The day before last Land Day, Friday March 29, a protest was held in Jadeidi-Makr, a merged Arab-Palestinian local council east of Acre in the north of the country. The protest was against the intention of Israeli authorities to approve a development plan which is expected to dramatically increase the number of residents of Jadeidi-Makr from 20,000 to 100,000 and to found a new municipality to be named Givat Tantour. The protest was organized by the High Follow-Up Committee and the town’s local council.
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights – submitted a formal objection to the Givat Tantour plan earlier in March. The objection focused on the accelerated planning process for the establishment of a city without legal authority and the unreasonable plan which the planners intend to implement. Adalah and Bimkom contend that the plan will result in the creation of a ghetto of overcrowding and poverty in the Galilee.
Adalah, which filed the objection along with Binkom, on behalf of some 200 residents of Jadeidi-Makr, described the connection between Land Day and the objection that was submitted: “The Land Day protest took place in Tantour because the state is trying to impose a plan of forced urbanization that will reduce the living space of Palestinians in the Galilee. Instead of solving the housing shortage by expanding the jurisdictional boundaries of Arab villages in a way that will meet the needs of each community and match residents’ lifestyle, the state is forcing overly-dense urban construction on Jadeidi-Makr. The Givat Tantour plan, which is also intended to prevent Arabs from moving to predominantly Jewish towns, is backed by a series of racist laws, including the Kaminitz Law, the Admissions Committees Act, and the Jewish Nation-State Law.”