Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Adalah, whose name means justice in Arabic, is the leading Palestinian Arab human rights organization in Israel. This Haifa-based organization, founded in 1996, promotes the rights of the Palestinian Arabs who comprise nearly 20% of the population of Israel and the rights of Palestinians who live in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Broad areas of concern for Adalah have included land and planning rights; civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; prisoners’ rights; and the rights of Palestinians living under occupation as defined by international law. In its work related to these issues, the organization has brought cases before Israeli courts, provided legal consultation, appealed to international institutions, organized seminars and conferences, published reports, publicized cases through the media, and trained apprentices and lawyers in the area of human rights.
A major focus of Adalah’s efforts at the time our delegation visited in 2015 was the defense of the rights of Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev). Israel is attempting to forcibly urbanize the indigenous Bedouin population through the demolition of housing, denial of building permits, and withholding of basic services and infrastructure, including water, electricity, sewage systems, roads, and schools.
Probably the issue most directly related to libraries that Adalah has addressed has been the Israeli ban on importing books from enemy states. In 2008 Mr. Saleh Abbassi, owner of Maktabat Kull Shay (Kol Bo Books) in Haifa, was informed of the termination of his long-standing licenses to import books published in Syria and Lebanon from Egypt and Jordan on the grounds that this import constituted “trading with the enemy” under the 1939 Trade with the Enemy Ordinance. Following Adalah’s petition to the Supreme Court on this matter, Mr. Abbassi’s import license was restored. However, the Court has not ruled on the more general principle raised by Adalah, the right of the Arab minority within Israel to maintain legitimate relations with the broader collective of Arab people.
One of the important resources produced by Adalah is its Discriminatory Laws Database, which collects Israeli laws enacted since 1948 that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life.
For more information on Adalah, visit its website.