Arab, Jewish lawyers win award for advancing peace

Adalah’s Hassan Jabareen, ACRI’s Dan Yakir awarded Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in Middle East.

Award winners (photo credit: anner green)
Award winners
(photo credit: anner green)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may have declared the peace process “clinically dead,” but two of Israel’s top human rights attorneys have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Arabs and Jews can cooperate for peace on a grassroots level.
Attorney Hassan Jabareen, founder and director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and attorney Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), were declared the winners on Monday of the 2012 Victor J.
Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East.
US-based nonprofit the Institute of International Education (IIE) awards the prize annually to one Jew and one Arab who have collaborated to advance peace in the region.
On Monday, IIE praised Jabareen and Yakir for “demonstrating a unique ability to work together to bring the perspective of both Jewish and Arab citizens before the Israeli Supreme Court.”
IIE Trustee Victor J. Goldberg said that while there was no “magic solution” to the Arab- Israeli conflict, grassroots partnerships such as that between Yakir and Jabareen could be a “positive force.”
“Throughout the years, Dan and Hassan have been such a positive force, and their work is an inspiration to human rights lawyers and to social justice activists alike,” Goldberg added.
Jabareen founded Adalah, Israel’s first Arab-run legal center, whose name means “justice” in Arabic, in 1996.
Through Adalah, Jabareen and his colleagues litigate civil and human rights cases focusing on Arab rights.
His major High Court cases have included petitions against the Citizenship Law, which limits Arab family reunification in Israel.
Yakir, who began working for ACRI in 1989, has brought many landmark cases to the High Court of Justice, covering issues such as discrimination against Arab Israelis in the allocation of state land.
Working together, the two lawyers have “forged new ground both legally and in public discourse and impact,” IIE said.
Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he was “very happy and proud” to be chosen as this year’s Goldberg Prize winner.
ACRI’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, said the prize was a “remarkable achievement” and praised Yakir’s and Jabareen’s “dedication, conviction and courage.”