RCIR letter to all FIFA Member Associations prior to the 66th FIFA Annual Congress in Mexico

RCIR letter to all FIFA Member Associations prior to the 66th FIFA Annual Congress in Mexico

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, FIFA Acting Secretary General and the Presidents of all FIFA member Associations received the following letter by email on 21 April 2016.  It identifies our key concerns and asks the Congress to address them.  Attached is (1) the text of the Palestinian “Amendment” passed by the 65th Congress and also (2) the Mossawa paper on Israel government policy toward the Arab community, 30 March 2016.  This latter paper is an up to date summary of he human rights abuses heaped on the Palestinian citizens of Israel.  As we point out, in the Occupied Territories the position is far worse.

Dear President,

Palestine, Israel and the 66th Annual FIFA Congress in Mexico

We have previously pointed out the appalling effect of Israeli racial discrimination and human rights abuses against Palestinians and Palestinian football in particular  Eminent human rights campaigners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have also expressed concerns.  We ask that the 66th Congress takes account of the following.

(1)  “For the Game. For the World”. FIFA and Human Rights.  This recently published report was requested by FIFA from John G Ruggie.  It invokes UN Guiding  Principles and recommends that FIFA adopts a clear and coherent human rights policy and robust implementation arrangements.  The report is clear that FIFA must “embed respect for human rights across the full range of its activities and relationships” (page 9) and it specifically mentions  relationships with member associations and other enterprises.

We ask that the implications of this report for the issue of human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians be addressed at the 66th Congress.

(2)   Israel Palestine Monitoring Committee.  This committee was established at the 65th Congress in May 2015 to help reduce the human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians.  It has achieved one distinct success.  For the first time in fifteen years Gazan and West Bank teams played each other.  But FIFA intervention was needed to overcome Israeli delays.  Since then committee meetings have been dogged by Israeli prevarication over the Committee’s Terms of Reference (See Appendix 1). On the ground, further outrages have been committed by the Israelis, including shooting Palestinian players in the foot, tear gassing at stadiums, arrests of players and destruction of facilities.

We therefore ask you to ensure at the 66th Annual Congress in May 2016 that the Monitoring Committee chairman, Tokyo Sexwale, reports on progress and that Palestinian FA President Jibril Rajoub is requested to address the Congress.

(3)  FIFA Reform.  We are very concerned that the FIFA Reform programme has removed the ability of one member to propose the suspension of another (section 16).  This is undemocratic.  It will weaken pressure on the Israelis to take action, and will adversely affect the ability of the Palestinian FA to proceed further against the Israeli FA should the Israel Palestine Monitoring Committee fail to achieve its objectives.  Palestine needs to be able to act in this unique situation within FIFA of one member (Palestine) being hindered from playing football by another member (Israel).

We ask that you discuss this and ensure that the Council adopts procedures to overcome these weaknesses.

(4)   “Israeli Government Policy Towards the Arab Community“.  This paper by the respected Israeli Civil Rights organisation Mossawa, was published on 30 March 2016 (See Appendix 2).  It highlights very clearly the situation within Israel.  The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is significantly worse.

Yours sincerely,

Red Card Israeli Racism campaign

———————————————————————————————————————-

Appendix 1

May 29, 2015

Amendment to the Proposal Presented by the Palestine Football Association

for Approval During the 65thFIFA Congress   

In order to end the suffering and discrimination of our Palestinian football family at the hands of the illegal and racist occupation of our land, we have presented a proposal for a final solution.  After several meetings with Mr. Blatter, Mr. Valkce, and representatives from different confederations and associations, with the aim to facilitate the feasibility and implementation of our proposal, we have made the following clarification.

The proposal stipulates 3 main concerns of the PFA in regards of IFA violations of FIFA Statutes, including:

  1. Restrictions of Palestinian rights for the freedom of movement.  Players and football officials both within and outside the borders of the occupied State of Palestine, have been systematically restricted from their right to free movement, and continue to be hindered, limited, and obstructed by a set of unilateral regulations arbitrarily and inconsistently implemented. This constitutes a direct violation by IFA of Article 13.3 of the FIFA Statute, specifically in relation to Article 13.1(i) and its correspond articles in UEFA rules;
  2. The continued racism and discriminatory behaviour of IFA officials and clubs in direct violation of not only the principles of FIFA, (including FIFA’s no-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination) but specifically in violation of Article 3 of the FIFA Statute and corresponding UEFA rules; and
  3. The grave concern over at least five Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine.  The presence of the Israeli clubs, located in territory recognized by the international community as part of the State of Palestine, constitutes a direct violation of Articles 83 and 84 of the FIFA Statutes, including relevant UEFA rules.

