After Four Years of Non-Compliance, Adalah Submits Motion for Contempt to Israeli Supreme Court against the Prime Minister for Failure to Implement "National Priority Areas" Decision

On Sunday, 20 June 2010, Adalah filed a motion for contempt of court to the Israeli Supreme Court against the Prime Minister due to the government's failure to implement the court's decision in the "National Priority Areas" case. The Israeli Supreme Court delivered the landmark judgment in February 2006. In this case, a seven-justice panel of the court ruled that governmental decision No. 2288, which classified communities as "National Priority Areas" (NPAs) for the purposes of affording significant state financial benefits in the field of education discriminated against Arab towns and villages in Israel. Out of 553 communities that were classified as NPAs according to decision No. 2288, only four were Arab.  

Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Sawsan Zaher filed the motion for contempt in the name of Adalah, and on behalf of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel and the Follow-up Committee on Arab Education.

The Supreme Court ruled that governmental decision No. 2288 must be voided on the grounds that it is discriminatory and illegal, and gave the state one year to implement the court's decision. When that period expired, the state asked the court for an extension of the time, and Adalah submitted a motion for contempt. Following these proceedings, the court ruled that the period for the implementation would be extended to 1 September 2009, and emphasized the severity of the state's non-compliance with implementing the decision on time.

Nonetheless, after 1 September 2009, the government decided to extend the validity of governmental decision No. 2288 for a further two and a half years, until 13 January 2012. This extension was made through article 26 of the Economic Arrangements Law - 2009, which was approved by the Knesset on 14 July 2009. The aim of this article, entitled "National Priority Areas," is purportedly to regulate the issue of the definition and classification of towns and areas as NPAs.

In the motion for contempt, Adalah argued that the state's non-compliance and failure to implement is a severe breach of the rule of law and against the principle of the separation of powers. Further, the failure to implement perpetuates the very discrimination which the court sought to eliminate in its judgment in the High Follow-up Committee case in 2006.

Case Citation: HCJ 2773/98 and HCJ 11163/03, The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel v. The Prime Minister of Israel

Motion for contempt