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  • ACRI

Increase in Arab Home Demolition Orders Since 2016

House demolition in Dahamash

Over the past three years, since the government's decision to enforce construction violations more rigorously, there has been a significant increase in the amount of administrative demolition orders issued for buildings owned by Arab citizens, compared with those owned by Jews, according to figures submitted to the ACRI.

On Saturday the 43d Land Day will take place, marking the government's decision to expropriate land belonging to Arab citizens in the Galilee in 1976, and the popular political uprising following the decision. However, the housing shortage among Arab society neither began nor ended then.

Since the establishment of the state, no new Arab locality has been established in Israel (the only localities established were Bedouin towns in the Negev, which were established to populate residents from the unrecognized villages who were expelled from their villages by the state), and the jurisdictional areas of Arab communities were reduced. In most Arab localities there is no proper planning or updated master plans suitable for the population's needs. In addition, there is a shortage of land, development, housing units, and construction for young couples, but the state does not invest enough in building up these communities. One of the consequences of this discriminatory policy is illegal construction.

In June of 2016, Government Resolution 1559, which strengthens the enforcement of planning and building laws, was adopted. In April of 2017, the Knesset approved the "Kaminitz Law" — an amendment to the Planning and Building Law, which intensified enforcement and punishment for construction violations. While the amendment to the law has implications for the enforcement of planning laws in all areas of the country, it has far-reaching implications for Arab citizens.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of administrative demolition orders issued to structures in Arab communities, with a decline in Jewish localities. These figures reinforced concern expressed by human rights organizations and planning and construction organizations before the Kaminitz Law was passed, that the law and preceding measures were primarily intended to increase home demolitions among Arab society.

According to Attorney Raghad Jaraisy, director of ACRI's Arab Minority Rights unit, in the 43 years since Palestinian citizens first marked Land Day, the struggle over land, planning, housing, and equality, remains more relevant than ever. "In recent years, the government also added the Kaminitz Law — a harsh sweeping law that increases and intensifies the enforcement of planning laws in Arab society and the actual demolition of structures that were built without permits, typically due to having no other choice. This was done, among other things, through the use of problematic draconian administrative measures. And prior to receiving a suitable appropriate response to long-term planning and land shortage among Arab society, which is a result of the policies of successive Israeli governments," says Attorney Jaraisy.

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