for freedom and equality. This must be our aim for Palestinian freedom.
We also learnt under apartheid that non-violent struggle as a principle expresses our commitment to the right to life and that the right to life also guarantees us the right to self-defence against attacks against our communities.
The unity of all people in South Africa regardless of race, the credo of our freedom struggle recognised the humanity of every person. In the same way, it is our duty to recognise the right of every Jewish person in Israel or anywhere to live without the threat or the reality of violence. They have a reciprocal duty towards Palestinian people.
We can all also recognise the right of all Jewish people in Israel (as opposed to the Diaspora) to their national home. All Jewish people in the Diaspora must have the fullest right to visit Israel and Palestine without hindrance but anyone who wishes to live there must submit to an immigration process in the same way as any other person who wishes to live there.
The right of Palestinian refugees under international law must be respected and recognised by all of us. International law provides an important framework for refugees to determine their own destiny. These include the right of return, compensation or resettlement in a third country.
Any Jewish refugees from Arab or other countries such as Ethiopia or those of the former Soviet union have the same rights of return, compensation or resettlement in a third country.
The discussion of a one- or two-state solution should not divide us or divert our energies from building a movement for freedom, justice and peace with the people of Palestine and Israel.
We can all agree on the right of every person globally but particularly in the Middle East to freedom, equality and dignity.
These principles are non-negotiable. Our strategies and tactics can diverge.
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS AND JUSTICE
I support a targeted boycott of Israel’s academic and cultural institutions, sports tours and tourist sites. I also believe in economic sanctions and restrictions of travel for every representative of the Israeli state. I believe that every Israeli war criminal must be prosecuted. No state should sell military equipment or buy it from the state of Israel.
I also believe that military commanders in Palestine who have been involved in suicide bombing and war crimes against Israeli civilians must be prosecuted.
I will work with anyone who does not agree with the strategies that I adopt but subscribes to the principles of freedom, equality, dignity, non-violence and the right to self-defence because we are all committed to a politics of inclusion and mutual respect.
Every person who struggles for freedom, equality and dignity for all people is part of the struggle for democracy, justice, self-determination and peace in Palestine, Israel and the Middle-East. Al Khalil /Hebron is our home.
To end a poem by Wilfred Owen written during World War I.
THE PARABLE OF THE OLD MAN AND THE YOUNG
So Abram rose, and clave the wood and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe [Palestine/Israel], one by one.
University of Cape Town — Palestine Solidarity Forum — Israeli Apartheid Week 06 March 2012
 I first delivered a version of this speech at New York University on 25 February 2010. Nothing I encountered over two longer stays in 2011 changed my views except to say that the situation is worse. In the text, I explain how my thinking has evolved since then.
 I believe that the Palestinian liberation and solidarity movement must problematise the concept “Zionism”. For many religious Jewish people the idea of Zionism is central to their faith but not to the creation of a state. In this sense, Zionism is a central part of their Judaism. There are people who call themselves “liberal” Zionists: some are genuinely liberal but they confuse the existing colonial and apartheid Israeli state with the legitimate desire for a national home. Most have known no other home. Extreme Zionist nationalism is racist and has become the dominant ideology of the state. As a global citizen first and a socialist, I believe that all forms of nationalism and identity politics are exclusionary and must be resisted. This position is not incompatible with a two-state solution even though I legally and morally desire a single global citizenship with open borders. I refer to Apartheid and Occupation supporters and apologists of Israel rather than Zionist because that is the result of an extremely racist nationalism. President Barack Obama is not necessarily a Zionist but he is an apologist of an extremely racist nationalism. The egregious impact of apartheid apologists when taken to its logical conclusion can be discerned in his military beligerence and dishonest unconditional support for the Israeli state as a colonial power. I hope this is a discussion that the global movement can have in relation to Israel and all identity politics without rancour and fear that we have to give up freedom and equality for all.
 The apartheid education cases below are all recorded on the Adalah website. There is a wealth of acdemic literature on the topic.
(i) Education Equal Access for Arab Students to Academic Enrichment (Shahar) Programs. Petition filed in 5/97 on behalf of the Follow-up Committee for Arab Education Rights (H.C. 2814/97, Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education, et. al. v. Minister of Education, et. al., P.D. 54 (3) 233)
(ii) Transportation to School for Arab Students. Arab children who live in Dahi, an Arab village of 700 people under the jurisdiction of the Afula Municipality (a Jewish city), attend elementary and secondary schools located 7 and 15 km, respectively, away from their village. There are no schools in Dahi. Representing 90 Arab students from Dahi, Adalah petitioned the Court in 09/97 to compel the Afula Municipality and the Ministry of Education to renew obligatory bus services to school for the students, stopped for reasons of tax disputes. The Court immediately issued an order nisi, and within one week, the respondents renewed the required bus services. Judgment 09/97 and Adalah awarded NIS 5,000 in legal expenses. (H.C. 5562/97, Maisa Zoabi, et. al. v. Municipality of Afula, et. al.)
