Adalah files motion to Israeli Supreme Court for extraordinary second hearing on Umm al-Hiran

Adalah: "The 5 May 2015 Supreme Court decision sets a dangerous historical precedent."

On 7 June 2015, Adalah filed a motion to the Israeli Supreme Court requesting an extraordinary second hearing on the case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran, following its ruling on 5 May 2015 that approved the state’s plan to demolish and evict the Arab Bedouin residents in order to establish a new Jewish town called "Hiran" over its ruins. 29 human rights and civil society organizations in Israel, including Adalah, called the ruling "unjust, racist and discriminatory" in a front-page ad published in Haaretz in Hebrew on 7 June 2015.


In the motion, Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen, Suhad Bishara and Mysanna Morany wrote that the Court's ruling on 5 May 2015 failed to conform to the law, overturning prior Supreme Court precedent. The motion argued that the ruling means that the state of Israel, as owner of the lands on which Atir-Umm al-Hiran was built, can evict the residents at any time even if the state has given the residents permission to live on the land, as has been the case since 1956. The Court's ruling blocks the possibility of a constitutional defense for the Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, who have resided in the village for almost 60 years. The motion further added that if such a decision was enshrined in legislation, it would severely violate numerous other constitutional rights such as the right to property, dignity and equality.


Adalah presented a hypothetical example of the implementation of such a law: since 93% of the land in Israel is owned by the state, it would be possible to remove almost every community in the country at any time, in the same way that it would happen with Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The motion stated, "This extreme inclusion is intolerable."


Adalah's motion favorably highlighted the minority opinion of Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, which asserted that the ruling "infringes on existing laws" and that the decision to evict the residents was "unreasonable." In addition to Justice Barak-Erez's opinion, Adalah's motion was based on the positions of senior legal scholars in constitutional law and property law in Israel, which sharply criticize the Court's ruling. The petitioners cited Professor Barak Medina of the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University; Professors Hanoch Dagan and Mordechai Kreminitzer of the Israel Democracy Institute; and Dr. Ronit Levin-Schnorr, an expert in property law. All of the above legal experts unanimously found that the Court’s ruling violated the constitutional rights of the residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran.


Adalah's motion also addressed the Supreme Court's claim that the decision to evict the Bedouin residents of the village was fair and reasonable because the state was offering residents to move to the town of Hura. However, Adalah provided evidence that the Hura Municipality stated that it could not allocate any plots of lands to the residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. The motion stated that, "The principle of reasonableness and fairness must examine if the state's decision was made on the basis of facts and actual proposals offered." The motion further noted that, "Even if the state offered the residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran to live in Ramat Aviv Gimmel (an upscale neighborhood of Tel Aviv), the state's decision is still not reasonable and fair" when the goal is to establish a new settlement over the ruins of the former villages, without the current inhabitants.


Adalah further argued in its motion: "The 1,000 residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran are not trespassers as they were given permission to stay on the land 60 years ago. This permission for property rights is a constitutional right that cannot be infringed upon based on the state's arbitrary decisions driven by racist motives. There has never been a ruling such as this in the Supreme Court's history since 1948, and it permits the implementation of further plans to dispossess and displace the Bedouin of the Naqab/Negev, such as the Prawer Plan."


Case Citation:


For more information:


Adalah’s motion for a second hearing, linked here in Hebrew


English excerpts of the Supreme Court’s 5 May 2015 decision, linked here.


Follow our #Save_UmAlHiran campaign page, linked here.