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Jan 31, 2020

Ending racial profiling on Israeli bus #18

Bus 18 (Courtesy of ACRI)
Bus 18 (Courtesy of ACRI)

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings to you from Adalah! 

One of the most important strategic litigation issues that Adalah challenges before Israeli courts is that of racial profiling, which targets Palestinian Arab citizens and residents of Israel and Palestinians living in the 1967 Occupied Territories. Over the years we have brought a series of cases against racial profiling at the airport; with car rental companies; and most recently, our Afula Park case, in which the municipality tried to ban non-residents (read: Arab) from entering the park; Adalah won this case in the summer of 2019!

We have had another success this month in yet a further racial profiling case. During this litigation before the Israeli Supreme Court, it was revealed that the police had an official policy of profiling bus passengers who seem to have an “Arab appearance”, asking them to show their identification cards. If the passengers are not citizens of Israel, they must get off the bus - “Dan In the South” #18 bus line, which stops at Barzilay Hosptial in Ashkelon in the south of Israel - and wait outside the hospital grounds until the bus completes its route through the hospital grounds.

During the hearing held on 27 January 2020, the Supreme Court found that there was a formal procedure being undertaken by the Israeli police, which involved the checking of bus passengers according to "suspicious signs". The state presented a new security policy to the Court as "secret evidence" during the hearing, in which petitioners were not present.

The proceedings concluded with the police agreeing to end the profiling policy on bus #18. Further, the state is required to update the Court within 90 days about its progress in forming a permanent security procedure, which does not include profiling.

Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), along with Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and the Israel Religious Action Center’s Racism Crisis Center, filed the petition before the Israeli Supreme Court in 2019 demanding a halt to the discriminatory security checks on the bus. The petition was filed by Adalah Attorney Sari Arraf and ACRI Attorney Anne Suciu.

The petition before the Supreme Court argued that racial profiling based on Arab passengers’ ethnicity creates a degrading and insulting experience, labels individuals as dangerous simply because of their national and ethnic identity, and infringes on Arab passengers’ fundamental right to dignity, equality, and privacy. The petition also stressed that this practice, which includes heightened security and forcing Palestinian Arabs who are residents of the West Bank and Gaza (who have permits to be in Israel) to get off the bus, is done without the appropriate authority.

Adalah Attorney Sari Arraf: “The many partners undertaking these racial profiling practices completely ignored the sweeping prohibition given to such conduct in the past. The most senior echelons of the hospital and government offices, who are responsible for preventing such discrimination, legitimized this humiliating behavior. The fight against racial profiling will continue."

As always, Adalah needs you to stand with us strongly against all forms of discrimination, and especially discrimination based on national ethnic and racial belonging.

We would be grateful if you would consider a monthly recurring donation to Adalah – the first month of which would be matched by GlobalGiving – to continue the struggle against racial profiling and discrimination, and to defend human rights.

With appreciation and in solidarity,

(Center) Adalah Attorney Sari Arraf, Supreme Court
(Center) Adalah Attorney Sari Arraf, Supreme Court

Links:

Jan 15, 2020

Adalah defends freedom of expression online

Photo: powtac/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: powtac/Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Friends,

Happy new year 2020 from Adalah!  

2019 will be remembered as a year of popular global protest – from Hong Kong, to India, to France, to Iran, to Lebanon and more. Social media is a key organizing tool for protesters, and governments seeking to prevent protests and to quell dissent use a range of tactics, including censoring users’ social media content.

Over the past two years, Adalah filed a series of legal complaints to the Israeli authorities charging that the Cyber Unit, operating in the State Attorney's Office since 2015, is unlawfully asking social media platforms to censor user content. Israel’s state attorney finally responded this past November 2019, claiming that these requests "do not constitute an exercise of governmental authority.” In other words, they claim, the Cyber Unit only issues “voluntary” requests, while the decisions and actual removal of content are ultimately made by the social media providers themselves.

Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court in late November 2019 seeking an order that the Cyber Unit halt its practices. Adalah Attorneys Fady Khoury and Rabea Eghbariah argued that the unit is violating the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and due process, and that it lacks legal authority. Further, there is reason to suspect that the victims of these violations are, first and foremost, Palestinians. 

