Richard Melson

March 2006

Arab Association

Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)

P.O. Box 215, Nazareth 16101, Israel

Tel: 972-4-6561923, Fax: 972-4-6564934



Weekly Review of Human Rights Violations of the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel No. 265 / March 10 - 17, 2006

Also available at:

Jalal Tawili in ICU after racially motivated attack

in Kiryat Yam:

"Around thirty men attacked Jalal and beat him repeatedly with sticks and stones".[1]

Jalal Tawili, 20, from the Arab town of Tamra in the Galilee, near 'Akka, is now in the intensive care unit in Haifa hospital, fighting to keep alive. Doctors described Jalal’s condition as severe but stable, after he had a series of surgical operations on his head and face. As a result of his injuries, his dislocated jaw will be wired for two weeks. Moreover, doctors pointed out that Jalal is suffering from skull fractures that resulted in a brain haemorrhage and also has one of his eyes severely wounded.

On Saturday night, March 11, 2006, Jalal, a soldier serving in the Israeli army, spent an evening out with his brother Mohammed and a Jewish girl. On their way back to Tamra they dropped off the Jewish girl in her hometown of Kiryat Yam. Suddenly Mohammed and Jamal were assaulted by a group of new Jewish immigrants who beat them with sticks and stones and called for other people to join in the attack.

Mohammed said: "When we stopped our car and our friend got out of it, some Jewish youths recognised us as Arabs by the music playing on our radio. Some of them jumped on Jalal and hit his head with sticks and stones. When I realised that he was almost dying, I begged them to stop and I threw myself on him to protect his head. They broke my hands and beat me hard". Mohammed also pointed out that during the attack he was trying to show Jalal’s army ID to the Jewish men, hoping they would stop.

Both men were rescued from death after a woman came out onto her balcony and called out to the attackers to stop. She then called the police and the ambulance, which arrived after the attackers ran away. Mohammed added: "I was crawling on the ground and calling for help when Jalal, drenched in blood, lost consciousness".

The police arrested two young men, one of them a soldier suspected of taking part in the assault. Mohammed was able to identify them[2].

Assaults like this often happen in the north of Israel, especially on the beaches and in public areas. There have been numerous instances of groups of young Jewish men hanging about these places, looking for Arabs to attack. The HRA has collected testimonies of deliberate and organised attacks on Palestinian Arab citizens by Jewish citizens[3].

The HRA considers such attacks a result of the widespread and ongoing general atmosphere of racism against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. It is this atmosphere, strengthened by official statements calling Arabs 'a demographic threat', which has legitimised physical attacks on members of the minority. The most extreme manifestation of this atmosphere was the cold-blooded murders, on August 4, 2005, of four Arab Palestinian citizens from Shefa'amr. The crime, known as the Shefa’amr massacre[4], was perpetrated by a newly-observant Jew who was serving in the IDF and lived in the settlement of Tapuach in the West Bank.

Construction of Road 444 confiscates land, encages Arab city of Qalansawe

The district Building and Planning Committee recently sent letters to a number of landowners in the Arab city of Qalansawe, notifying them about the confiscation of their lands for the purpose of building Road 444. Road 444, which will be fifty metres wide and will begin from the settlement of Sha’ar Ephraim, will cut through the agricultural lands of Qalansawe. If this plan is implemented, approximately 400 dunams (400,000 m2) of the Arab city will be confiscated.

In addition, it is planned for the area around Wadi Eskandar (Eskandar Valley) in Qalansawe, 100 metres from the river's edge, to be declared a natural reserve. As a result, this would prevent the residents from using the land for agricultural or development purposes. It should be noted that Eskandar Valley cuts through the city for about 21 km, until it reaches the west side of the city which is as far as Qalansawe's lands extend.

Mr Jabir Liddawi's land is therefore under the threat of confiscation. His response was, "We are trying to organise the landowners into a struggle against this plan. It is unacceptable that Qalansawe will be made a 'ghetto' as a result of this plan. In the past, our land was confiscated in order to build Highway 6 and the electricity network. If the plan of Road 444 will be implemented, another big amount of our agricultural lands, that are a last reserve for us, both as agricultural and for future development and building, will be confiscated."

Liddawi added: "The road will surround the city of Qalansawe and there won’t be any access for vehicles into the city; also, the local inhabitants will be prevented from entering the lands and using them. Thus such lands will be an easy resource for the neighbouring kibbutzim. This plan was issued at the beginning of the nineties when the Labour party was in power and it seems that it will be implemented now. We wonder why Arabs have to pay a price so high for a project whose importance we question".[5]

The HRA considers such a plan as part of a broader trend towards racial separation between the two major populations living in Israel – the Jewish majority and the Palestinian Arab minority – through the 'ghettoization' of the minority. These processes of racial separation and 'ghettoization' are manifested in physical terms both in the territorial separation between the two populations, in the construction of high walls and fences, and in the prevention of civil development by suffocating the Palestinian Arab villages under the cover of 'natural reserves and infrastructural improvement'.[6]

Children's Arab ethnicity disqualifies their entry into Jewish kindergarten

Many Arab families living in the Jewish town of Harish have expressed extreme concern about the prevention of Arab children from enrolling in the local kindergarten. Mrs Abeer Mara’ane, an Arab mother, is still looking for a kindergarten to enrol her child. She sent a letter to the local council of Harish asking for reasons why her child was not allowed enrolment; till date, she hasn't received a reply.

