Adalah Submits a Petition to the Supreme Court of Israel Challenging the Discriminatory Implementation of the Government's "Neighborhood Renewal Project"


Today, Adalah Attorney Marwan Dalal, on behalf of the Committee of Arab Municipalities, three Palestinian Arab NGOs, and individuals, filed a petition against the Prime Minister and the Minister of Building & Housing for discriminatory implementation of the "Neighborhood Renewal Project." 

The petitioners argue that the Neighborhood Renewal Project, started in 1977, was applied in a discriminatory and prejudicial manner against Arab municipalities. The petitioners rely on the fact that the Project is applied in 56 Israeli Jewish municipalities, as well as in 99 Israeli Jewish neighborhoods, whereas it is implemented only in 4 Arab villages and 14 Arab neighborhoods. Despite the stated purpose of the Project, which is to reduce societal inequalities in the country, the vast majority of the poorest Arab municipalities are excluded from the Project. According to Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) data, the 13 poorest Israeli Jewish municipalities are included in the Project, as compared with only 5 out of the 48 poorest Arab municipalities. Furthermore, CBS statistics demonstrate that household earnings are less in the poorest Arab Municipalities than they are in the Jewish towns, and that the Arab municipalities have higher rates of unemployment and household occupancy rates. The Project's budget for 1999 was 222 million NIS. The Arab municipalities received 20 million NIS or just 9% of the budget, which was not increased for the year 2000. 

The petitioners requested that the Court order the Minister of Building & Housing and the Prime Minister to set clear socio-economic standards for participation in the Project, otherwise its implementation would remain arbitrary. The petitioners also asked the Court to order the respondents to include the poorest Arab municipalities in the Project, as they did for the poorest Israeli Jewish neighborhoods. The poorest Arab municipalities are: Tal el-Sabe, Kfar Manda, Kabul, Kfar Kana, Boene Njedat, Tooba Zangariya, Bir el-Maksour, Tamra, Nahaf, Shaa'b, Mghar, Ebileen, Sakhnin, Mashhad, Dier Hanna, and Ilut. 

See Ha'aretz English Edition, January 31, 2000