Publishing date: 14/08/2018
Under pressure from the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, the Tur‘an Local Council, and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, The Ministerial Committee of Housing approves the establishment of Shibolet adjacent to Beit Rimon, in line with the National Council for Planning and Building’s decision
The Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) in partnership with the Tur‘an Local Council, and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), objected to an attempt to relocate the Shibolet settlement plan to another site, contravening a decision issued by the National Council on Planning and Building on July 7, 2015 that designated the plan to a site near Beit Rimon.
A strongly worded letter was sent to the Ministerial Committee of Housing to urging them to refrain from changing the location of the settlement and honor the decision made by the National Planning Council by locating Shibolet next to Beit Rimon, where the new settlement can benefit from the existing facilities and infrastructures rather than create a separate infrastructural system on Mount Tur‘an.
The decade-long dispute over the Shibolet settlement’s location north of Tur‘an came to a head in 2015 when the Tur‘an Council, in partnership with ACAP and SPNI, successfully persuaded the National Council on Planning and Building to reject the proposal to locate the Shibolet settlement next to Tur‘an. The National Planning and Building Council subsequently approved the relocation from the Tur‘an area to adjoin Beit Rimon on the western edge of Mount Tur‘an.
Submission of Rejection to the Ministerial Housing Committee
ACAP went to the Housing Committee over the weekend to warn them of the ramifications of circumventing the National Council’s decision and returning back to square one regarding the dispute over Shibolet’s location.
According to the letter of objection submitted by ACAP lawyer Jawad Abu al-Haija, the professional meetings that resulted in the decision to establish Shibolet adjacent to Beit Rimon considered several options before concluding that this location would be the most appropriate. Given this careful consideration, the letter stated, this decision should be respected and followed rather than bypassed in a way that imposes undue pressure on the town of Tur‘an.
Responsibility and Opposition
Imad Dahleh, the Mayor of the Tur‘an Local Council, firmly denounced and rejected the attempt to establish Shibolet next to Tur‘an in contravention of the National Council for Planning and Building’s 2015 deicions, and declared his commitment to summon public and legal efforts to counter the relocation of the settlement. Dahleh said that the Tur‘an Local Council moved quickly upon receiving the news of the relocation plan, consulting with advocates and professional organizations to mobilize.
Dahleh also implored the Local Council to remain vigilant and attentive to the difficulties ahead, and to work tirelessly to preserve Tur‘an’s historic territory and ensure a better future. Acknowledging that the 2015 victory over Shibolet’s location was a difficult feat requiring great effort, Dahleh asserted that it is the community’s duty and responsibility to follow through on opposing the latest setbacks and to not forget their past accomplishments. Furthermore, Dahleh argued that they responded to the problem with transparency, and felt proud and confident in their ability to achieve victories to secure Tur‘an’s future.
Be vigilant and alert to imminent dangers
ACAP founder Dr. Hanna Swaid made clear that the benefits and direct consequences of the racist Nation State Law are reflected in the realms of planning, building, land, settlements, spheres of influence, and building zones. Dr. Swaid also called upon professionals, community leaders, and heads of local councils to mobilize against strategies old and new targeting the Arab presence in the country. He stated further that we should not be surprised that a climate of Judaization schemes, land confiscation, the revitalization of settlement projects, would also promote the suffocation of Arab towns and villages.
Dr. Swaid stressed that ACAP, Tur‘an Local Council, and the SPNI, in order to achieve the desired outcome, must not back down on the National Planning and Building Council’s decision regarding the relocation of Shibolet. Furthermore, Swaid argued that that they must remain vigilant and follow up on all decisions and negotiations in order to thwart the endangerment facing Arab towns.