Adalah and Kfar Kama Residents Petition Nazareth District Court to Change Land Bid Affording Preferences to Former Israeli Soldiers

A.P. 201/09 Shamsi v. Israel Land Administration


On 26 July 2009, Adalah submitted a petition to the Nazareth District Court on behalf of four residents of the village of Kfar Kama demanding that the court order the Israel Land Administration (ILA) and the Ministry of Construction and Housing to change a land tender procedure. The current procedure gives preference to individuals who have served in the Israeli military. The petition was filed by Adalah Attorney Haneen Naamnih.


Immediately after the submission of the petition, the court issued a temporary injunction to freeze the tender until 6 August 2009, when a hearing will be held. The court stipulated however that the petitioners must sign a NIS 100,000 guarantee to be paid as damages in the event that the injunction causes detriment to the ILA, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, or other parties. The petitioners refused to sign this guarantee and await the court hearing to challenge this demand.

Kfar Kama is a town with a population of around 3,000, largely comprised of Circassian citizens and located in the Galilee region of Israel. The bid allocates 18 plots of land for building in the village for those who have no registered ownership of any dwelling, according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Construction and Housing. The lack of housing is a fundamental prerequisite for entering the bid; however the bid gives priority to those who have served in the Israeli military forces.  The bid process is as follows: At the outset, lots are drawn among those who lack housing and have served in the military forces, and land is allocated to those who win; afterwards, any land that remains is distributed to those who win the lots, from the group that lack housing and have not served in the military.
In the petition, Attorney Naamnih argued that carrying out the bid in this way would adversely affect the petitioners and other villagers who have not served in the military and in effect, would leave them without a solution to the housing crisis. As the number of people who lack housing and have served in the military greatly exceeds the other group, the likelihood of land plots remaining for those who did not serve in the military is almost nonexistent.
For many years, Kfar Kama has suffered from a housing crisis:  Since 2000, no plots of land have been allocated by the state for housing. Even in 2000, preference was given to those who served in the military.

Adalah argued that the conditions set in the bidding process discriminate against the petitioners, affect their fundamental right to housing, contradict the principle of equality in the distribution of land and indicate serious failures of the ILA and the Ministry of Construction and Housing, which are responsible for the equal distribution of land.

In the petition, Adalah stressed that the method of land allocation does not contribute to advancing the social objective of the bid, which is to help those residents of the village of Kfar Kama who lack housing. Adalah further argued that: "the criteria set by the Ministry of Construction and Housing to define those who lack housing is based on the principle of the absence of the opportunity for alternative housing, and therefore, the addition of service in the security forces clause is totally illogical, as it is irrelevant to the other criteria."

Moreover, Adalah argued that the Knesset enacted a specific law in 1994 to support the housing needs of demobilized soldiers. Thus, there is no justification for the method used by the ILA to allocate land in this bid, which affects the rights of all individuals in the village without housing.

 Administrative Petition 201/09, Shamsi v. Israel Land Administration (case pending).