As a viable and effective resolution to the above issues and violations of FIFA Statutes, it is proposed that:

  •       FIFA will appoint a multi-lateral monitor group to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal, and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of International Observers;
  •       The monitor group will ensure the freedom of the PFA to develop its activities at the highest level possible, and be in accordance with FIFA requirements and standards, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes and under FIFA’s objectives as described in article 2 of the said Statutes;
  •       The monitor group will supervise the possible infringement of FIFA rules by IFA and their clubs, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes;
  •       The Congress, if approved by a majority as established under Article 27.6 of FIFA Statutes, and based on its prerogatives under article 14.1 of the said Statutes, will act in accordance with Articles 83.2 and 84 of FIFA Statutes. If shown to be true that these Israeli teams discussed are based on, and playing out of occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli Football Association will face the consequences of Article 14.1 in relation to Articles 13.1 and 13.2, ; and
  • In order to prove the territorial issue, which will be the basis for any measures implemented by FIFA statutes, FIFA will request the United Nations to officially notify FIFA of UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19.

 

———————————————————————————————————————-

Appendix 2 –  Mossawa paper on Israel government policy toward the Arab community, 30 March 2016

http://www.mossawa.org/uploads/EU%20human%20rights%20paper%20March%202016.pdf

The Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization.  Established in 1997, the Mossawa Center strives to improve the economic, social, cultural and political status of the Palestinian citizens in Israel, while preserving their national and cultural rights as Palestinians.

To this end the following are the main issues facing the Arab minority in Israel.

Discriminatory Legislation

Several legislative proposals have been submitted and some approved with the aim to alienate and deepen the discrimination against the Arab community. In the last few years proposals like the citizenship Law and the Nakba Law have been approved. These types of laws limit freedom of expression and affect the daily life of thousands of families. Several Proposed legislation would also hinder the rights of Arab citizens. These include the Prawer Plan, the Jewish State Law and the NGO’s Law. Further, extreme right MKs are increasing their efforts to curtail the freedoms of Arab MKs and expel them from the Knesset. These attempts have culminated in the introduction of a bill which would make it much easier for Arab MKs to be expelled from teh Knessset and if passed will set a dangerous precedent.  All these laws aim to create confrontations between the Arab community, the state authorities and Jewish majority. It is important for the international community to be aware of these policies so they can take action against them.

Home demolitions

The village of Al-Araqib in the Negev has been demolished over 93 times. In the Negev there are still 100,000 people living in unrecognized villages meaning they are not connected to water, electricity or sanitation services. These people are calling the government to leave them to live on their land. The government wants them to move to urbanized towns which are completely contradictory to the way of life of the Bedouin people. In May of this year the Supreme Court approved a government plan to evacuate Umm El-Hiran village to make way for a Jewish town. Those Bedouins who did move to the urbanized towns found themselves in situations of dire poverty. Women in the Bedouin community whether in recognized or unrecognized villages have one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. It is important that these women are supported so as to improve the economic situation of all Bedouin communities. Recently demolitions in other Arab localities such as the city of Taibe have taken place. The reason cited for these demolitions is that the structures were built with out a permit but approximately 45% of Arab towns and villages do not have an authorized master plan which makes expansion and building illegal.  More than 50% of Arab towns and villages have requested an expansion of their jurisdiction areas, 45% were approved but the towns and villages are still waiting for the expansions to be implemented. Approximately 30% of Arab towns and villages do not have state lands in order to build schools, community centers etc. This situation puts many in the situation of building illegally or dealing with over crowding.

Violence against Arab citizens

Since October 2000 53 Arab citizens have been killed. The most recent death was in in February 2016. 36 of those cases involve police officers. In only 3 cases was the officer convicted of a crime and even in those cases they only served 6-14 months in jail. In 2003 the Or Commission which was established to investigate the events of October 2000 determined that it should be made unequivocally clear that firing live ammunition, including sniper fire and rubber coated bullets, is not a means to disperse crowds by the police. This determination has been ignored time after time by Israeli police when dealing with Arab citizens and has led to unnecessary deaths of innocent civilians. The department for police investigation in the ministry of justice rarely gives these cases the attention they deserve.Additionally, in recent years there has also been an increase of destructive attacks against Arab citizens, mostly linked to the Jewish hate group “Price Tag” the Church of Multiplication was the scene of an Arson attack in which two people were injured and the church itself was gutted. Three members of the extremist group Lehava were found guilty of a separate arson attack on the bilingual Jewish Arab school in Jerusalem. Mossawa calls on the Israeli government to conduct full investigations in to these acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Access to Education

