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Q&A: The state of human rights in Israel and Palestine

The number of challenges in promoting human rights in Israel and Palestine are great and the rewards in doing so can be few and far between. Yet despite the difficulties, there is a vibrant community of activists, professionals and other individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others and advancing human rights in the region.

+972 set out to meet some of the most prominent difference-makers in the Israeli and Palestinian human rights community. We wanted to know how they see the state of human rights in Israel and Palestine today, what are the biggest challenges they and their organizations face, how they see the future of the conflict and those whom it affects, and what drives them personally.

In this ongoing series, +972 sits down with the heads of human rights organizations and other movers and shakers, bringing you their personal thoughts, professional wisdom and anecdotes from the unique struggles they have chosen to fight.

  • ‘When I look at the Prawer Plan, I see another Nakba’

    +972 speaks with Suhad Bishara, of Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, about the challenges of fighting for Palestinian rights in Israel and deciding when not to take legal action in Israeli courts – if doing so would undermine the Palestinian narrative. When looking at Israel's Prawer-Begin Plan to evict tens of thousands of Bedouin in order to free land for Jewish development, attorney Suhad Bishara sees a second Nakba coming. Bishara, 42, is Adalah’s acting executive director and the organization’s director of land and planning rights. Originally from Tarshiha, a village in the northern Galilee…

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  • Applying runners' wisdom to the fight for human rights

    +972 speaks with Gisha’s executive director Sari Bashi about changing the Israeli policy of restricting Palestinian freedom of movement, one legal victory at a time, and transforming Israeli public perceptions of Palestinians in Gaza. Behind her desk in her Tel Aviv office, Sari Bashi has two things hanging on her wall. On the left is a small, framed memento from her staff that includes a photo of her running, a map outlining the ultra-marathon she completed last year, setting a record for running the longest distance – 215 kilometers (134 miles) – of any Israeli woman, and a breakdown of…

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  • 'Occupation will never be consistent with human rights'

    +972 speaks with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s executive director Hagai El-Ad, discussing bittersweet legal victories, the downward trajectory of civil rights in Israel and how ACRI is facing its greatest challenge, winning over the Israeli public.  Hagai El-Ad’s change in career paths came from a self-realization that his destiny was not in some distant galaxy, but very much grounded on Earth, specifically, in Israel’s civil rights arena. The executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), El-Ad, 43, earned a master’s degree in astrophysics before moving to the nonprofit sector. In 2000, he became…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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Illustrations: Eran Mendel