(iii) The Establishment of Arab Schools in Beer Hadaj. A petition was filed in 7/00 with ACRI on behalf of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV), parentsâ€™ committees, and residents of the unrecognized villages against the Minister of Education (MOE) and the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council demanding that schools be built for Arab Bedouin children, citizens of Israel. At the time of the filing of the petition, there were no Arab schools in the area and children living in the unrecognized villages had to travel for long distances (32-40 km) to reach their schools, resulting in low registration and attendance rates (e.g., 34% of children between the ages of 3-18 in Beer Hadaj did not attend school). As a result of the filing of the petition, the respondents agreed to open an elementary school in Beer Hadaj and a kindergarten and first grade school in the Har HaNegev area. After numerous delays, MOE completed the schools in 2/02. In 9/02, in response to motions filed by the petitioners, respondents informed the Court that outstanding water supply and permit issues had been resolved to the satisfaction of the community. Petitioners agreed and withdrew the petition. About 600 Arab Bedouin children living in the unrecognized villages have begun to benefit from these new schools. H.C. 5221/00, Dahlala Abu Ghardud, et. al. v. Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, et. al., petition withdrawn Supreme Court Decision delivered 20 July 2000 in English
(iv) Naqab. Petition filed to Supreme Court in 4/03 on behalf of 43 children from two unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab, the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab, and several parents associations and educational organizations, against the Minister of Education and others. The petitioners demanded that the state provide free preschool education for 300 children in the two unrecognized villages, in accordance with Amendment 16 (1984) to the Compulsory Education Law â€“ 1949 and the principle of equality. “Case Review: Unrecognized Education System” by Dori Spivak, Deputy Director of Clinical Programs, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
(v) Suitable Classroom Facilities for Hearing-Impaired Arab Children. Adalah filed a petition in 5/03 on behalf of eight hearing impaired Arab children, citizens of Israel, against the Ministry of Education (MOE). Adalah demanded that the MOE reopen two hearing-impaired kindergarten classes at a school in Tirah at which the children had previously studied. In 12/02, the MOE decided to move the children to an unsafe, sub-standard kindergarten classroom. Subsequent refusals by parents to send their children to school under these hazardous conditions led to the closure of the special kindergarten classes by the MOE. Adalah argued that the MOE’s decision violates the children’s basic rights to education, dignity and equality, as well as conflicts with the stated goals of the Special Education Law (1998). In 7/03, the Court ordered the MOE to locate suitable classrooms within 15 days. The MOE identified classrooms that, while appropriate, needed extensive renovation. The MOE stated that this was the responsibility of the local municipalities. At the final hearing in 8/03, the Supreme Court ordered the MOE and the local municipalities to provide appropriate classrooms within one week, before the beginning of the new school year. It also instructed the MOE to pay NIS 10,000 in legal fees. (H.C. 4219/03, Hani Aamer et. al. v. Minister of Education et. al.) Petition in Hebrew
(vi) Demanding End to GSS Intervention in Appointments of Arab Educators. Petition, motion for injunction, and request for an urgent hearing submitted to the Supreme Court in 9/04 on behalf of the Union of Parents of Arab Students in Israel and in Adalah’s own name demanding that the General Security Service (GSS) be prohibited from intervening in the appointment of teachers, principals and inspectors to the Arab Education Division of the Ministry of Education (MOE), against the MOE, GSS and Prime Minister’ss Office. In the petition, Adalah relied upon numerous sources to confirm the GSSâ€™s intervention in the appointments of Arab educators; Adalah provided letters from three former education ministers and an affidavit from a former senior employee in the MOE, all of whom confirmed the practice of GSS intervention and that the post of deputy director of the Arab Education Division in the MOE is filled by a GSS representative. Though not a pedagogical expert, the representative has the decisive word in the appointment of Arab educators.
(vii) Seeking Cancellation of Haifa University’s Discriminatory Policy of Including Military Service as a Main Criterion in Allocating Student Housing. Adalah is representing three Arab women students at Haifa University on an appeal filed by the university to the Supreme Court against a decision of the Haifa District Court that the use of the military service criterion to allocate student dorms discriminates against Arab students and must be cancelled. Those who have performed military service, overwhelmingly Jewish students, are granted 35% of the points needed to qualify for a place in the dorms, while students who did not serve in the military, almost all of whom are Arabs, are not awarded these points.
(viii) Seeking Cancellation of Haifa University’s Discriminatory Policy of Including Military Service as a Main Criterion in Allocating Student Housing. Adalah is representing three Arab women students at Haifa University on an appeal filed by the university to the Supreme Court against a decision of the Haifa District Court that the use of the military service criterion to allocate student dorms discriminates against Arab students and must be cancelled. Those who have performed military service, overwhelmingly Jewish students, are granted 35% of the points needed to qualify for a place in the dorms, while students who did not serve in the military, almost all of whom are Arabs, are not awarded these points.