Adalah to UN: Israel Continues to Violate Arab-Palestinian Rights

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has submitted two reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination in preparation of the committee’s submitting its preliminary questions to the State of Israel in an upcoming session to be held in Geneva on 4-5 December 2019.

In 1966 Israel signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, or ICERD,  and ratified it in 1979. The December session is the UN committee’s periodic review of Israel’s compliance with the terms of the convention to which it is a signatory.

Arab-Bedouin teens marching to Jerusalem to protest the demolition of their communities' homes in the Negev

Arab-Bedouin teens marching to Jerusalem to protest the demolition of their communities’ homes in the Negev (Photo: Activestills)

One of the two reports, submitted independently by Adalah, is entitled Violations of the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel; the second submitted jointly by Adalah and the Negev Coexistence Forum (NFC) is named Violations of the rights of Arab Bedouin citizens in the Naqab/Negev. The reports provide updated information and analyses on legal, political, and policy developments since the UN committee’s last review of Israel in 2012. The two reports highlight Israel’s failure to comply with the UN committee’s previous concluding observations and recommendations to reverse many of the state’s racially discriminatory practices.

Adalah’s report on the violation of the rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel focuses on the following key concerns: Violations of the right of equality, in particular following the July 2018 enactment of the Jewish Nation-State Law, which constitutionally enshrines the ethnic-religious identity of the state as exclusively Jewish, and which demotes Arabic from an official language of the state to one having “special status”; Policies of demographic control, as manifested through discriminatory citizenship laws like the Law of Return; The ongoing ban on family unification between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT); and the arbitrary revocation of Israeli citizenship for “breach of loyalty,” broadly defined.

Another issue the report raises are the attacks on political participation, including legislation like the “Expulsion of MKs Law”; Motions to disqualify Arab parties and candidates from running in the Israeli elections; Racist incitement against Palestinian Arab citizens and the Arab leadership in Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and the placement of hidden surveillance cameras in Arab polling stations during the April 2019 election as well as the Likud’s unsuccessful attempt repeat this monitoring by means of emergency legislation just prior to the September 2019 election. The report also draws attention to the low representation of Arab citizens in general, and Arab women in particular, in the state’s civil service, due to the lack of serious efforts by authorities to improve the situation.

Download the two reports as PDF files: