200 demonstrate against the Kaminitz bill outside of the Knesset - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

200 demonstrate against the Kaminitz bill outside of the Knesset

Around two hundred gathered outside of the Ministry of Finance yesterday (Tuesday, March 14, 2017) to protest the soon-to-pass Kaminitz bill, which will increase home demolitions and further criminalize unofficial construction. As a result of the government’s refusal to provide comprehensive planning solutions to the Arab community, unofficial construction is highly prevalent in the Arab sector. Thus, the bill will disproportionately impact the Arab community. For more information on the bill and its impact, see our most recent press release. Those present at the demonstration included human rights groups, representatives of local councils, Knesset members, and those for whom the law will cause the most injure, including families with demolition orders on their homes and residents of unrecognized villages.


The bill met resistance within the Knesset, as well. Recent victims of home demolitions and excessive police force in the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran addressed the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, highlighting the harm caused by home demolitions and the injustice of destruction. Additionally, several Knesset members and human rights groups challenged the bill. The Committee Chair, MK David Amsalem (Likud), prevented them from speaking, however. Arab MKs Ahmad Tibi and Yousef Jabareen were forced to leave the meeting, alongside Mossawa’s director, Mr. Jafar Farah. 


With the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the far-right settler group, Regavim, MK Amsalem intends for the bill to pass its second reading in the next week. The committee, however, has refused to improve problematic and unclear sections of the bill and, along with the Ministry of Justice, has failed to coherently answer the questions of MKs. Neither entity has addressed the indisputable root of “illegal” construction in the Arab sector, that is, the state’s refusal to provide adequate planning solutions to Arab localities. 


Organized by the Mossawa Center, in cooperation with the Arab Center for Alternative Planning and  the National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities, the demonstration called for sustainable, legal alternatives to unauthorized construction. Those present demanded the government address the housing shortage in the Arab sector and that the state recognize long-standing unrecognized Arab villages, especially in the Negev.   


The Knesset Interior and Environment Committee will reconvene, and likely begin voting, tomorrow (Thursday, March 16, 2017). The Mossawa Center expects the Committee to have collected all votes by Monday (March 20, 2017) so that the bill can pass its third and final reading in the Chamber before the Knesset enters recess. 


We urge you to contact the following officials to encourage them to support legislation that addresses the underlying causes of unauthorized construction and to provide a sustainable, just alternative for the Arab community: 


Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon

Tel: 972-2-5317111

Fax: 972-2-5637891

[email protected]


Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel

Tel: 972-2-6547003/4

Fax: 972-2-6547035/6 [email protected].


Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant

Tel: 972-2-5847211

Fax: 972-2-5811904  [email protected]


MK Benny Begin

Tel: 972-2-6408162

[email protected]


MK David Amsalem

Tel: 972-2-6408350

[email protected]


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