Fifteen years since the events of October 2000, in which Israeli police killed 13 Arab protesters, Hassan Jabareen, head of Israel’s leading Arab civil rights organization, talks to +972 about the lessons Israel’s Palestinian population learned from the killings, the escalation of systematic discrimination since, and the vision of a democratic state of all its citizens. ‘If Arabs in Israel determined their political leanings in accordance with what Jews said, they would always be inferior.’
The Arab public in Israel this week marked 15 years since protests that resulted in the police killings of 13 people and left hundreds wounded. “October 2000 led our public to understand that the existing parliamentary and legal tools are not enough to defend our rights,” says Attorney Hassan Jabareen, founder and executive director of Adalah, in an interview to +972 Magazine. October 2000, Jabareen explains, was a pivotal moment for Palestinian citizens of Israel, one that changed the way they viewed the State of Israel and forever altered their political relationship to it.
Only five years after establishing Adalah when the events broke, Jabareen led the legal team that represented the families of the victims in commission of inquiry appointed by then Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak (also known as the Or Commission). Since then, Adalah has become the leading legal advocacy organization for the Arab minority in Israel — more than 1.6 million Palestinians (21 percent of the population) who are Israeli citizens.
Over the years, Adalah has filed a long series of petitions demanding equal rights and equal distribution of resources for the Arab minority. Many of its cases resulted in landmark rulings. Adalah has also challenged, unsuccessfully, a new wave of legislation targeting Palestinian rights and political activities in Israel: the Nakba Law, citizenship law, the acceptance committees law that legalized housing segregation, and the anti-boycott law. Jabareen himself led the representation of Palestinian members of Knesset who were disqualified from running in elections (he won in every case), and the defense of Arab public figures facing criminal and political persecution.
Jabareen is the attorney for the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and an attorney for many Palestinian members of Knesset. Former High Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak once called him “one of the most important constitutional attorneys in Israel.” He was part of the team that published the Haifa Declaration in 2007, which presented the...Read More