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Discrimination Against Arab Communities in Israel

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Discrimination Against Arab Communities in Israel and Palestine

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Racism in Israel is official government policy.

by Stephen Lendman

An April joint Bimkom Planners for Planning Rights/Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) report titled "Outline Planning for Arab Localities in Israel" explains state-sponsored discriminatory injustice.

Bimkom's Cesar Yeudki called study findings "a recipe for further widening the gaps between population groups in Israeli society."

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The report discussed Arab community planning for the first time. It reviewed 119 areas with about 950,000 residents. It compared variations in planning solutions for Arab and Jewish locations.

Over decades, Arab areas transformed from rural to densely urban "with no overarching strategy." Israeli planning procedures failed to meet needs of a growing population.

Housing, infrastructure and adequate land allocations are sorely lacking. In contrast, Jewish communities get preferential treatment. Two main Arab groups lack housing solutions:

(1) Residents who own land located outside areas zoned for development.

(2) Others without land unable buy it for home construction.

Israel's Interior Ministry bears responsibility. Partial solutions only are offered. In addition, drawn out planning procedures leave them out of date when approved.

The 2003 Or Commission concluded that discrimination, neglect and hardship contributed to September 2000 Intifada eruptions. While the Arab population grew sevenfold since 1948, residential areas remained virtually unchanged. Lack of planning and bureaucratic foot-dragging were blamed.

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Until 2000, most Arab communities had no approved plans. Early that year, the Interior Ministry initiated efforts for the "advancement of outline planning in the non-Jewish sector."

Initially about 30 communities were included. Later they more than doubled. The project included master plans for 13 locations in north and Central Israel. A regional one for Wadi Ara areas was also completed.

At the same time, nine local plans were initiated. Twelve years later, approval was gotten for only half the designated areas. In other words, the Interior Ministry's fulfillment belied its promise.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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