Supreme Court rejects Regavim petition to close 3 Arab Bedouin elementary schools in Wadi el-Na’am

Students’ parents represented by Adalah
Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher: “The petition to close the schools is an attempt to pressure the villagers to desert their village and their lands”
Regavim petition rejected on grounds of “no standing”
On 21 March 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition submitted by right-wing organization Regavim to close down three elementary schools in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of Wadi el-Na’am in the Naqab (Negev) ruling that Regavim did not have proper standing to bring the petition.
Adalah Attorney: Petition is an attempt to pressure families
After the Supreme Court hearing on 20 March 2013, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stated, “It is obvious that Regavim submitted its petition not out of concern for the health and safety of the village’s students, but rather as an attempt to pressure the villagers to leave their village and their land, and to force them to move to a government township.”
Regavim: Nearby factories pose health risk
Regavim claimed that the schools were too close to chemical factories in Ramat Hovav and that in an emergency, toxic chemicals and radiation from the factory could harm the students’ health and safety. Regavim argued that over 2,000 students leave Wadi el-Na’am for schools located in Segev Shalom (Shaqib el-Salam), a nearby Arab Bedouin town. The petition was filed against Mr. Afash Abu Labad, the head the Wadi el-Na’am Local Committee, Mr. Ibrahim Abu Labad, a member of the Committee and Mr. Musa Abu Bnayyah, the head of the schools’ Parents’ Committee.
The Ministry of Education is currently working to relocate the schools because of the danger from the factories. However, the villagers deny that the schools should be moved, and instead maintain that if the students’ health and safety were of real concern to the government, then it should increase the factories’ safety. They add that the government is planning to build military installations near the village and bring thousands of soldiers to work, train, and live in the allegedly- dangerous area.
Right-wing organization preventing Arab-Palestinian development everywhere
Regavim is a right-wing, settler organization. Its work in the Naqab aims at preventing the “Bedouins take-over of over state lands” and “illegal Bedouin construction.” Regavim has also taken legal action in the West Bank, the Galilee, the northern Triangle and in mixed-city municipalities. The organization seeks to strengthen Jewish control of the land and aims to minimize Arab land ownership.
Case Citation: HJC 4627/09, Abu Labad vs. Ministry of Environment
In another case, Supreme Court rebukes ministries for failing to build safe road
Regarding a case in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of Al-Fura’a, also located in the Naqab, the Supreme Court harshly criticized the Ministry of Education and the Israel Land Administration (ILA) fordisregarding a previous Supreme Court ruling that required them to build a road and a safe intersectionto the local school. The Supreme Court’s rebuke followed at 2005 and 2011 decisions that the state must construct a save intersection.

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