While having coffee with a Finnish photojournalist in Haifa I learned about the Arab minority human rights group, Adalah. She prompted me to contact the organization because they address the 50-some Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinians. I was amazed, I had no idea there were that many. I was aware of discriminations in the workplace, housing, educational opportunities, but did not realize these and other social practices were supported and upheld by written law. With one day remaining in Haifa I hoped someone from Adalah would be able to fit in me into their schedule last minute. As it happened, there were two lawyers available for an interview. This is what I learned.
The family unification law is considered one of the most racist laws in Israel. In effect, if a Palestinian from the West Bank marries a Palestinian Israeli they are unable to get Israeli citizenship and rights, health care, etc. If they choose to live in Israel together, the spouse from the West Bank will be considered illegal.
"We are willing to sacrifice and limit people's rights in order to, kind of, put the State before anything else..."
"The thing that made me most Palestinian was the moment I arrived whether in an airport abroad or the airport here."
Daily life on the ground:
Though living in Israel and Israeli citizens, one of the lawyers explained how his Palestinian village was used for military practice by the Israeli Defense Force in preparation for their service in the West Bank (Occupied Palestinian Territories - OPT).
"...It's knowing also that like whether it's communities in the United States... like African-American communities there that are still trying to overcome or confront the issues of racial inequality, of police brutality, etc. etc., that there's still ways to learn to cooperate, to learn, to strategize. So there's something in that energy, that knowledge, that if other people can succeed, you can."
Intern at Adalah: HERE
Read further: Adalah's recent work featured in the Jerusalem Post, April 26, 2017. "On April 17, 1,500 Palestinian security prisoners started a hunger strike to protest what they called inhumane treatment and restrictions, including denial of the right to use the prison telephones, as well as the justice system’s treatment of them in general." Read more...
Sign up to stay informed with Adalah: HERE
Psalm 96 (Interpreted by Nan Merrill)
The Creator of the Cosmos reigns!
Yes, the world has been created,
gift to all generations;
let truth and justice give birth
to peace and harmony.
Let the heavens be glad, and
let the earth rejoice;
let the seas roar, and all that
let the fields exult, and
everything in them!
Then shall the trees of the wood
sing for joy
before the coming of the Beloved,
who reigns in glory.
For through Love will come
truth and justice,
offering all the people gifts
of new Life.