Thursday, February 9, 2012


In an effort to enhance access to water, we have put together a legal advocacy mission to the Bedouin villages of Naqab.  We will be collaborating with Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, to raise awareness of the inequality faced by minorities regarding their right to water.
The project focuses on the access to water in the villages in Naqab (Negev), a desert region in the south of Israel. 85% of Naqab is used by Israeli Defense Forces for training purposes. The remaining part of Naqab is home to over 180,000 Palestinians, who live in the 35 villages that are not recognized by the Israeli government and therefore are ineligible for municipal services such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash pickup. Most homes in these unrecognized villages are not connected to a sewage system and suffer from an unreliable water supply.  The villagers are not permitted to build permanent structures and thus, cannot build a water system on their own. While there is some progress in the recognition process, the villages are yet to receive water, electricity and garbage services. 
In June 2011, the Israeli Supreme Court concluded that the right to water is grounded in the right to dignity. Nevertheless, the Israeli water authority has not recognized the Supreme Court ruling, claiming that the villages in Naqab are illegal. 
Essentially, our project will focus on the issue of the right to water under Israeli and international laws. The project comprises three major phases: 
Phase I: Conduct research focused on the domestic  and international laws on the right to water and prepare a preliminary research paper prior to leaving New York City (currently underway: see Research Week # 1 and Research week # 2);
Phase II: Fact-finding mission in Naqab:
    • Gather research by interviewing individuals including people of Al Araqi, Israeli authorities, the regional council, lawyers representing the villagers etc.,
    • Conduct legal research and analysis of the Supreme Court case on the right to water, and
    • Determine the distances of each village from sources of water and living conditions in the unrecognized villages of Naqab by taking photos and recording;
Phase III: Assemble a final report containing the research findings including the hurdles faced by Naqab Arabs, and an analysis of  their rights under Israeli and international law and propose potential solutions to the water problem experienced in the area. The report shall provide a detailed account of the activities of student while on-site and be presented to law journals to be published in 2012. 
The fact-finding portion of this project will take place in March 2012. Adalah has just informed us, as of January 31, 2012, that the Water Tribunal rejected Adalah’s appeal to compel the Water Authority to implement the Supreme Court decision and connect three villages to water. The Court accepted the argument of the state that “facts on the ground” indicate that the villager have minimal access to water. We will examine determine the elements that other jurisdictions have examined to establish the standard for “minimal access to water”. 
Accordingly, our fact-finding, reporting and documenting is of exceptional importance. 
As a student run organization, the funding for this project has presented an exciting challenge.  In addition to requiring each participant to personally contribute to the expenses, our Law School has provided us with limited funding with our project. We have reached out to several organizations within our law school. Specifically, the Student Bar Association and the Office of Student Affairs have both contributed to our project. 
For this purpose, we are turning to you, to provide financial support of our project. If you desire, your support will be recognized in our publications. As of February 9, the remaining balance on the budget is $4,600.
Your donation will be tax deductible. As a 501(c)(3) entity, the law school will issue the required receipts acknowledging a gift for tax purposes. 
Please feel free to contact us at for more information.