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Jul 31, 2019

Win! Afula public park ends racist ban on non-residents

Entrance to Afula public park
Entrance to Afula public park

Dear friends,

We won!

Following Adalah's lawsuit, the Municipality of Afula in northern Israel was compelled by court on 14 July 2019 to end its ban on non-residents from entering a public park in the city.

This policy was aimed at blocking residents of nearby Arab communities from using the facility. We know because the municipality told us so.

Earlier this month, Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and her infant son arrived at the park and found a new large sign at the entrance reading: "The park is open … to Afula residents only".

Upon learning that they are from the nearby Arab city of Nazareth, a security guard at the park entrance forbade them from entering.

"I felt deeply humiliated by the situation," said Attorney Shehadeh-Zoabi.

"Jewish residents freely walked past me into the very park that I so often enjoyed with my son while I was prevented from entering and forced to leave – simply because I am from the Arab city of Nazareth".

The ban was issued following an explicit election promise by Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz to act against what he deigned the "conquest of the park" by residents of surrounding Arab towns. He called on the city's Jewish residents to "proudly hoist Israeli flags throughout the park and play music in Hebrew".

The ban was also made public just days after Mayor Elkabetz took part in a protest against the sale of a home in the city to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and after newly-elected city council members were sworn into office pledging to act to preserve the city's Jewish character.

This positive result following Adalah’s legal interventions – which were widely covered in local and international media – effectively rebukes the city and its mayor for their racist policies, and ensures that Palestinian families in Israel can enjoy free access to the public park.

Our victory shows what Adalah is able to achieve with your contributions.

For Adalah to continue its fight against racism and discrimination, and to secure just rights for all Palestinians, we need your support.

Will you donate to Adalah today? Will you share our appeal with friends and family? We would be very grateful.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi
Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi
Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury speaking to media
Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury speaking to media
Jul 15, 2019

Going on a class trip? Learn racist propaganda first

Screenshot of video in the online hasbara course
Screenshot of video in the online hasbara course

Dear friends,

This year, 25 bright Palestinian students at a high school in Nazareth were supposed to travel to Sweden for an exciting exchange program.

But the students, all citizens of Israel, discovered that a new rule had been put in place by Israel's Education Ministry: all high schoolers in the country – Arab and Jewish – had to pass an online government propaganda course in order to participate in overseas class trips.

The mandatory course requires students to watch a series of videos and then take a multiple choice exam – the correct answers of which are shockingly racist and promote the Israeli government's "hasbara" (propaganda) messages against Palestinians.

For example, one question asks: "How do Palestinian organizations use digital social networks?" The correct answer of four possible choices: "Encouraging violence".

Another question asks students to identify the origins of modern anti-Semitism. The exam's correct answer: "Muslim organizations" and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

"The Israeli Education Ministry is trying to turn high school students into agents of propaganda charged with spreading extreme racist ideology," said Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi, who wrote a letter to the Education Ministry last month on behalf of the school, the Masar Association.

Adalah argued in its letter that, in addition to violating Israeli laws, the propaganda course is an affront to the values of educational pluralism and constitute blatant humiliation of Palestinian high school students, who are essentially being told to internalize racist ideologies and beliefs about their own community.

"This is outrageous and illegal", said Attorney Shehadeh-Zoabi. "Political and ideological coercion of citizens radically contradicts the goals of education. Adalah will take all necessary steps to abolish this course, which is repugnantly offensive to Arab citizens and students".

Adalah is preparing to take further legal actions to cancel the propaganda course by the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, so that all high schoolers in Israel can participate in foreign exchange programs without the racist indoctrination of the government.

Will you donate today to help us in this effort?

Jul 15, 2019

Sniper rules that justify shooting Gaza protestors who pose no threat must be banned

Protestors at Gaza
Protestors at Gaza's Great March of Return

Dear friends,

For over a year, Israel's military forces have used lethal sniper fire to intentionally kill or maim Palestinians participating in Gaza's Great March of Return, a mass weekly protest demanding Palestinians' right to return to their homeland and the end of Israel's blockade of the Strip.

Adalah challenged this brutal sniper policy – which has killed 207 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded 8,490 since the protests began on Land Day, 30 March 2018 – before the Israeli Supreme Court last year. But the court rejected Adalah's arguments and fully adopted the military's position, giving a green light to the continued use of live fire against protestors.

Our legal battle to end this outrageous and deadly policy, however, is not done yet.

A military document officially released in February 2019, eight months after the court delivered its ruling, reveals that Israeli snipers are permitted to open fire on protestors defined as "key instigators" or "key rioters" – even when they move away from the crowd or are resting.

The alarming details in this document were never presented by the state or the military when Adalah, Al Mezan, and other human rights organizations challenged Israel's sniper policy before the Supreme Court. And even if they were, the military's broad categorizations, and its approval of deadly methods to suppress the protests, still grossly violate international law.

The UN Commission of Inquiry, an independent body that investigated the protests, found Israel's sniper policy illegal. Its report, released in March 2019, emphasized that the use of live ammunition against protestors was "unlawful", as they did not pose any threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers or civilians or participate directly in hostilities.

After carefully reviewing the document, Adalah sent a letter to Israeli authorities last month, in June 2019, calling on them to immediately order a ban on the use of live ammunition and sniper fire as a means of dispersing protests in Gaza.

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, who wrote the letter, stated the following:

"The Israeli military – which has up until now kept secret its vague definition of the invented category of 'key instigator' – now openly reveals that this category was created retroactively in order to justify the shootings of people who posed no real and immediate danger to Israeli soldiers or civilians."

"The military's document," Bishara added, "attempts to explain away the indiscriminate shooting of unarmed demonstrators which results from a total disregard for human life."

Adalah is ready to launch further legal actions if its calls on the Israeli authorities are ignored.

Your support helps us to defend the right to protest for thousands of Palestinians, as well as the right to life, as dissent becomes increasingly dangerous.

Please donate generously to Adalah's work today.

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