Our flagship project, ADJ's LandWatch, consistently monitors developments in the field of land from the economic, legal, social and planning perspectives. This includes decisions of the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and its board - the Israel Land Council (ILC). Subsequently, information gathered is analyzed and the ADJ staff acts on various levels in order to influence decisions, processes and policies.
A central aspect of LandWatch is a continuing distribution of monthly newsletters to a growing list made up of Knesset members, legal professionals, journalists, government officials, academics and other NGOs in the field. In these newsletters, ADJ analyzes the important developments in the field of land and distribution of resources, reports on the organization's activities and generally raises awareness about these issues. The LandWatch project constitutes a basis for the majority of other activities including petition papers, public campaigns, interface with government bodies and legal petitions.
Recently, in the framework of LandWatch, ADJ has been successful in preventing an improper appointment of a politician with a history of discriminatory comments to head the ILA; in revoking a discriminatory stipulation that limited the marketing of regional plots to the residents of the region only; and, in influencing a decision that demands that leasers of public lands compensate the government when the land’s distinction is changed from agricultural to commercial/residential use.
Mineral Water Petition
ADJ discovered that the mineral water companies in Israel have been controlling public resources – mineral water springs – for commercial use and as their private property with no legal or economic arrangement with the state.
As a result, ADJ submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice in May 2008, asserting that the three major mineral water companies have taken control of a valuable public resource and have the liberty to sell mineral water commercially for a non proportional fee. This petition aims to fully restructure the mineral water market and the legal and business framework of selling mineral water in Israel (see published articles on the issue). The petition is pending and the first hearing is scheduled for December 31, 2009.
Coalition for Affordable Housing
ADJ is a central member of a coalition created to advance the concept of affordable housing in Israel. The coalition is acting to crystallize legislation and policies that will establish integrative and affordable housing in cities and towns throughout the country. The coalition is comprised of social change organizations, academic institutions and other professionals, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the law clinics at Haifa University and Tel Aviv University.
The coalition has been advocating for the initiation of affordable housing in Tel Aviv – Yafo, a city that is essentially evicting its long-term residents because of a severe lack of affordable options for housing in the city. Furthermore, in August 2009, the coalition established a blog on affordable housing that combines local Israeli issues with global perspectives and aims to raise the awareness of the public to the housing crisis in Israel.
“Reform” of the Israel Land Administration (ILA)
The “reform” law that was passed by the Knesset in July 09 is actually a revolutionary and far-reaching transformation of the values and history of the country, promoting the privatization of land, a process that is expected to significantly and permanently influence economic, social and environmental issues. Currently, the law is a skeleton whose details will be determined by the Israel Land Council (ILC – the ILA’s board).
ADJ plans to implement an intensive strategy to prevent irreversible damage to the country’s land, a valuable state-held asset. For instance, we will monitor the amount of land being privatized, in order to guard the limits set out in the law; We will scrutinize regulations that prevent large concentrations of land in the hands of individual owners; We will closely follow decisions of the Israel Land Council, lacks non-governmental members; And, we will monitor decisions of the new Land Authority, in which there are serious problems of lack of transparency.
Accordingly, ADJ will advocate in the framework of the Committee of Ministers, will continue the public campaign and advocacy in the Knesset and ADJ will consider initiating and joining legal processes, including submitting a petition to the Supreme Court.