The shortage of classrooms in Arab society has been a problem known in the education sector for many years. The reason for the issue is simple: not enough classrooms were built in the Arab schools, despite promises made by the Ministry of Education. For example, a government decision of March 2007 called the Compulsory Education Law stipulated that by 2011, there should have been 3,200 classrooms built in Arab towns. However, at the end of 2011, the shortage of classrooms in the Arab communities was over 4502 classes approximately 30% of all classrooms in the Arab communities. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the buildings in Arab education kindergarten classes were missing on the eve of the Compulsory Education Law mentioned above. This meant that 2,026 preschools were missing in 2012. And more astonishingly, this means that kindergarten classes operated for only 3,325 Arab children in Israel. In other words there was already a 61% shortage of classrooms for children starting their education at age 3,4, or 5.

Besides the shortage of classrooms, Arab schools are also lacking the resources needed to stimulate the children. For example, in 2000, the Ministry of Education set a target of placing one computer for every five students, but in 2011 there was only one computer station for every 12 children on average in Israel. When one looks at the numbers by sectors, one can see that when it came to the religious sector, there was actually one computer station for every 9 students while when it came to the Arab sector, there was one computer for every 20 students. Furthermore, there is a shortage of services such as psychological and educational counseling in these Arab schools. Building classrooms and providing services will prove difficult given that 62.9% of the Education Ministry’s payments are transferred to Jews, 22.1% to Arabs, 14.9% to mixed cities. Compulsory education, the foundation for young Arabs’ educational endeavors in Israel, requires serious attention in order to prepare Arab students for higher education.

Private church schools also suffer from the discriminatory allocation of the education budget.Church schools in Israel are run by the churches, but serve students of all religions.They  fall into the category of “recognized but unofficial”, and formerly received 65% of their budgets from the state, but that figure was cut to 34 percent in 2014. The rest of the school’s budget is covered by tuition costs, which have increasingly become a costly burden to Arab families. In contrast, the Orthodox Jewish schools in Israel, which are also “recognized and unofficial” receive 100% of their budget from the state. This discrimination led to a schools strike in September 2015 until the government agreed to allocate more funds. Budget allocations are still however not equal to the funding for Jewish schools under the same category.

Socioeconomic disparity between Jewish population and Arab population in Israel

According to a report from the Israeli government appointed committee to fight poverty, the Arab minority makes up 38.9% of the total population in Israel living in poverty, even though they are only 20% of the population in total, and 60% of Arab children are living in poverty. A 2015 report by the OECD found Israel to have one of the most unequal economies in the western world. Employment is a large problem in the Arab community, especially for women. Of more than 85,000 employees in high tech companies only 1,200 are Arabs. Only 1.5% of researchers in Israel are Arab researchers, fewer than 1% of the research and development institutions have Arab employees. The Israeli government has yet to fully implement its own mandate of 10% of government employees being Arab citizens by 2012. In 2015 Arabs made up only 9.25% of government employees and there are still entire government departments and bodies that contain no Arab employees, including for example the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Government Publications Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Knesset Television station.

Disproportionate allocation of funds from the state budget to the Arab community

Based on an analysis of the 2014 state budget the Israeli government allocates only approximately 6% of the development budget to the needs of the Arab minority, even though they make up 20% of the total population in Israel. Even when there are funds allocated for development they are often with held from being distributed. Currently 664 million shekels marked for development in the Arab community are awaiting approval from the ExceptionsCommittee. This disproportionate allocation of funds has a profoundly negative impact on the Arab communities in Israel in the sectors of; education, socio economic status, employment, and municipal planning. It has also had a detrimental impact on Arab culture organizations and institutions in Israel. Currently the Ministry of Culture allocates less than 3% of its budget to Arab culture organizations or projects. The Mossawa Center calls to stop socioeconomic discrimination against the Arab minority in Israel and hopes that the Israeli government will implement a more equitable allocation of funds. The Israeli government recently announced a decision to increase allocations to the Arab community but it has announced such decisions in the past and they are never fully implemented if at all. The government has yet to lay out how and to which sectors the funds will be allocated. Thorough and persistent follow up is required if there is a hope that even part of this government decision will be implemented.

