As Palestinians and the world celebrate Land Day in recognition of the land rights stolen by Israel in occupied Palestine, a new report shows the Apartheid-like discrimination by Israel against Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel and especially against the victims of Israel’s Apartheid-like policies in the West Bank.
By Ray Hanania
A new report by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, shows that Israel puts almost all of its resources in helping Jewish citizens of Israel than it does Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel, and continues to illegally confiscate lands taken from non-Jews in both occupation wars of 1948 and 1967.
The report shows that non-Jews receive only about 4.6 percent of housing tenders are published in areas where the Arab population is concentrated and that the majority is published in Jewish areas. The report also shows that Israel spends more on Jewish housing in the illegal racist settlements than it does on housing for Arab citizens on Israel.
Land Day was begun in 1976 when Israel launched a massive campaign to expropriate lands owned by Christians and Muslims in Israel and in the West Bank, including and especially around Jerusalem. Land Day in Palestine is recognized internationally as a protest against Israel’s Apartheid-like policies against the Palestinian Arabs.
Israel openly allows discrimination against non-Jews and can deny the rental or sale of a property to a buyer based on the buyer’s religion and ethnicity. Frequently, non-Jews are denied both property rentals in many Jewish communities in Israel and also prevented from buying land or property from Jewish owners.
Adalah is one of only a small handful of Israeli organizations that monitors the civil rights abuses against non-Jews in Israel as most Jews in Israel and in the West like America remain silent. But the racism and discrimination that characterizes Israel has become a focus of attention of the Jewish community and more and more Jews are speaking out against the obvious Apartheid-like discrimination.
The BDS Movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) has targeted Israeli businesses that exploit properties and assets taken through the occupation of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem which Israel is building up Jewish properties.
Here is the release issued by Adalah on the latest discrimination released to compliment the 39th Year of the Land Day commemoration:
Only 4.6% of Israel’s housing tenders are published in Arab towns and villages; settlements in the OPT receive four times more housing units than Arab communities in Israel; Israel continues to sell Palestinian refugee properties.
Photo of Palestinian village in occupied Palestine provided by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, as part of their 39th Annual Land Day Report
On the 39th Land Day, on 30 March 2015, Adalah released a new study on the State of Israel’s policy of land allocation towards the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. Adalah gathered official statistics on all marketed tenders (bids) for land and housing units published by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) during the year 2014.
The data reveals that the ILA continued to discriminate against Arab citizens of Israel in various fields, violating their basic rights to housing, property, employment, equality and others. The data also showed the wide discrimination between Israel’s land allocation to the Arab citizens, who constitute 1.2 million people or 20% of the state’s population, and illegal Israeli Jewish settlements in occupied territory (the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights), who number 550,000 people.
Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany and legal apprentice Mohammed Bassam, who analyzed the data, found that in 2014, the ILA published tenders for the construction of 38,261 housing units in total (not including mixed cities). Out of this number, only 1,844 housing units were published in Arab communities in Israel – meaning that 20% of Israel’s population was receiving only 4.6% of new housing units from the state.
In addition, in 2014, Israel published tenders for the construction of 36 industrial zones in Jewish communities, 5 of which were in settlements; no tenders for industrial zones were published for Arab communities. In total, from 2009 to 2014, the ILA published only 13 tenders for industrial and commercial zones in Arab communities, compared to 328 tenders in Israeli Jewish communities.
Settlements receive 4 times as many new houses as Arab communities
In 2014, the ILA published tenders for 3,163 housing units in Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), compared to 1,844 housing units in Arab communities in Israel, despite the Arab population being double that of the settlement population. The ratio of marketed units to residents is thus 1:173 in settlements, compared to 1:650 in Arab communities – four times the ratio.
The data further indicated that the ILA’s discriminatory policies were widening the gap in housing between the Arab communities and the Jewish settlements through its unequal land allocation. While the number of housing units marketed in Jewish settlements in the OPT in 2014 decreased by 18% compared to the previous year (3,883 units in 2013), in Arab communities the number drastically dropped by 48% (3,547 units in 2013), even though the Arab population is twice that of the settlement population.
Final expropriation of Palestinian refugee properties
The data also showed that in 2014, the ILA sold 77 properties belonging to Palestinian refugees, which is illegal under international law. Adalah revealed in 2009 that Israel had begun selling the properties and assets of Palestinian refugees, and demanded that it immediately be halted. Adalah sent an appeal to the Director of the ILA stating: “The selling of these assets is a final expropriation of the rights of Palestinian refugees to their properties, despite the special status of these assets legally, historical and politically.” From 2007 to 2014, Israel’s policy led to the selling of over 800 refugee properties.
Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany commented on the data stating that: “Although the state of Israel has already expropriated millions of dunams of land and properties from Palestinian Arabs since its establishment, it is continuing to carry out its racist and discriminatory policies. The data shows that the mass majority of Israel’s land and housing units are specifically allocated for the benefit of Jewish citizens only. It explains why the major housing shortage in Arab communities has been so difficult to address, and why many Arab families are in a dire social-economic situation.”
RAY HANANIA — Op-Ed writer, author, radio host, podcaster
Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 at the Daily Southtown and the Chicago Sun-Times. He began writing in 1975 publishing The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues as Special US Correspondent for the Arab News ArabNews.com, at TheArabDailyNews.com, and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronical, and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
Hanania is the US Special Correspondent for the Arab News Newspaper, covering Middle East and Arab American issues. He writes for the Southwest News newspaper group writing on mainstream American issues.