A court on Sunday ordered a predominantly Jewish town in northern Israel to lift a ban on non-resident visitors to its parks, a prohibition that a rights group said was aimed at keeping Arabs out.
The town of Afula denied the edict was racially motivated.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 15, 2019
In instructing the town to lift the order, Judge Danny Sarfati stopped short of accusing it of racism and cited a legal opinion by Israel’s attorney general, who said municipal parks were public property open to all.
Afula imposed the prohibition a month ago, effectively cutting off access to the 10-hectare (25-acre) park by residents of nearby Arab villages who frequented the popular site.
A PARK FOR #JEWS ONLY: The mayor of the #Israeli city of #Afula wants to keep #Palestinian #Arab citizens out of the city park. @AdalahEnglish will be in court on Sunday to fight the Afula ban, and is legally challenging all forms of ethnic #segregation. https://t.co/12DWkAjCu5 pic.twitter.com/RL1CIDmDvA
— Adalah (@AdalahEnglish) July 10, 2019
Fady Khoury, a lawyer with Adalah, an Arab rights group that raised the challenge in Nazareth district court, said:
“This was really to exclude Palestinian citizens from entering the park.”
In a blatant act of discrimination, Israeli guards refused to allow a Palestinian mother and child to enter a public park in the city of Afula. This explicit separation of public spaces is yet another indication of Israel's deepening apartheid policies. https://t.co/AyYoIGtrKQ pic.twitter.com/oq4q67hSzl
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) July 10, 2019
Lawyers for Afula, a city of 50,000 people, contended the restrictions stemmed solely from a desire to reduce overcrowding during the summer months and keep maintenance costs down.
On Saturday, guards inspected identification cards at several entrances to Afula Municipal Park, where families strolled past playgrounds and petting zoos and joggers ran along trails lined with Israeli flags.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)