Governmental attack on Arab culture The newly appointed Minister of Culture, MiriRegev is worked to stop the submission of a mapping of culture needs in the Arab community to the Supreme Court and only did so when forced by the court. This mapping found that Arab villages have no arts centers, museums or cinematheques. Additionally, important Arab cultural institutions such as the Al-Midan Theatre have lost their municipal funding.Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered inquiry into how to shut down Palestine 48 TV station, which would serve Arab citizens.  Actors and filmmaker such MohamadBakry, SuhaAraf and Norman Issahave been threatened by government and settlers and lost funding for their projects because they are critical of the government. Mossawa calls on the Israeli government to end these discriminatory actions with violate the freedom of expression for Arab citizens.

Racial incitement

The most recent elections in Israel saw an increase in racist and inciting rhetoric from many politicians in order to gain votes. One of the most egregious of these statements came from Prime Minister Netanyahu himself. Out of fear of losing his power in the government he made short video telling the Israeli people that “The Arabs are coming out in to vote in droves” This statement was meant to scare Jewish Israeli voters in to going out to vote and voting for Likud so that they might be protected from the “droves” of Arab voters. Many world leaders and activists expressed concern at this obviously racist attitude towards 20% of Israeli voters. President Obama came out against Netanyahu’s statement calling it “cynical” and “divisive.” Political and Religious leaders are using racial incitement and the legal system neglects these statements that have led to direct use of violence by police officers and citizens.

Outlawing Islamic Institutions

Since 2000, and under the global pretext of the War on Terror, the Israeli Government has increased its authority to declare that particular associations and organizations are “terror” organizations. Until 2000, Israel declared 55 organizations to be a “terrorist organization” and/or “unlawful association,” whereas between 2001 and June/2015 the number reached 320 declarations. In November 2015 the Israeli government declared the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement illegal and shut down 17 of its organizations and charities located in localities and cities across Israel. In its practice, the Israeli Government relies on two legislations: 1) The Defense (Emergence) Regulations (1945) and 2) the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948). Both legislations are draconian in nature, encompass several unconstitutional components, and are meant to apply to situations of armed conflict. Nevertheless, the power given to the Minister of Security to declare that an organization is a “terrorist organization” or an “unlawful association” has been used widely in recent years.

Further, the ability to subject these decisions to judicial scrutiny and to have a fair trial is rather limited. First, the decisions are usually based on intelligence information that is kept confidential and the concerned organizations are unable to review or to respond to any of the findings or the allegations brought in this information. Second, the law itself limits this ability in terms of the burden of proof and evidentiary weight. For example, according to article 8 of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, “If the Government, by notice in the Official Gazette, declares that a particular body of persons is a terrorist organization, the notice shall serve, in any legal proceeding, as proof that that body of persons is a terrorist organization, unless the contrary is proved.” In addition, alongside the authority given to the Minister of Security to declare that particular associations are “terrorist organization” and “unlawful association,” the law authorizes

the Police Commissioner to close the offices of such organizations and associations. The properties of such organizations are subject to sequestration.

Incidents of racism against Arab citizens

From March 2015-March 2016 incidents of racism have almost doubled from 237 to 465. 311 of which were directed at the Arab community. This includes racist actions coming from elected representatives, state institutions, academic institutions, businesses, organizations, the media and members of the general population. One example of such actions against the Arab citizens is the continued racial profiling at Ben Gurion airport. Several lawsuits are currently pending against the airport for racial profiling leading to degrading and humiliating treatment of Arab citizens attempting to travel into or from the airport. Another example is the many attempts of extreme right MKs to curtail the freedoms of Arab MKs and expel them from the Knesset. These attempts have culminated in the introduction of a bill which would make it much easier for Arab MKs to be expelled and if passed will set a dangerous precedent.

Recommendations

The Mossawa Center would once again like to thank you for making time to learn about the issues affecting the Arab minority in Israel. The Mossawa Center makes the following recommendations for action to improve the status of the Arab minority in Israel.

