Land and Planning Rights

Planning and Development | Land Allocation and Housing Assistance | Unrecognized Villages


The Arab minority in Israel has long suffered state discrimination in matters of land and planning rights. Dating back to the 1950 Absentees' Property Law, used to seize control of land owned by the Palestinian refugees forced to flee in 1948, Israel has used legal implements to marginalize Arab citizens. Since then, Israel has consistently employed a discriminatory land distribution policy. While over 1000 new Jewish communities have been established, not a single Arab settlement has been authorized. Jewish settlements in the Naqab are retroactively recognized, while Bedouin villages that pre-date Israel's independence are not – left without water, electricity, or infrastructure. Arab towns and villages are over-represented among the state's lowest socioeconomic tiers.

Adalah is actively challenging these laws from a range of angles across the country. Our legal advocacy efforts include, among others, petitioning the courts and planning committees against forced evictions and home demolitions in the Naqab; attacking the 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 ones; and seeking to overturn policies which discriminate against Arabs in the provision of mortgages and housing assistance.

A complete list of cases is available here. To filter by specific topics, use the links above:


The Right to an Address for Arab Citizens Living in Unrecognized Villages
HCJ 3607/97, Mohammed Sawa'ed, et. al. v. Ministry of the Interior, et. al. Latest Update 3.2.2011
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Recognition for the Unrecognized Neighborhood of Al-Jelasi
HCJ 7960/99, Hashem Sawa'ed, et. al. v. Regional Council of Misgav, et. al.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Expansion of the Jurisdiction of Omer Municipality to Encompass the Land of Arab Unrecognized Villages
HCJ 6672/00, Jazi Abu Kaf, et. al. v. Minister of the Interior, et. al.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Challenging Demolition Orders against the Sawaed Brothers' Homes in Husseniya.
Permission for Criminal Appeal 1782/03, Misgav Local Planning and Building Committee v. Yousef and Housni Sawaed.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
45 Urgent Motions to Cancel Ex Parte Demolition Orders Issued against Almost All Homes in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Al-Sura in the Naqab
Beer el-Sebe Magistrates' Court, Different Motions 9364/06 Suleiman Nasasra and Adalah v. The State of Israel
Last Update: 08/08/2007
Demanding that the Arab Town of Jisr al-Zarqa be Connected via Roadway to the Tel Aviv-Haifa Coastal Highway
A.P. 1998/08 Local Council of Jisr al-Zarqa v. Ma'atz (Public Works Agency)
Last Update: 24/06/2008
Motions to Cancel Ex Parte Demolition Orders Against 33 homes in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab
Beer el-Sabe Magistrates' Court, Different Motions 6928/03 Abu el-Qian Ali, et al. v. The State of Israel Beer el-Sebe Magistrates' Court, Different Motions 8477/06 Abu el-Qian Ali, et al. v. The State of Israel
Last Update: 25/01/2012
Seeking the Cancellation of Evacuation Lawsuits Against about 1,000 Arab Bedouin Citizens of Israel Living in Atir-Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab and Demanding Recognition for the Unrecognized Village
Beer el-Sabe Magistrates' Court, Civil File 3326/04 and 1769/08 The State of Israel and the Israel Land Administration v. Ibrahim Farhood Abu el-Qian, et al.
Appeal Against Magistrate Court Decision: Beer el-Sebe Magistrates' Court, C.A. 11165/09 Ibrahim Abu Al-Qia'an et al. v. The State of Israel

Last Update: 24/01/2012
Motion for Permission to Appeal State Demolition of Atir-Umm el-Hiran to Build Jewish Hiran
Motion for Permission to Appeal 3094/11 Ibrahim Farhood Abu al-Qi'an, et al v. The State of Israel
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Objection Submitted against the Building of a New Jewish Town to be Called "Hiran" on the Land on which Atir-Umm al-Hieran is Located (the Nahal Yatir area)
Planning Committee, objection filed in 1/11 by Adalah, Bimkom and the Arab Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hieran to the National Council for Planning and Building (NCPB)
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Seeking Cancellation of Discriminatory ILA Land Distribution Decision
In 10/03, Adalah filed a petition and a motion for an injunction to the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Committee of Arab Mayors and in its own name against the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Industry and Trade. The petitioners asked the Court to cancel an ILA decision, approved by the government, which awards a 90% discount on the price of leasing lands managed by the ILA to discharged Israeli soldiers and individuals who have completed one year of national service. The ILA decision applies to 423 towns containing fewer than 500 residential units in the Galilee in the north of Israel and the Naqab (Negev) in the south that also have been designated by the government as National Priority Areas, and entails a massive redistribution of land. None of the towns covered by the ILA decision was Arab. Towns classified as "A" or "B" priority areas receive substantial, lucrative benefits such as extra educational funding, additional mortgage grants and tax exemptions to residents, and tax breaks to local industries.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Challenging ILA Policy of Tenders Open Only to Jews for Jewish National Fund Lands
Petition submitted in 10/04 against the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Minister of Finance (MOF), demanding the cancellation of an ILA policy and a regulation promulgated by the MOF, permitting the marketing and allocation of JNF lands through bids open only to Jews. Adalah also requested an injunction ordering the ILA to freeze all open and imminent tenders for JNF lands and ban their lease pending a final decision on the petition. Under Israeli law the ILA manages "Israel's lands." Since 1948, large tracts of Arab-owned land have been confiscated or otherwise appropriated under law and taken into the possession of the state or Zionist institutions, such as the JNF, for exclusive use by Jews, bringing about state control of over 93% of the land in Israel. "Israel's lands" include land owned by the JNF. Of the 2.5 million dunams of land currently owned by the JNF (approximately 13% of the total land in Israel), close to two million dunams were transferred to it by the state in 1949 and 1953, giving the JNF special status under Israeli law. The JNF enjoys a huge influence over land distribution policy in Israel, nominating, for example, half of the members of the ILA Council. Although under Israeli law state-owned land cannot be sold, the JNF's special status enables the transfer of lands to it from the state. The ILA has acknowledged that tenders for JNF lands are only open to Jews, claiming that the agreement signed between the state and the JNF in 1961 obliges it to respect the objectives of the JNF, which include settling Jews on lands and properties within the Israeli government's jurisdiction.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Challenging Discriminatory Governmental Policies Regarding the Leasing of Land and Eligibility for Housing Assistance in Arab Bedouin Towns in the Naqab
Petition and motion for an injunction submitted to the Supreme Court in 10/05 in Adalah's name and on behalf an Arab Bedouin citizen of Israel against the Bedouin Development Agency (BDA), the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), and the Ministry of Construction and Housing. The petition challenged the following policies governing eligibility to lease land in Arab Bedouin towns in the Naqab: (i) the BDA requirement that individuals submitting applications must have served in the Israeli army or in other Israeli security forces; (ii) the ILA's Decision No. 1028 from 5/05, which affords large discounts on the price of leasing land to those who have served in the Israeli army or in other Israeli security forces; and (iii) the Ministry of Construction and Housing's policy of not issuing a certificate required by the BDA to an applicant who is married to a non-citizen, irrespective of the couple's socio-economic situation.
Last Update: 24/01/2012
Discriminatory State Financial Support to Former Soldiers for Home Mortgages.
HCJ 11956/05 Suhad Bishara, et. al. v. the Ministry of Construction and Housing
Last Update: 13/12/2006
Motion for Second Hearing
HCJ 1241/07, Suhad Bishara, et. al. v. the Ministry of Construction and Housing
Last Update: 27/10/2007
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