Knesset 'adding insult to injury' with approval of Kaminitz Law
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel responded harshly on 6 April, 2017 to the Israeli Knesset's approval of the discriminatory Kaminitz Law the previous night.
The amendment to the Planning and Building Law – 1965, also known as the Kaminitz Law, is intended to increase the “enforcement and penalization of planning and building offenses.” However, it will have a disparate impact on Arab citizens of Israel because it fails to take into account the decades of systematic discrimination in state land planning and allocation against them that has resulted in a severe housing crisis in Arab towns and villages throughout Israel.
Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany said: "The Israeli government is adding insult to injury. After years of racist housing and planning policies that discriminate against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, the government is now initiating a new law that will pave the way for a wave of home demolitions in Arab communities. The state's ongoing failures in Arab villages, towns, and cities are the primary and most significant cause of unauthorized construction in these communities, but to this the government has turned a blind eye. Enforcement of this law will cause additional injustice to the Arab public in the area of housing and planning. The current situation requires both a system-wide solution that must take into account the characteristics of each individual Arab community as well as a comprehensive vision of fair and just development."
The main objectives of the Kaminitz Law are: (1) To concentrate enforcement powers for planning issues into the hands of a national body, which is authorized to take some of these powers from local planning committees; (2) To expand the use of the state’s administrative powers to implement demolition and eviction orders, and other aspects of the law, while limiting the judicial review of the courts; and (3) To markedly increase the use and severity of financial penalties for offenses under the law.