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December 2019

Traditional Palestinian dishes prepared with Akoub (Photo: Mati Milstein)

Dear Friends,
Today (3 December) is #GivingTuesday!
As we round up another intensive year of defending Palestinian rights, we realize that some of Adalah’s cases - which your generous donations have supported - may have gotten relatively less attention outside the country.
For example, here are two important cases around Palestinian food and law that you might have missed.

(I) Decriminalizing the picking of Palestinian plants and herbs

This year Adalah led legal actions and media outreach to demand the decriminalization of the picking of the plants Za’atar, Akoub and Maramiya, which are among the most well-known and commonly-used herbs and leaf vegetables in the Palestinian national cuisine.
A Palestinian woman prepares Akoub (Photo: Mati Milstein)
Although Palestinians have harvested these plants for centuries, Israel’s Environment Ministry has dubiously listed them as ‘protected’ under the law.

As a result, it became a criminal offense to pick, possess or trade in these plants, and many Palestinians have been indicted and convicted of related offenses. The picking of these plants continues in spite of the law, and many who do so regard it as an act of resistance and protest.
In a legal letter to Israeli authorities, Adalah demanded the cancellation of these laws and the freezing of their criminal enforcement. And in August 2019, the authorities declared that they would be revising the ban to allow freer harvesting for personal use!

Adalah will continue to closely follow developments to ensure the state's commitment is fulfilled.

Adalah Attorney Rabea Eghbariah (right) observes an Akoub harvest with Palestinian farmers (Photo: Mati Milstein).
(II) Challenging ban on bread in hospitals during Passover

This year Adalah worked to overturn the Israeli Health Ministry’s blanket ban on leavened bread in hospitals during the Jewish Passover holiday.
According to this nationwide policy, all visitors must undergo strict searches at hospital entrances to ensure that they’re not carrying any leavened bread products. If found, the food is confiscated or destroyed, and people who refuse to hand over their food can be prevented from entering the hospitals.

This policy, which constitutes religious coercion against Palestinians as well as secular Jewish Israelis, prevents  patients and visitors from eating bread-based meals as they wish, and further humiliates and discriminates against visitors at hospitals.
In March 2019, following Adalah’s petition, the Israeli Supreme Court issued an order requiring the Ministry to justify why it is upholding this policy.
The court also criticized the state’s proposal to designate segregated areas for people to consume leavened bread products, and ordered it to come up with different procedures to address the issue.
Pita bread at a Palestinian market. (Photo: Guillaume Paumier,
via Wikimedia Commons).
These are just some of the impactful cases Adalah is taking on to support the basic rights of Palestinians in their daily life, including the freedom to consume traditional foods and foods of their choice without restrictions.

Now on #GivingTuesday, you can give this work a major boost by making a donation today!
Global Giving is offering matching funds made today from 00:00EST to 23:59 EST, making your donations to Adalah's Global Giving projects count for even more!
In solidarity,

Hassan Jabareen, Adv.
General Director, Adalah
Give to Adalah – Give to Justice

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Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel · 94 Yaffa Street · PO Box 8921 · Haifa 31090 · Israel