Adequate Representation of Arab Society in Geographic Committees
Geographic committees are intended to discuss and recommend key issues concerning distributive justice between local authorities and their residents, most notably shifting borders, distributing revenues between authorities, and changing municipal status. These committees are of special importance for Arab society, including Arab local authorities, which suffer from severe discrimination in the fields of planning, land, and resource allocation due to government policy. The outcomes of the discrimination are reflected in all relevant dimensions: socioeconomic status, the scope of Arab localities’ jurisdictional areas, density, lack of housing, and the Arab local authorities’ level of income.
According to an examination we conducted of the Ministry of Public Security’s website, five members of Arab Society serve on geographic committees (a member of each of the geographic committees representing: Haifa, the Center, South, Western Galilee, Upper Galilee, and the Amakim). Nevertheless, we did not find any Arab members among the professional teams working alongside the committees, nor among the committee chairs. We thus appealed to the Minister of Public Security ahead of the appointment period for members of the committees and the professional teams that work alongside them, requesting the assurance of adequate representation of Arab society in new appointments.
In our appeal, ACRI Attorney Gadeer Nicola wrote that “the geographic committees have a central and significant role in correcting certain aspects of historical discrimination and reducing gaps in the fields of resource distribution, areas of jurisdiction, and income generation between the various local authorities in the country." Thus, these committees’ relevance to Arab society and the importance of ensuring adequate representation of Arab society among committee members, as well as the professional teams alongside them, must be more strongly emphasized.