Adalah Files a Petition to Israel’s Supreme Court on Behalf of the Unrecognized Neighborhood of Al-Jelasi


Al-Jelasi is a neighborhood in the Arab village of Kammaneh, located in the north of Israel near Karmiel.  Al-Jelasi forms the center of the village, which also includes West and East Kammaneh.  Both Al-Jelasi and Kammaneh as a whole have existed since the 1930’s, yet until 1995, neither were recognized by the government of Israel.  In 1993, a steering committee was formed to plan and prepare the village of Kammaneh for its impending recognition and municipality status.  This committee was headed by the Regional Council of Misgav, and included representatives from various governmental bodies, East and West Kammaneh, and nearby Jewish communities.  Despite objections, this steering committee decided to exclude Al-Jelasi and its 160 inhabitants from Kammaneh, thus subjecting its residents to the continued threat of house demolitions and the denial of all basic services and infrastructure.  The primary objective of this exclusion was to force the migration of the population of Al-Jelasi to the other neighborhoods of Kammaneh, thus leaving its lands open for the expansion of the nearby Jewish village of Kamoun, which had been a member of the steering committee. 

On Tuesday, November 9, 1999, Adalah, through Staff Attorney Jamil Dakwar, filed a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court on behalf of the residents of Al-Jelasi against the Regional Council of Misgav, both the District and Local Planning Committees, the National Planning Council, and the Ministry of Interior.  Adalah argued that the government’s decision to recognize Kammaneh must relate to all the village’s neighborhoods, and that the continued denal of recognition to Al-Jelasi violated the rights of its residents.  Adalah utilized the expert opinions of architects and professional planners to demonstrate that there were no planning considerations which should have necessitated the exclusion of Al-Jelasi from the rest of Kammaneh.  In fact, Adalah’s petition demonstrated that without Al-Jelasi, the village of Kammaneh is not even a contiguous entity. 

On November 14, 1999, the Supreme Court granted an order nisi in the case.  This decision recognizes the strong legal basis of Adalah’s petition, and commands the respondents to set forth its legal reasons why Al-Jelasi was excluded from recognition within 60 days.  (HC 7260/99, Hashem Sawahed, et. al. v. Regional Council of Misgav, et. al., filed 11/99) 

The Arab Association for Human Rights also reported on this case in its weekly discrimination diary (November 12, 1999).