started this petition to
Prime Minister Netanyahu
***PLEASE NOTE: This is a petition specifically for rabbis and cantors. Please only sign if you are a rabbi or a cantor AND be sure to indicate your appropriate title***
*** CLICK TO SEE WHO HAS SIGNED: http://rhr.org.il/eng/wp-content/uploads/RABBINICALPETITIONplanningpetitionr.pdf?d=8
RABBIS AND CANTORS: Please join RHR's sign on letter encouraging Israel's democratic institutions to end a long standing injustice. We are waiting for Israel's High Court to decide on the petition submitted by RHR and partners to return zoning and planning authority for Palestinian communities in Area C to Palestinian hands. We believe that this will help end the policy of making it nearly impossible for Palestinian families to obtain a legal permit, and then demolishing homes built "illegally." However, the judges themselves have indicated that the State could simply withdraw its opposition to the petition and accede to implementing it.
Please help us send a clear message from Jewish spiritual leaders throughout the word.
Full text of the letter:
Dear Prime Minister
In 2005, over four hundred
rabbis wrote an open letter to then Prime Minister Sharon expressing
concern about the administrative demolition of Palestinian homes. We
are extremely disapointed that the Government of Israel is opposing a
High Court petition offering a constructive solution for alleviating
this issue. Please use your authority to end this opposition.
Part of the 2005 letter
read: "The homes that were demolished were not demolished for any
security reason. None of the people in these homes engaged in
violence or harboring terrorists. They were demolished because of a
violation of zoning regulations in a context where it is almost
impossible for Palestinian families in those parts of the West Bank
under Israeli civilian control or in Jerusalem to legally obtain
building permits… " The context referred to was
the fact that planning and zoning laws severely restrict the ability
of Palestinians to build homes, even on the lands that the State
recognizes as belonging to them. There has been no
representation or true ability for Palestinians to determine how to
properly plan for their communities since local and district planning committees
were abolished in 1971. The army plans for them.
Back in the
19th century, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch warned in his
Torah commentary about the disastrous consequences when, even with
the best of intentions, those with the power in their hands try to
appropriate for themselves the task of determining how to be just to
others. The current discriminatory planning process exemplifies this,
and violates the Jewish prohibition against acting "
Civil Administration (Army)
planning officials have acknowledged that they don't really have the
ability to adequately plan for Palestinian communities.
Currently, the failure of the existing system is clear.
Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human
suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year
in Area C alone.
We are therefore disappointed that the Government of Israel has decided to oppose the High Court petition submitted by Rabbis For Human Rights and partner organizations to restore local planning committees. In the hearing on the petition on April 28th of this year, the judges said clearly that the current situation is unacceptable, and gave the State ninety days to come up with a proposal to truly involve Palestinians in planning their communities. While the judges indicated that they would not force the State to restore the local and district planning committees cancelled by military order in 1971, they indicated that there was no legal reason for the State not to do so.
However, the State's response was a proposal to institutionalize consultations that are already taking place in many cases. These consultations have not significantly altered the situation because the Civil Administration has no obligation to take into account what they hear. We also saw in the spring that consultations were suspended in response to moves by the Palestinian Authority.
Human rights must not be
politicized. The State of Israel has an obligation to ensure
that every human being under her control, each created in God's
Image, has a fair chance to build a home for him/herself and his/her
family, irrespective of the current state of the peace process or
differing opinions about what areas will be under Israel's control in
a future final status agreement.
We urge the State of Israel
to withdraw its opposition to RHR's petition.
**TO SEE THE FULL TEXT OF THE 2005 LETTER AND VIEW THE SIGNATORIES PLEASE COPY AND PASTE INTO YOUR BROWSER THE FOLLOWING LINK: http://bit.ly/2005rabbipetition
MORE ABOUT THE HIGH COURT APPEAL: http://rhr.org.il/eng/area-c-planning-appeal/