Adalah, ACRI: Supreme Court ruling allows government to delegate land-use authorities to a body with racially discriminatory policies against Arab citizens

Court okays Israeli gov’t transfer of land-use authorities to World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division, which advances interests of Jewish citizens only.


The Israeli Supreme Court today, 6 September 2017, rejected a petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) demanding the cancellation of an amendment to a law that allows the Israeli government to transfer part of its land-use authorities to a private body that acts exclusively to advance the interests of Israeli Jewish citizens.


The amendment to the World Zionist Organization - Jewish Agency (Status) Law (originally approved by the Knesset in 1952), passed a Knesset vote on 24 December 2015. It grants the World Zionist Organization's (WZO) Settlement Division authority over settlement, land acquisition, and the establishment and expansion of development projects.


Adalah and ACRI issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court decision:


“To our dismay, the Supreme Court today decided to authorize the transfer of government authority and grant significant resources to the [World Zionist Organization] Settlement Division, a body that  defines itself and and its policy as operating strictly on behalf of Jewish interests. It also declares very specifically that the ideological motivations upon which its operations are based are inconsistent with the principle of equality for the Arab population.  Adalah and ACRI express deep concern that not only will the interests of Arab citizens no longer be taken into account in areas such as housing and land zoning, but that the Supreme Court ruling grants the state a license to transfer authority to a body that implements policies of racial segregation against Arab citizens in violation of their rights to equality and human dignity.”


Case citation: HCJ 778/17, Adalah and ACRI v. Knesset, Government, Agriculture Minister, & World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division (decision delivered 6 September 2017)


CLICK HERE to read the Supreme Court decision [Hebrew]