  • Take a public stance against racial incitement from political officials.
  • Urge Israeli officials to stop home demolitions and immediately recognize all current Bedouin villages as well as providing all basic services they are entitled to as citizens of the State of Israel.
  • Insist that the Israeli government fully investigate cases of police violence against Arab citizens especially when they result in death.
  • Hold the Israeli government accountable to its recently announced decision to increase funds allocated to the Arab community
  • Ensure inclusion of Arab citizens in projects associated with Horizon 2020.
  • Urge the Israeli government to ensure freedom of expression and culture for Arab citizens
  • Use lateral agreements between Israel and the European Union to ensure protection of minority rights and that Israeli officials will increase investment in Arab communities through increasing the allocation of funds to those communities from the state budget and ending economically discriminatorypolicies.Palestine, Israel and the 66th Annual FIFA Congress in Mexico

    We have previously pointed out the appalling effect of Israeli racial discrimination and human rights abuses against Palestinians and Palestinian football in particular  Eminent human rights campaigners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have also expressed concerns.  We ask that the 66th Congress takes account of the following.

    (1)  “For the Game. For the World”. FIFA and Human Rights.  This recently published report was requested by FIFA from John G Ruggie.  It invokes UN Guiding  Principles and recommends that FIFA adopts a clear and coherent human rights policy and robust implementation arrangements.  The report is clear that FIFA must “embed respect for human rights across the full range of its activities and relationships” (page 9) and it specifically mentions  relationships with member associations and other enterprises.

    We ask that the implications of this report for the issue of human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians be addressed at the 66th Congress.

    (2)   Israel Palestine Monitoring Committee.  This committee was established at the 65th Congress in May 2015 to help reduce the human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians.  It has achieved one distinct success.  For the first time in fifteen years Gazan and West Bank teams played each other.  But FIFA intervention was needed to overcome Israeli delays.  Since then committee meetings have been dogged by Israeli prevarication over the Committee’s Terms of Reference (See Appendix 1). On the ground, further outrages have been committed by the Israelis, including shooting Palestinian players in the foot, tear gassing at stadiums, arrests of players and destruction of facilities.

    We therefore ask you to ensure at the 66th Annual Congress in May 2016 that the Monitoring Committee chairman, Tokyo Sexwale, reports on progress and that Palestinian FA President Jibril Rajoub is requested to address the Congress.

    (3)  FIFA Reform.  We are very concerned that the FIFA Reform programme has removed the ability of one member to propose the suspension of another (section 16).  This is undemocratic.  It will weaken pressure on the Israelis to take action, and will adversely affect the ability of the Palestinian FA to proceed further against the Israeli FA should the Israel Palestine Monitoring Committee fail to achieve its objectives.  Palestine needs to be able to act in this unique situation within FIFA of one member (Palestine) being hindered from playing football by another member (Israel).

    We ask that you discuss this and ensure that the Council adopts procedures to overcome these weaknesses.

    (4)   “Israeli Government Policy Towards the Arab Community“.  This paper by the respected Israeli Civil Rights organisation Mossawa, was published on 30 March 2016 (See Appendix 2).  It highlights very clearly the situation within Israel.  The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is significantly worse.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr Geoffrey R Lee

    Coordinator, Red Card Israeli Racism campaign

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Appendix 1

    May 29, 2015

    Amendment to the Proposal Presented by the Palestine Football Association

    for Approval During the 65thFIFA Congress   

    In order to end the suffering and discrimination of our Palestinian football family at the hands of the illegal and racist occupation of our land, we have presented a proposal for a final solution.  After several meetings with Mr. Blatter, Mr. Valkce, and representatives from different confederations and associations, with the aim to facilitate the feasibility and implementation of our proposal, we have made the following clarification.

    The proposal stipulates 3 main concerns of the PFA in regards of IFA violations of FIFA Statutes, including:

    1. Restrictions of Palestinian rights for the freedom of movement.  Players and football officials both within and outside the borders of the occupied State of Palestine, have been systematically restricted from their right to free movement, and continue to be hindered, limited, and obstructed by a set of unilateral regulations arbitrarily and inconsistently implemented. This constitutes a direct violation by IFA of Article 13.3 of the FIFA Statute, specifically in relation to Article 13.1(i) and its correspond articles in UEFA rules;
    2. The continued racism and discriminatory behaviour of IFA officials and clubs in direct violation of not only the principles of FIFA, (including FIFA’s no-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination) but specifically in violation of Article 3 of the FIFA Statute and corresponding UEFA rules; and
    3. The grave concern over at least five Israeli clubs located in illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine.  The presence of the Israeli clubs, located in territory recognized by the international community as part of the State of Palestine, constitutes a direct violation of Articles 83 and 84 of the FIFA Statutes, including relevant UEFA rules.

