Hearing held on Objection to Wadi ‘Ara Road Expansion

Adalah, ACAP and the Public Committee call for cancelling the plan and formulating a new alternative plan that does not impede on the basic rights and needs of Arab citizens in the Triangle region.

The objection calls for cancelling the plan and formulating a new alternative plan that does not impede on the basic rights and needs of Arab citizens in the Triangle region.

Yesterday, 9 March 2014, The National Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on an objection submitted by Adalah, together with the Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) and the Public Committee in Wadi Ara, against the planned expansion of Wadi ‘Ara Road (Road no. 65) in order to turn it into a highway. The plan would lead to the confiscation of vast areas of land from Arab towns, and ignores the need for standard planning considerations as well as the participation of land owners in the area. The objection was prepared by Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, urban planners Inaya Bana and Hana Hamdan, and the head of the Public Committee in Wadi ‘Ara, Mr. Ahmad Milhem. The National Infrastructure Committee is due to deliver its decision by the end of this month.

According to the objection, the eastern cross-section of the road imposes physical limits that prevent the expansion of five Arab towns, in contrast to Jewish towns in the western cross-section of the road that have expanded significantly over the past years. This leads to a significant discrepancy in land between Arab and Jewish towns, since Arab towns are overpopulated and lack any extra land, while Jewish towns have large areas for development and expansion.

The objection noted that the 109,000 Arab citizens living in Wadi ‘Ara, located in the Triangle area in the center of Israel, live on only 53,000 dunums of land, while the 17,000 Jewish citizens in the area live on 112,000 dunums. The planners did not take into account that there are also vast socio-economic differences between the Arab and Jewish towns, which clearly demonstrate the inequality and segregation in the area.

The objection further states that the National Master Plan TAMA 35, currently in existence, completely ignored the planning needs of Arab towns in the region as well as the effects of reduced spaces intended for housing and development. As a result, these Arab towns are forced to carry the burden of meeting the "public needs" that are not addressed in the national projects, unlike Jewish towns in the area which do not face the same burdens. The plan further ignores the potential for development in these extremely limited Arab towns, and would lead to the restriction of building in many areas and the demolition of homes in other areas.

In addition, the objectors argued that the plan to turn the road into a highway alters the former’s main purpose. It would affect access to these towns and separate some towns from each other as a result of high walls and bridges and the closing of side streets. Furthermore, these changes will inevitably affect the commercial stands located on the side of the road. The stands are dependant on the existence of the road as it currently is, because it allows passers-by to easily stop their cars on the side of the road in order to purchase goods. These businesses would be forced to close when the existing road turns into a highway.


The objection concluded that the plan is discriminatory against Arab citizens based on their national origin, and did not involve the participation of the public as is required by professional planning standards. The plan also unnecessarily requires the confiscation of private land. The objectors called for the immediate termination of the plan and demanded an alternative plan that would ensure the basic rights and needs of all citizens in the region.