Forum for Joint Planning Created for Central Galilee

Forum for Joint Planning Created for Central Galilee

April 2, 2016

Agreement signedIn early March, Sakhnin, Arabe, Deir Hana and the Misgav Regional Council enterred an agreement to create a forum for joint planning in their central Galilee region. The localities will work together to foster shared sustainable economic and environmental initiatives, including solutions for equitable land distribution in the region. 

The agreement was reached after a two-year process led by Dr. Hussein Tarabiyah, Director of the Towns Association for Environmental Quality (TAEQ) and Neighbors for Joint Development in the Galilee, a local Jewish-Arab organization, to identify points of common concerns, interests, and needs. Economic development, environmental protection, culture, education, tourism and land use were among the issues identified. A paved bike trail connecting these localities is among the first projects undertaken.

At the intimate and festive signing ceremony, the Head of the Misgav Regional Council, Ron Shani, spoke about life in the Galilee region as a unique human mosaic, stressing the importance of positive collaboration between its Jewish and Arab localities. The Mayor of Sakhnin, Mazen Ghanayem, applauded the creation of the forum, stressing that people are more important than land and that the hand of the Arab community is reaching out for cooperation.

This two-year planning process was funded by a special grant from the European Union. An EU representative who spoke at the ceremony announced that a new cal for proposals on regional cooperation will be issued shortly. Now that it is established, the Forum for Joint Planning will now receive some interim funding by the Schocken Foundation.

About the localities: Misgav is a regional council whose 26,000 residents are 26% Arab, almost all Muslims. Sakhnin is an Arab city with approximately 29,000 residents, 95% Muslim and the rest Christian-Arabs. Arrabe is Israel's newest Arab city as of the signing and is home to 24,000 Arab Muslim residents. Deir Hanna is a municipality of approximately 10,000 residents, 90% of Muslim and the rest Christian-Arabs.


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