The Supreme Court Orders the Ministry of Health to Set a Timetable for Building Mother & Child Clinics in the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev


In a Supreme Court hearing held today on Adalah’s Motion for Contempt, Chief Justice Aharon Barak, Justice Dahlia Dorner and Justice Tova Strasberg-Cohen ruled that the Ministry of Health must provide a timetable, within 60 days, for the establishment of Mother & Child clinics in unrecognized villages in the Negev.  The justices expressed their disapproval of the Ministry’s delay in implementing the Supreme Court’s March 1999 decision ordering the construction of the Clinics.  As Chief Justice Barak stated: “Not implementing the decision regarding the establishment of Mother and Child clinics is unsatisfactory.”

The Supreme Court further recommended that the Galilee Society, a Palestinian Arab NGO in Israel, continue to provide mobile medical services in six unrecognized villages until the Ministry of Health builds the clinics, and that the Ministry of Health should provide the funding for these services.  Galilee Society Director, Dr. Basel Ghattas, stated that the Galilee Society will continue to provide these service, if the Ministry of Health gives the necessary funding. The Court gave the Ministry of Health 15 days to reply, as to whether it will fund the Galilee Society for the provision of mobile medical services.

In December 1997, Adalah filed a petition on behalf of 121 Arab Bedouin and 3 NGOs against the Ministry of Health (MOH), demanding that it build 12 Mother and Child Clinics in the unrecognized villages in the Negev.  In March 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the MOH must construct six Mother & Child clinics, and provide transportation to neighboring recognized towns with clinic services in 1999.  In January 2000, Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen filed a Motion for Contempt against the MOH for its failure to implement the Court’s decision, seeking the immediate establishment of the Clinics and a heavy fine.