The Legal Status of the Arab Community - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

The Legal Status of the Arab Community

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Leaders, lawyers, and civil society activists took part on the Legal status conference

Two hundred leaders, lawyers, and representatives from civil society organizations called for collective action to be taken to prevent civil and human rights violations against the Palestinian Arab minority by the new Israeli coalition during the legal status conference that was held on Friday, December 2nd, in the city of Nazareth.

Mrs Suha Salman Musa, the executive director of the Mossawa Centre opened the conference noting the role of the youth in the coming stage. Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel(HFC), Mohamed Barakeh, opened his speech by thanking the Mossawa Center for its annual devotion to organizing the legal status conference, which has turned into a central platform for in-depth discussion outside the political landscape to crystallize strategic visions, highlighting the need for confidence in the long-running struggle for justice and equality, and adherence to political and national constants. He called for national and civil equality and implementation of the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people, stressing that it is our duty to put our cause on the international platform and to discuss and work with local and international allies.

The first session of the conference was run by journalists Shirin Younis and the Director of the Mossawa Center, Jafar Farah, who outlined expected scenarios for the new government's policy, warning that "the coming government will work to bring human rights and representative institutions such as the Follow-Up Committee outside the law and will pursue human rights and cultural institutions." Other speakers in this session included:

  • Mudar Yunis: Mayor of Arara-Ara , Chairman of the National Committee of Arab Mayors
  • Dr. Amer Alhozayel: Academic and political activist
  • Dr. Kais Nasser: Advocate and scholar
  • Dr. Maysoun Ershead Shehadeh: Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University. Lecturer The Department of History, Open University.
  • Prof. Mahmoud Yazbak: Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Haifa.

The second session of the conference was dedicated to the lessons learned from the May 2021 events, and the Al-Aqsa-October 2000 events, and was opened by lawyer Nidal Othman, Deputy Mayor of Tamra. It emphasized the importance of better coordination between the various attorneys representing the young Arab protestors, who were arrested by the police during those events. Other speakers in this session were:

  • Maher Talhami: Expert lawyer in crime and security law
  • Nareman Shehadeh Zoabi: Attorney, Adalah legal center
  • Ms. Maha Alnakib: Political and Social activits, and former member of the Lydda City Council
  • Shahda Ibn Bari: Expert lawyer in human rights, civil and criminal law
  • Mohamad Lotfi: Advocate
  • Ahmad Khalefa: Expert lawyer in human rights and security issues, Follow-up the file of the detainees of may 2021 events
  • Amany Ibraheem: Advocate
  • Khaled Zabarka: Lawyer and human rights expert

The conference's third session was opened and facilitated by Mossawa Center Board Member lawyer Alber Nahhas, who pointed out that we have to examine the feasibility of appointing Arab judges and their role in the legislative process. Speakers in this session included:

  • Former judge,Tawfiq Katili: Former President of the Magistrate's Court in Nazareth, A former Vice President of The District Court of Nazareth
  • Att. Bana Shoughry: lecturer & Doctorate fellow, at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law
  • Prof. Mohammed Wattad: Dean of Law and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Zefat Academic College
  • MK. Youssef Atauna: Hadash and Ta”al party
  • Dr.Manar Mahmoud: Dr. on political science and researcher on governance , law and politics

The conference ended with an appeal to all parties and institutions in Palestinian-Arab society in Israel to work to create working mechanisms to follow up on the conference's output in a practical way and to remove the frustration of the Arab masses from the last elections.

It is important to note that the last elections left a turbulent and grim radical political reality. A reality that undermines and poses an existential threat to civil society organizations that advocate and fight to protect the rights of the marginalized communities, that were rendered voiceless due to systematic discrimination and elimination from the national narrative. The new extreme right-wing government was elected on anti-Arab, misogynistic, and hateful cries of racist and bigoted slogans and promises. The Mossawa Center is fully aware of the new injustices it has to face along with fellow CSOs. The delegitimization and the new bigoted narrative that paints CSOs as the enemies of democracy is a radical and extreme approach and must be countered and opposed.

The Mossawa Center calls on the allies of human rights and democracy to stand with it and support its projects. The Mossawa Center also calls on fellow human rights organizations and advocates to stand together and face this new age of bigotry and discrimination.



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