    As a viable and effective resolution to the above issues and violations of FIFA Statutes, it is proposed that:

    •       FIFA will appoint a multi-lateral monitor group to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal, and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of International Observers;
    •       The monitor group will ensure the freedom of the PFA to develop its activities at the highest level possible, and be in accordance with FIFA requirements and standards, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes and under FIFA’s objectives as described in article 2 of the said Statutes;
    •       The monitor group will supervise the possible infringement of FIFA rules by IFA and their clubs, with special attention to Article 3 of FIFA Statutes;
    •       The Congress, if approved by a majority as established under Article 27.6 of FIFA Statutes, and based on its prerogatives under article 14.1 of the said Statutes, will act in accordance with Articles 83.2 and 84 of FIFA Statutes. If shown to be true that these Israeli teams discussed are based on, and playing out of occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli Football Association will face the consequences of Article 14.1 in relation to Articles 13.1 and 13.2, ; and
    • In order to prove the territorial issue, which will be the basis for any measures implemented by FIFA statutes, FIFA will request the United Nations to officially notify FIFA of UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19.

     

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Appendix 2 –  Mossawa paper on Israel government policy toward the Arab community, 30 March 2016

    http://www.mossawa.org/uploads/EU%20human%20rights%20paper%20March%202016.pdf

    The Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, is a non-profit, nongovernmental organization.  Established in 1997, the Mossawa Center strives to improve the economic, social, cultural and political status of the Palestinian citizens in Israel, while preserving their national and cultural rights as Palestinians.

    To this end the following are the main issues facing the Arab minority in Israel.

    Discriminatory Legislation

    Several legislative proposals have been submitted and some approved with the aim to alienate and deepen the discrimination against the Arab community. In the last few years proposals like the citizenship Law and the Nakba Law have been approved. These types of laws limit freedom of expression and affect the daily life of thousands of families. Several Proposed legislation would also hinder the rights of Arab citizens. These include the Prawer Plan, the Jewish State Law and the NGO’s Law. Further, extreme right MKs are increasing their efforts to curtail the freedoms of Arab MKs and expel them from the Knesset. These attempts have culminated in the introduction of a bill which would make it much easier for Arab MKs to be expelled from teh Knessset and if passed will set a dangerous precedent.  All these laws aim to create confrontations between the Arab community, the state authorities and Jewish majority. It is important for the international community to be aware of these policies so they can take action against them.

    Home demolitions

    The village of Al-Araqib in the Negev has been demolished over 93 times. In the Negev there are still 100,000 people living in unrecognized villages meaning they are not connected to water, electricity or sanitation services. These people are calling the government to leave them to live on their land. The government wants them to move to urbanized towns which are completely contradictory to the way of life of the Bedouin people. In May of this year the Supreme Court approved a government plan to evacuate Umm El-Hiran village to make way for a Jewish town. Those Bedouins who did move to the urbanized towns found themselves in situations of dire poverty. Women in the Bedouin community whether in recognized or unrecognized villages have one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. It is important that these women are supported so as to improve the economic situation of all Bedouin communities. Recently demolitions in other Arab localities such as the city of Taibe have taken place. The reason cited for these demolitions is that the structures were built with out a permit but approximately 45% of Arab towns and villages do not have an authorized master plan which makes expansion and building illegal.  More than 50% of Arab towns and villages have requested an expansion of their jurisdiction areas, 45% were approved but the towns and villages are still waiting for the expansions to be implemented. Approximately 30% of Arab towns and villages do not have state lands in order to build schools, community centers etc. This situation puts many in the situation of building illegally or dealing with over crowding.

    Violence against Arab citizens

    Since October 2000 53 Arab citizens have been killed. The most recent death was in in February 2016. 36 of those cases involve police officers. In only 3 cases was the officer convicted of a crime and even in those cases they only served 6-14 months in jail. In 2003 the Or Commission which was established to investigate the events of October 2000 determined that it should be made unequivocally clear that firing live ammunition, including sniper fire and rubber coated bullets, is not a means to disperse crowds by the police. This determination has been ignored time after time by Israeli police when dealing with Arab citizens and has led to unnecessary deaths of innocent civilians. The department for police investigation in the ministry of justice rarely gives these cases the attention they deserve.Additionally, in recent years there has also been an increase of destructive attacks against Arab citizens, mostly linked to the Jewish hate group “Price Tag” the Church of Multiplication was the scene of an Arson attack in which two people were injured and the church itself was gutted. Three members of the extremist group Lehava were found guilty of a separate arson attack on the bilingual Jewish Arab school in Jerusalem. Mossawa calls on the Israeli government to conduct full investigations in to these acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

