Request to Draw a New Master Plan for the Daliyat al-Carmel Village

HCJ 7649/09 Tawfeq Zedan, et al. v. National Council for Planning and Building

On 7 January 2010, in an exceptional decision , the Haifa District Court ordered the National Council for Planning and Building to prepare a new master plan for the village of Daliyat al-Carmel with the involvement of the residents, the Popular Committee and their appointed experts.  

This decision came following a petition submitted by Adalah in March 2009, on behalf of 43 residents of the village and the Popular Committee, demanding the cancellation of the master plan for the village and the preparation of an alternative plan drafted in consultation with the village residents. The petition was filed by Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara and Adalah's Urban and Regional Planner, Hana Hamdan. Adalah Attorney Ala' Mahajneh represented the petitioners in court.

In the petition, Adalah argued that the approved master plan would necessarily lead to the demolition of hundreds of homes belonging to Arab citizens of Israel that have existed for tens of years. In addition, the plan does not increase the jurisdictional area of the village or add any new construction areas, despite the great 'natural growth' that has occurred in the village over the years. This growth had forced residents to build outside the areas permitted by the master plan.  The new master plan, which was approved last year, ignored the existence of these homes and kept them outside of the village's area, which would expose them to the risk of demolition.

During a hearing held on 7 January 2010, Attorney Ala' Mahajneh presented the court with an expert opinion of an engineer which contained data clearly showing that hundreds of homes are at risk of demolition if the new master plan is applied and therefore the need arises for an alternative master plan. The court accepted these arguments and ordered the postponement of deliberations on this issue for several months until the completion of an alternative master plan which would respond to some of the petitioners' arguments.

In Adalah's view, this case illustrates the unprofessional, political manner in which the planning authorities worked against the interests of the village's residents. The most important point of the court's decision is that the planning authorities are obliged to consult with the residents and their appointed experts during the preparation of the new master plan. This approach should ensure the preparation of a better master plan, and save hundreds of homes, buildings and facilities in the village from the shadow of demolition.

Case Citation: Administrative Petition 7649/09, Tawfiq Zeidan, et al. v. National Council for Planning and Building (Haifa District Court) (decision delivered 7 January 2010).