21 January 2002
Human Rights Watch Report Condemns Discrimination Against Palestinian
Children in Israel
Adalah welcomes the well-researched and comprehensive 5 December 2001
Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Second Class: Discrimination Against
Palestinian Arab Children in Israel's Schools. This 187-page report, prepared by Zama Coursen-Neff, legal counsel to the Children's Rights Division of HRW, documents the systematic discrimination leveled against Palestinian
children in Israel by the government. It is based on investigations at twenty-six Arab and Jewish schools and nationwide statistics compiled by the Israeli government.
The report offers a strict condemnation of the Israeli education system
regards to its treatment of the Palestinian minority:
"Nearly one in four of Israel's 1.6 million school children are educated
in a public school system wholly separate from the majority. The children in
this parallel school system are Israeli citizens of Palestinian Arab
origin. Their schools are a world apart in quality from the public schools serving Israel's majority Jewish population. Often overcrowded and understaffed, poorly built, badly maintained, or simply unavailable, schools for
Palestinian Arab children offer fewer facilities and educational
opportunities than are offered other Israeli children. This report is
about Israel's discrimination against its Palestinian Arab children in
guaranteeing the rights to education."
Second Class offers a comprehensive review of the many ways in which
Palestinian children in Israel suffer in comparison to their Jewish
neighbors, from the deficient Arab language courses to the lack of
resources allotted by the state. As noted in the report, the government has admitted to spending more money per Jewish child than Palestinian child in the education system. Although the government promised to amend discrepancies
in the allotment of state resources between Palestinian and Jewish children
last year, the 2002 budget does not reflect any change in the state's
Second Class concludes with a series of recommendations to the Israeli
government, including the adoption of a written policy of equality that
explicitly prohibits discrimination of all kinds, the equal distribution
of resources and funding to close the gaps between Jewish and Arab education,
the amendment of education laws to ban discrimination at the national
level, and the encouragement of greater involvement by Palestinian citizens in
the decision-making processes of the education system.
Second Class is available on-line on the HRW web page
(www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/). For more information, contact Ms.
Coursen-Neff at email@example.com.
Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights
Tel: +972 4 950 1610
Fax: +972 4 950 3140