    Access to Education

    The shortage of classrooms in Arab society has been a problem known in the education sector for many years. The reason for the issue is simple: not enough classrooms were built in the Arab schools, despite promises made by the Ministry of Education. For example, a government decision of March 2007 called the Compulsory Education Law stipulated that by 2011, there should have been 3,200 classrooms built in Arab towns. However, at the end of 2011, the shortage of classrooms in the Arab communities was over 4502 classes approximately 30% of all classrooms in the Arab communities. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the buildings in Arab education kindergarten classes were missing on the eve of the Compulsory Education Law mentioned above. This meant that 2,026 preschools were missing in 2012. And more astonishingly, this means that kindergarten classes operated for only 3,325 Arab children in Israel. In other words there was already a 61% shortage of classrooms for children starting their education at age 3,4, or 5.

    Besides the shortage of classrooms, Arab schools are also lacking the resources needed to stimulate the children. For example, in 2000, the Ministry of Education set a target of placing one computer for every five students, but in 2011 there was only one computer station for every 12 children on average in Israel. When one looks at the numbers by sectors, one can see that when it came to the religious sector, there was actually one computer station for every 9 students while when it came to the Arab sector, there was one computer for every 20 students. Furthermore, there is a shortage of services such as psychological and educational counseling in these Arab schools. Building classrooms and providing services will prove difficult given that 62.9% of the Education Ministry’s payments are transferred to Jews, 22.1% to Arabs, 14.9% to mixed cities. Compulsory education, the foundation for young Arabs’ educational endeavors in Israel, requires serious attention in order to prepare Arab students for higher education.

    Private church schools also suffer from the discriminatory allocation of the education budget.Church schools in Israel are run by the churches, but serve students of all religions.They  fall into the category of “recognized but unofficial”, and formerly received 65% of their budgets from the state, but that figure was cut to 34 percent in 2014. The rest of the school’s budget is covered by tuition costs, which have increasingly become a costly burden to Arab families. In contrast, the Orthodox Jewish schools in Israel, which are also “recognized and unofficial” receive 100% of their budget from the state. This discrimination led to a schools strike in September 2015 until the government agreed to allocate more funds. Budget allocations are still however not equal to the funding for Jewish schools under the same category.

    Socioeconomic disparity between Jewish population and Arab population in Israel

    According to a report from the Israeli government appointed committee to fight poverty, the Arab minority makes up 38.9% of the total population in Israel living in poverty, even though they are only 20% of the population in total, and 60% of Arab children are living in poverty. A 2015 report by the OECD found Israel to have one of the most unequal economies in the western world. Employment is a large problem in the Arab community, especially for women. Of more than 85,000 employees in high tech companies only 1,200 are Arabs. Only 1.5% of researchers in Israel are Arab researchers, fewer than 1% of the research and development institutions have Arab employees. The Israeli government has yet to fully implement its own mandate of 10% of government employees being Arab citizens by 2012. In 2015 Arabs made up only 9.25% of government employees and there are still entire government departments and bodies that contain no Arab employees, including for example the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the Government Publications Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Knesset Television station.

    Disproportionate allocation of funds from the state budget to the Arab community

    Based on an analysis of the 2014 state budget the Israeli government allocates only approximately 6% of the development budget to the needs of the Arab minority, even though they make up 20% of the total population in Israel. Even when there are funds allocated for development they are often with held from being distributed. Currently 664 million shekels marked for development in the Arab community are awaiting approval from the ExceptionsCommittee. This disproportionate allocation of funds has a profoundly negative impact on the Arab communities in Israel in the sectors of; education, socio economic status, employment, and municipal planning. It has also had a detrimental impact on Arab culture organizations and institutions in Israel. Currently the Ministry of Culture allocates less than 3% of its budget to Arab culture organizations or projects. The Mossawa Center calls to stop socioeconomic discrimination against the Arab minority in Israel and hopes that the Israeli government will implement a more equitable allocation of funds. The Israeli government recently announced a decision to increase allocations to the Arab community but it has announced such decisions in the past and they are never fully implemented if at all. The government has yet to lay out how and to which sectors the funds will be allocated. Thorough and persistent follow up is required if there is a hope that even part of this government decision will be implemented.