Mrs Mara’ane said, "We are facing a lot of obstacles in Harish and are also finding it hard to register our children in kindergartens in Arab towns as an alternative. We think that the officials of Harish should allow our children to enrol in the local kindergarten, as this is our hometown, and this is where we pay our taxes just as our Jewish neighbours do".

It should be noted that Harish is located in Wadi ‘Ara and numbers 1500 residents, 200 of which are Arab. Since it was established, Arab children were prevented from enrolling in the kindergarten and as an alternative the Arab families had to register their children in neighbouring Arab towns.

Recently, some of the Arab towns are refusing to register the Arab children from Harish, stating that those children are not registered as residents of their town. One of the parents said, "They refused to register and accept my son because he’s an Arab and I was told, 'You’d better go and register him in an Arab kindergarten', but I replied that we live between Jews and my son plays with Jewish children and gets along with them well. I think that this behaviour is part of their measures to expel us from Harish. They do not want Arabs here. We are still fighting for our rights and we will appeal to the Supreme Court against these actions".

Mr Kamal Atileh, the spokesman for the Ministry of Education in the Arab sector said, "We are talking about children in their early childhood and still not part of the obligatory education system according to law. Therefore, those families must address the local council about this issue. According to law, Arabic-speaking children are not prevented from entering the Hebrew education system and vice versa".[7]

Four homes demolished in unrecognised Dahmash in Lid

On Wednesday, March 15 2006, Israeli authorities implemented orders for demolishing houses in Dahmash, an unrecognised neighbourhood in the mixed city of Lid. Four homes were demolished in this campaign in which more than 500 security men and helicopters were involved.

The owners of the four homes are from the Zabarga family; after the demolition, thirty-two people, including four couples and twenty-five children, were made homeless.

The residents of Dahmash complain that the mayor of Lid received a letter from acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, encouraging the mayor to demolish the houses belonging to Arabs in the city on the claim that those buildings are unlicensed. The residents consider this statement as a move to rid the city of its Palestinian residents.

The residents of Dahmash said also that the municipality appointed a special consultant for demolishing Arab houses, Rami Zach, who is currently trying to convince the residents to obey the demolition orders. In addition, the local committee against house demolitions stated that acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert opened a special office in the city for the follow up of the implementation of the demolition orders.

The unrecognised neighbourhood of Dahmash sits at the crossing point of three municipalities: Lid, Ramleh and the district council of Lodim. Dr Hanna Swaid, the director of the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, points out that till now none of those authorities recognise this neighbourhood as part of them. Dahmash's area is 200 dunams, on which 65 houses are built, all of them owned by Arab families[8].

Lawsuit filed against attackers of the Basilica of the Annunciation

On March 16, 2006, the Attorney General presented a list of accusations against the Habibi family who attacked the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Friday, March 3, 2006.

According to the accusations, the Habibi family tried to burn and destroy the church by using gasoline and explosive materials. As soon as a guard of the church tried to stop them they threw gasoline on him and tried to set him on fire.

According to accusations, the three had a big amount of inflammable and explosive materials. They brought nineteen balloons of gas, fourteen sound bombs and twenty-five firecrackers, which together are considered enough to burn the church, which at the time of the attack was full of worshippers[9].

This list of accusations is in contradiction with the statements by the authorities and newspaper reports, according to which the attackers only wanted to draw the government’s attention to their personal social and economical problems.

In the days after the attack, the police started a campaign of arrests of young Arab men who gathered in front of the church after the attack, claiming that they tried to assault the police. Until now, nineteen young men have been arrested and another sixty will be arrested in the upcoming days, according to police sources.

The campaign of arrests caused great concern among the political and religious Palestinian Arab leadership in Nazareth. Bishop Elias Shaqqour is of the opinion that these arrests will only further inflame tensions.

The HRA considers this campaign of arrests as an arbitrary act that will contribute to the feeling of persecution among the Palestinian Arab minority. The police do not consider the fact that the people who gathered in front of the church didn’t mean to provoke the police, but were only concerned about the situation and felt that this attack targeted the Palestinian minority as a whole.

[1] Testimony of Mohammed Tawili, the victim’s brother.

[2] Kull al-Arab, P.52; Panorama, P.7; Al-Sunara, P.78; Hadith al-Nas, March 17, 2006, P.4.

[3] For more information, please see the HRA report, One Gunman, Many to Blame: Israel's culture of racism prior to the Shefa'amr massacre and the role of the Attorney General

(October 2005).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kull al-Arab, March 17, 2006, P.38.

[6] For more information on this issue, please see the HRA report

Behind the Walls: Separation Walls between Arabs and Jews in Mixed Cities and Neighbourhoods in Israel (December 2005).

[7] Kull al-Arab, March 17, 2006, P.46.

[8] Al Ittihad, March 16, 2006, P.5; Sawt al-Haq wal-Huriyya, March 17, 2006, P.1;, March 18, 20, 2006.

[9] For more information, please see the upcoming HRA Report on the attack on the Basilica.

Weekly Review of Human Rights Violations No' 265 in ARABIC


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Arab Association For Human Rights (HRA)

Friday, March 24, 2006