Health Rights Center and Environmental Justice Center
The Galilee society views the environment as a complex network integrating both physical infrastructures and the natural world, made up of the different places surrounding us: where we work, study, play, shop, live. The fields of health and environment are therefore by default intertwined. Health is inevitably impacted by the environmental conditions, whether created by us, or forced upon us.
The Galilee Society considered proper environmental and health conditions basic human rights, which must be upheld so that all citizens can live in dignity, in a sound healthy, just, and sustainable environment. To this end, the Galilee Society work through two center: The Health Rights Center and the Environmental Justice Center.
The Health Rights Center
The HRC is one of the oldest departments of the Galilee Society. Since its establishment the Galilee Society has been working to promote and advance the health rights of the Palestinians in Israel. The HRC, in collaboration with other civil society stakeholders, advocates for an adequate health-oriented atmosphere for all Palestinians in Israel and for the advancement of health issues on the local and national level.
By engaging the general public, local authorities and state agencies, such as the Ministry of Health, the Center applies a holistic approach to incorporating health practices into individual’s daily lives and mainstreaming health concerns into the agenda of decision-makers.
Stemming from these convictions, and advocating a broad and holistic view of health, the HRC works to improve the health conditions and standards of Palestinians in Israel as well as promote their health rights through a variety of strategies including health education, lobbying and advocacy, community empowerment and research. These strategies are applied through two spheres of operation; the Core Program, leading cutting-edge national programs aimed at attaining structural change within the Palestinian community through introducing new models of operation in the field of health promotion, and Restricted Projects.
The latter are specific topic-oriented projects pertaining to either defined diseases or imminent needs of the community such as breast cancer, chronic diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse and many more. In so doing, the Center works to increase Health Literacy and empower the Palestinian community to become more aware and able to protect itself against health hazards and diseases and lead a healthier lifestyle.
The Environmental Justice Center
In light of the variety of environmental hazards (such as solid waste, stone quarries, polluting factories and inadequate sewage grids) in proximity to Palestinian-Arab residential areas, the EJC strives to defend the environmental rights of Arab citizens in Israel. Through community work, research and advocacy, the EJC aims to improve the environmental conditions in the Palestinian communities in Israel, thus reducing health risks posed by various environmental hazards.
The EJC is constantly working with the community to raise awareness in regard to environmental issues, in order to empower the Palestinian population to make informed decisions regarding environmental planning and to contest policies that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel.
Through capacity-building and community empowerment, EJC places the tools of environmental change in the hands of the community itself, thus guaranteeing the sustainability and continuity of these changes for generations to come.
Official Claimer vis-a-vis the Knesset
Commending the Galilee Society's efforts in the promotion of environmental justice, the Minister of Environmental Protection then, MK Gilad Ardan, instructed his office staff to seek the amendment of the Law of Prevention of Environmental Hazards (Civil Cases), 1992 to include the Galilee Society in the list of institutes legally authorized to claim in front of the Knesset in environmental matters. The Galilee Society is the first Arab organization to have received this prestigious status and recognition, which will be of great assistance in the organization's efforts to improve the conditions and sustainability of Arab communities and promote social justice in Israel.