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The Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1997 that aims to promote the economic, social, cultural and political rights of the Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, and the recognition of this community a national indigenous minority, with their own national, cultural and historical distinctiveness. The Center develops programs to promote a democratic society, and acts against all forms of discrimination based on race, nationalism, religious affiliation, social status, gender, and disabilities.
In advancing its mission of promoting the Palestinian Arab minority's rights, the Mossawa Center utilizes various methods, including governmental advocacy in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) and government, international advocacy with a particular focus in Europe, the United States, and South Africa, socio-economic research and budget analysis, media campaigns, capacity building with a broad network of Arab NGOs, and cooperative work with local councils as well as Israeli-based and international NGOs.
The Mossawa Center focuses on the following fields:
- Socio-economic, political and legal justice
- Protection of human rights and anti-racism work
- Political mobilization through advocacy for policy change
- Capacity building for Arab local councils and NGOs
- International advocacy and cooperation
- Promotion of Palestinian culture organizations
- Engagement of local youth in volunteer programs
- Inter-religious and inter-ethnic community work to advance a shared future for all citizens based on democratic values
- Cross-border collaboration between Palestinians Arabs in Israel and Palestinian Arabs in the occupied Palestinian territories and abroad
The approximately 1.6 million Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel comprise 20% of the population and are made up of Muslim, Christian and Druze communities. The community is divided between the Galilee in the North, the Triangle in the Center, the Naqab (Negev) in the South, and mixed cities, including Haifa, Akka, Jaffa, Lod, and Ramle. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, those Palestinian Arabs that remained were formally declared Israeli citizens but lived under military rule from 1948 until 1966, which applied only to them. Today, the Palestinian Arab community in Israel is subject to systematic and institutionalized discrimination. There are over thirty-five laws that discriminate against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel in the areas of land and planning, socio-economic rights and civil and political rights.
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