On March 26, 2023, the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee held a discussion on two amendments to the Planning and Building Law. The amendments aimed to change the planning committee’s composition so as to increase the number of government representatives in the various committees. The amendments arose in the backdrop of coalition agreements and the transfer of power between ministers.
In preparation for the discussion, we submitted a position paper on behalf of ACRI, Sikkuy-Aufoq, and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights. In the letter, ACRI lawyers Debbie Gild-Hayo and Gadeer Nicola explained that the organizations oppose the amendments due to the severe and disproportionate harm they would cause to the right to equality and planning rights. Increasing the share of government representatives in the planning institutions will radically disrupt the balance that hardly exists between the various agents in planning institutions, considering the central government's current control over these institutions. We further emphasized the severe violation of Arab citizens’ rights to equality in housing, planning, and land.
To minimize harm, we demanded that representatives of social organizations and local authorities be added to the committees as opposed to any additional representative from a government ministry. Furthermore, we demanded that the rights of Arab society be anchored in the Planning and Building Law, to ensure adequate representation in all planning institutions and in professional bodies that work alongside them.
Our position was partially accepted amid the committee discussion. The head of the Israel Ministry of the Interior’s Planning Administration announced the intention to promote a government bill to add a social and local authority representative. Shortly thereafter, a legal memorandum was published as a temporary provision for the current government term, which proposed the addition of a representative from local authorities and a social representative to various committees. The organizations submitted comments regarding the legal memorandum, the essence of which are as follows:
It must be ensured that a representative from an Arab authority will be among the local authority representatives in each committee.
Adequate representation of the Arab community must be ensured in all planning committees – a topic that remains entirely unaddressed by the current memorandum.
The social representative must be on all committees and excluded from the temporary provision, that is, retain a permanent presence.
There is no place for contractors’ representatives in the committees.
The appointment of a representative from the academy must be independent, without the minister’s intervention.
The organizations' appeal, 23.3.2023
Organizations' Remarks on the Bill, 20.4.2023