According to a 2018 report by Israel’s state attorney, the number of Cyber Unit requests to censor content leaped from 2,241 in 2016, to 12,351 in 2017, to 14,283 in 2018 – an increase of over 600%. Further, social media providers accepted the overwhelming majority of requests to remove user content: about 90% of the targeted content was completely or partially removed.

There are legal procedures or no transparency in the process, and no framework for users to defend themselves against allegations that their posts warranted removal.

Our case in the Israeli Supreme Court remains pending.  

We need your continued support for our work protecting protest and defending dissent – on the street and on the web. You are key to this struggle.

“While 2019 already qualifies for a place in the annals of street protest,” Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times’s chief foreign affairs columnist wrote as 2019 drew to a close, “it is possible that the really world-shaking year may turn out to be 2020.”


Make a contribution to Adalah today!

Thank you!

Photo: Michael Schreifels/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Michael Schreifels/Flickr Creative Commons
Nov 4, 2019

60 Palestinian law students gain new skills to defend their community

All-camp photo!
All-camp photo!

Dear friends,

Thanks to your support, Adalah held its 14th annual Law Students Conference on 12-14 September 2019 in Beit Sahour, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. What an inspiring three-day experience it was for the students, the speakers, and all of the Adalah family!

The camp – held in Arabic – brings together Palestinian students from Israeli and Palestinian universities. It is very rare for Palestinian students from Israel and the West Bank to convene in a legal, academic context.

The Adalah camp facilitates this connection and functions as a platform that allows the sharing of ideas, subjects, and dialogue that are usually absent from their regular law school curricula. It also encourages the students to learn more about public interest or cause lawyering for human rights by introducing the students to many different practitioners and organizations engaged in this struggle.

CLICK HERE to see all the photos from the camp!

Sixty students from Palestinian and Israeli universities participated in this year's camp, the theme of which was "State of Emergency". Israel has been operating under a self-declared state of emergency since 1948.

A series of panels and workshops highlighted different aspects of this state of emergency and the ways in which this situation works to violate the human rights of Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and people living under Occupation.

In addition, a tour of the divided West Bank city of Al Khalil (Hebron) and a screening of The Advocate also helped the students to better grasp the theme and its ongoing repercussions for their lives and the lives of their potential clients.

This year's invited speakers provided both theoretical academic, practitioner, and personal story-telling perspectives to give students a holistic lens through which to view the state of emergency in law and practice.

CLICK HERE to see the full program.

Below are examples of the feedback from the student participants:

Marah, Nazareth | 1st year law student, Haifa University:

“The concepts discussed in the panels and workshops were very rich and stimulating. The camp encouraged us as students to approach our course of study and curricula in a more critical eye and to be more engaged.”

Murad, Nablus | 2018 graduate, An-Najah National University:
 

“Palestinians lack platforms that bring us together. Adalah was able to give us this platform. It provided us with a safe space where our voices can be heard. Adalah’s camp isn’t just a project, it’s a family.”

Lama, Maghar | 1st year law student, Tel Aviv University:

"The visit to Hebron was an eye opener for me. Even though I thought I was familiar with the situation there on paper, it was a completely different experience to actually be there and visit the city. Meeting students from the West Bank was the highlight of the camp for me. We learned so much from each other!"

Duaa, Haifa, | 3rd year law student, Tel Aviv University:

"I felt very empowered and inspired to be in an inclusive Palestinian environment where all the participants are politically aware and engaged in studying the Palestinian cause."

Adalah’s annual camp is made possible by your support. In fact, a $100 donation would help to cover a student’s fee to attend next year’s camp and tour. Will you make this generous contribution or more today?

Students in discussion with lecturers
Students in discussion with lecturers
Law students sporting our camp t-shirts!
Law students sporting our camp t-shirts!
Students participating (& enjoying!) the workshops
Students participating (& enjoying!) the workshops
Students in discussion with lecturers
Students in discussion with lecturers
Group photo while touring Hebron in the West Bank
Group photo while touring Hebron in the West Bank
 
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