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July 2020 Newsletter
Jisr AzZarqa - Injustice, Discrimination and Neglect
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority demolishes livelihood of fisherman in Jisr AzZarqa
Escorted by heavily armed police equipped with assault rifles and bulletproof vests, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority demolished a shack belonging to Ali Jurban, a local fisherman in the Palestinian Arab village of Jisr AzZarqa – the poorest locality in Israel. The demolition occurred in the Fishermen's Village located on the beach of Jisr AzZarqa. Jisr AzZarqa is the only Palestinian Arab locality with direct access to the sea in Israel.

After the demolition was over, the demolition team and police forces abandoned the site, leaving the local fisherman and owner of the building to clean up the wreckage. Furthermore, the Nature and Parks Authority billed the owner of the building the costs of demolition. Equally as outrageous is the fact that the owner was not notified of the imminent demolition.

The Mossawa Center participated in a demonstration following the demolition of Jurban's shack. Dozens of residents from the village and relatives of those affected by the demolition attended the demonstration.

Since 2010, the Nature and Parks Authority has been trying to control the Fishermen's Village and destroy any and all prospects for development by issuing demolition orders. Additionally, the Nature and Parks Authority refuses to recognize the rights of fishermen and works to prevent the implementation of development projects in the village and port despite having a budget of 18 million shekels specifically allocated for that purpose.

The inhumanity witnessed in the demolition at Jisr AzZarqa is not an isolated incident and will not be the last of its kind. This demolition is a direct result of the Kaminitz Law, which criminalizes building violations and intensifies enforcement of the law. However, due to the Israeli government’s deliberate unwillingness to approve master plans for Palestinian Arab localities and distribute building permits, many Palestinian Arab citizens have been left with no option other than to build and inhabit structures that are not officially recognized (i.e. without a permit). Hence, the Kaminitz Law disproportionately impacts Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and stifles growth within this community.
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Poverty, welfare, and the state budget - the imminent challenges facing Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.
The Mossawa Center organized a roundtable discussion with Knesset Members, NGO leaders, and community leaders in Jisr AzZarqa to discuss the demands of the Palestinian Arab community with regards to welfare services, poverty, and the state budget.

The roundtable was held in Jisr AzZarqa in cooperation with the Local Council and National Committee of the Heads of Arab Localities (NCHAL), and was attended by, among others, Mossawa Center Founder and Head Jafar Farah, Mossawa Center Executive Director Suha Salman-Mousa, Jisr AzZarqa Mayor Murad Amash, NCHAL Chairman Mudar Younis, and Knesset Members Dr. Heba Yazbek, Sondos Saleh, and Iman Khatic of the Joint List.

Following the roundtable, a discussion was held with MKs Yazbek, Saleh, and Khatib to discuss and address the specific challenges facing the residents of Jisr AzZarqa, ranging from poverty, economic stagnation, and welfare.

Later, the Mossawa Center invited MK Iman Khatib to tour the Fishermen's Village in Jisr AzZarqa, where she met with Hamama Jarban, who the Mossawa Center has been working closely with in order to push back against an imminent demolition order against her.
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Marking two years since the enactment of the Jewish Nation-State Law
The Mossawa Center hosted a webinar called Second Class by Law: Challenging Two Years of Nation State Law Through Solidarity on July 19, the date on which the Nation-State Law was enacted two years ago, to discuss the ramifications of the Basic Law on Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and other marginalized groups in Israel, as well as how those communities are challenging the discriminatory law by building solidarity between them.

Moderated by Jafar Farah, panelists Orly Noy, Morad Elsana,  and Netta Amar-Shiff addressed, through the case study of the Mizrahi community’s appeal against the Nation-State Law, the racist nature of the law, and the implications it has with regards to excluding Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish ethnic minorities from the physical and cultural space in Israel. 

Our panelists agreed that in many ways the Nation-State Law provided a justification for the seven decade long ethnic and cultural exclusion of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel (and by extension the Misrahi community) by Ashkenazi Zionism, which, according to Orly Noy, considers the State of Israel a “villa in the jungle” of the Middle East. This perception is directly related to the racist practices and discrimination of the State of Israel towards the Palestinian Arab community and Jewish ethnic minorities. Our discussion ended with the unanimous agreement regarding the importance of building multi-ethnic solidarity between Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish ethnic groups suffering from exclusion, racism, and discrimination.
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Mossawa in the News
Ehna TV
State budget workshop for Knesset Members and parliamentary staff
The Mossawa Center hosted a special workshop for Knesset Members and parliamentary staff on the state budget aimed at informing them about the important aspects of the state budget that impact Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel the most, and equipping with the knowledge and tools to effectively advocate for the needs and demands of the community in that context.

The workshop was opened by Mossawa Center Executive Director Suha Salman Mousa, who emphasized the importance of fulfilling the political, economic, social, and cultural rights of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel through the use of various tools such as parliamentary, legal, international, and more.

Hosted in Nazareth, the largest Palestinian Arab city in Israel, the workshop was attended by Knesset Members Dr. Heba Yazbek and Sondos Saleh of the Joint List and their staffers, as well as staffers of other Joint List MKs. Mossawa Center Founder and Head Jafar Farah reviewed the Budget Law and Compromise Law with the aim of accessing more government budgets for the Palestinian Arab community and monitoring the spending of such funds by parliamentarians and assistants.

The Mossawa Center has been monitoring the state budget in Israel since 2000, and has consistently published annual reports on the needs and demands of the Palestinian Arab community with regards to the state budget, and compared it with the amount of funding it receives in reality.
Revitalizing the Salman Natour Library at the Mossawa Center
The Mossawa Center has began the process of rejuvenating its library named after the late Salman Natourone of the most prominent Palestinian Arab writers, playwrights, intellectuals, editors, and translators in Israel. Natour, who was born and lived his entire life in Dalyat al-Carmel in Haifa worked at the Mossawa Center until his untimely passing in 2016.

To honor his legacy, the Mossawa Center will not only refurbish its library, but will also donate over 1500 books and publications to 30 libraries in the Palestinian Arab community across Israel. Many publications that will be donated belong to the Mossawa Center and cover a wide range of topics.

In the words of Mossawa Center Executive Director Suha Salman-Mousa, "we own a large assortment of books that we have produced or acquired, and are happy to provide them to the public and school libraries that are in need of enriching their collection of books. Reading and literature remain an important source of enrichment for our community, both in terms of research and knowledge, as well as creativity. We call upon local authorities to invest in creative reading and writing, and to enrich and develop libraries, along with electronic information sources, in order to help uplift and develop our entire community."
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