    Governmental attack on Arab culture The newly appointed Minister of Culture, MiriRegev is worked to stop the submission of a mapping of culture needs in the Arab community to the Supreme Court and only did so when forced by the court. This mapping found that Arab villages have no arts centers, museums or cinematheques. Additionally, important Arab cultural institutions such as the Al-Midan Theatre have lost their municipal funding.Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered inquiry into how to shut down Palestine 48 TV station, which would serve Arab citizens.  Actors and filmmaker such MohamadBakry, SuhaAraf and Norman Issahave been threatened by government and settlers and lost funding for their projects because they are critical of the government. Mossawa calls on the Israeli government to end these discriminatory actions with violate the freedom of expression for Arab citizens.

    Racial incitement

    The most recent elections in Israel saw an increase in racist and inciting rhetoric from many politicians in order to gain votes. One of the most egregious of these statements came from Prime Minister Netanyahu himself. Out of fear of losing his power in the government he made short video telling the Israeli people that “The Arabs are coming out in to vote in droves” This statement was meant to scare Jewish Israeli voters in to going out to vote and voting for Likud so that they might be protected from the “droves” of Arab voters. Many world leaders and activists expressed concern at this obviously racist attitude towards 20% of Israeli voters. President Obama came out against Netanyahu’s statement calling it “cynical” and “divisive.” Political and Religious leaders are using racial incitement and the legal system neglects these statements that have led to direct use of violence by police officers and citizens.

    Outlawing Islamic Institutions

    Since 2000, and under the global pretext of the War on Terror, the Israeli Government has increased its authority to declare that particular associations and organizations are “terror” organizations. Until 2000, Israel declared 55 organizations to be a “terrorist organization” and/or “unlawful association,” whereas between 2001 and June/2015 the number reached 320 declarations. In November 2015 the Israeli government declared the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement illegal and shut down 17 of its organizations and charities located in localities and cities across Israel. In its practice, the Israeli Government relies on two legislations: 1) The Defense (Emergence) Regulations (1945) and 2) the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948). Both legislations are draconian in nature, encompass several unconstitutional components, and are meant to apply to situations of armed conflict. Nevertheless, the power given to the Minister of Security to declare that an organization is a “terrorist organization” or an “unlawful association” has been used widely in recent years.

    Further, the ability to subject these decisions to judicial scrutiny and to have a fair trial is rather limited. First, the decisions are usually based on intelligence information that is kept confidential and the concerned organizations are unable to review or to respond to any of the findings or the allegations brought in this information. Second, the law itself limits this ability in terms of the burden of proof and evidentiary weight. For example, according to article 8 of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, “If the Government, by notice in the Official Gazette, declares that a particular body of persons is a terrorist organization, the notice shall serve, in any legal proceeding, as proof that that body of persons is a terrorist organization, unless the contrary is proved.” In addition, alongside the authority given to the Minister of Security to declare that particular associations are “terrorist organization” and “unlawful association,” the law authorizes

    the Police Commissioner to close the offices of such organizations and associations. The properties of such organizations are subject to sequestration.

    Incidents of racism against Arab citizens

    From March 2015-March 2016 incidents of racism have almost doubled from 237 to 465. 311 of which were directed at the Arab community. This includes racist actions coming from elected representatives, state institutions, academic institutions, businesses, organizations, the media and members of the general population. One example of such actions against the Arab citizens is the continued racial profiling at Ben Gurion airport. Several lawsuits are currently pending against the airport for racial profiling leading to degrading and humiliating treatment of Arab citizens attempting to travel into or from the airport. Another example is the many attempts of extreme right MKs to curtail the freedoms of Arab MKs and expel them from the Knesset. These attempts have culminated in the introduction of a bill which would make it much easier for Arab MKs to be expelled and if passed will set a dangerous precedent.

    Recommendations

    The Mossawa Center would once again like to thank you for making time to learn about the issues affecting the Arab minority in Israel. The Mossawa Center makes the following recommendations for action to improve the status of the Arab minority in Israel.

    • Take a public stance against racial incitement from political officials.
    • Urge Israeli officials to stop home demolitions and immediately recognize all current Bedouin villages as well as providing all basic services they are entitled to as citizens of the State of Israel.
    • Insist that the Israeli government fully investigate cases of police violence against Arab citizens especially when they result in death.
    • Hold the Israeli government accountable to its recently announced decision to increase funds allocated to the Arab community
    • Ensure inclusion of Arab citizens in projects associated with Horizon 2020.
    • Urge the Israeli government to ensure freedom of expression and culture for Arab citizens
    • Use lateral agreements between Israel and the European Union to ensure protection of minority rights and that Israeli officials will increase investment in Arab communities through increasing the allocation of funds to those communities from the state budget and ending economically discriminatorypolicies.

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