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Oct 26, 2016

Bringing Umm al-Hiran to Berlin-Brussels-Cape Town

Construction for the Jewish village of Hiran begins on the raised pad (left of picture), overlooking the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran

Over the past few months, we’ve been involved in various international and local actions to defend the Palestinian Bedouin villagers of Atir and Umm al-Hiran.

In response to the refusal of the Israeli courts to intervene favorably in impact litigation cases brought on behalf of Bedouin citizens, Adalah is putting greater emphasis on awareness raising and campaigning to increase pressure on Israel by other states and international bodies to protect the rights of the villagers.

1. Awareness-raising in Berlin and Brussels

In September 2016, Adalah emphasized the grave threat of demolition and eviction facing the residents of Atir-Umm al-Hiran to German government officials and parliamentarians in Berlin, and EU officials and parliamentarians in Brussels. Adalah asked these leaders to urge the Israeli government not to forcibly displace the residents – citizens of Israel - in order to establish the Jewish-only community of “Hiran”, but to seek alternatives with the full participation of the residents to allow them to remain on their land and in their homes.

A hearing in the European Parliament will be held in November 2016 on the protection of the rights of the Palestinian Bedouin. Adalah and its human rights and development agency partners will present on Israel’s policies of dispossession/forced displacement both in Israel and in the occupied West Bank, such as in Susiya. This hearing will be followed by a speaking tour in France to raise awareness about Atir-Umm al-Hiran and the dire conditions of tens of thousands of Bedouin living in the 35 unrecognized villages in the Naqab.

 2. “Amandla Ngawethu” – Adalah in South Africa

This delegation to South Africa was part of an ongoing dialogue between South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJPF, previously known as Stop JNF South Africa) with Adalah, Zochrot, and the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID).

As part of the 10-day tour in September 2016, Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany, who works in the Land and Planning Unit, raised awareness of the increasing displacement of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their traditional lands and other violations of the community’s rights to land. She also gave a presentation to the ‘Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation’ in the South African Parliament on Atir-Umm al-Hiran to urge the parliamentarians to exert pressure to prevent the eviction of the villagers.  A rallying cry of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa was “Amandla Ngawethu”, meaning “Power to the People”

See below: Myssana Morany (third from left, top row), Adalah’s Land and Planning attorney with fellow members of the delegation and members of SAJPF.

3. Tour for Al-Haq Summer Law Graduates to Susiya and Atir-Umm al-Hiran

In July 2016, Adalah organized a tour for participants of Al-Haq’s ‘International Law Summer School’. Al-Haq is a leading human rights organization based in Ramallah, West Bank. International post-graduate law students and legal researchers participated in the tour to Susiya, a Bedouin village threatened with demolition in the West Bank and Atir-Umm al-Hiran to learn about the situation from the villagers, and to examine how they can apply international law to protect the communities.

We believe that it is crucial to keep the issue of Atir-Umm al-Hiran on the public agenda through engaging students, particularly those studying law, who will return to research, write and discuss the situation within their academic networks internationally.

4. Have you read the story of ‘The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran’?

Download the full infographic that tells the story of two villages that are situated in similar legal terms, yet are treated very differently by the Israeli legal system. If you find the infographic useful, don’t forget to share with friends.

We want to thank you again for your kind support and encouragement over the past quarter.  Adalah and the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran greatly appreciate and need your help to continue to do our crucial work.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen) (in pink) in Berlin
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen) (in pink) in Berlin
Myssana with fellow delegation members in SA
Myssana with fellow delegation members in SA
The Susiya leg of the tour
The Susiya leg of the tour
Tour in UAH with Raed Abu al-Qi
Tour in UAH with Raed Abu al-Qi'an, local leader
The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran
The Zeltzers vs. Atir-Umm al-Hiran

Links:

Sep 14, 2016

Freedom for Shaymaa and Sujood!

Shaymaa and Sujood after winning their case
Shaymaa and Sujood after winning their case

Freedom for Shaymaa and Sujood!

Shaymaa and Sujood are two teenagers (minors under the law) who were arrested in October 2015 for demonstrating against police violence against Palestinians. We represented the two young women during their initial detention and in court hearings; a private lawyer later represented them in the criminal cases brought against them.

We are very glad to share that Shaymaa and Sujood were both cleared of all the charges filed against them.  Following their arrests and detention, we documented and widely publicized the harsh treatment of the minors in custody, and all of the illegal practices pursued by the police and often sanctioned by the courts in these protest cases. This was not lost on the judge at their trial, who dismissed the charges and had harsh words for the police about their treatment of the two girls during their arrest.

Fundraising Update

We’ve raised US$7,356 from 45 individual donors and US$10,000 from an institutional donor to protect the protest. A big thanks to all our donors who are helping to protect the right to protest and especially to our recurring donors for their continuous support.

Worrying legal developments concerning free expression

Recently, the Knesset enacted two new laws that are severely damaging to free expression. The ‘Anti-Terror Law’ and the ‘Expulsion Law’ both impose harsh restrictions on individuals from freely exercising their fundamental right to free expression.

The ‘Anti-Terror’ Law: The new law, approved on 15 June 2016 by the Israeli parliament, is designed to further suppress the political activities of individuals in support of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The law allows for the widespread use of ‘secret evidence’ by the state prosecution and establishes new criminal offenses such as public expressions of support or empathy for terror organizations.

With a very wide definition of “terror”, Adalah expects that a broad range of political speech – particularly of Palestinian citizens of Israel - will be criminalized. As we’ve stated, “[The new law] paints the political activities and expression of Arabs in Israel – including those of a social, humanitarian and charitable nature – with a hostile and war-like façade, reclassifying them as acts of terror”.

You may read our press release against the law, here.

Award-winning investigative journalist, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept recently published an article on how Facebook was cooperating with the Israeli government to determine what should be censored. Read the piece here

Adalah’s Annual Law Students’ Camp - "50 years of '67 Occupation and the Silencing of Dissent”

We’ve been busy preparing for our 11th Annual Law Students’ Camp, which will be held over 3 days from 6-8 October 2016. The conference will bring together Palestinian Arab law students from Israel as well as many law students in the OPT to discuss key human rights issues. This year’s event, which will take place in Beit Jala, will include a focus on freedom of expression. Although human rights issues play a significant role in the lives of Palestinian students, they are sparingly discussed in Israeli law schools.

We’re organizing a series of workshops on free expression for the students discussions on the ‘Anti-Terror Law’ (see above), state-imposed economic sanctions on free expression, the BDS movement and the right to boycott, and restrictions on free expression in the media, including on Facebook and other social media.

Thanks to all who voted in Global Giving’s Photo Contest

We were shortlisted for Global Giving’s 2016 Photo Contest as a finalist in the Hope category. See the photo below. Thanks to all those who voted for us – all 275 of you! We finished 4th in our category. Congratulations to the winner of the competition, ‘Isha Vidhya’ who provides quality education to rural children in India.

Your vote was a vote of confidence for our work. Thanks for your support! 

Israeli police arrest Palestinian protester (2012)
Israeli police arrest Palestinian protester (2012)
Jul 13, 2016

Turning up the heat in #Um_AlHiran. But we remain resilient.

Photo 1: Bulldozers (credit: Jenny Nyman)
Photo 1: Bulldozers (credit: Jenny Nyman)

Description of photo 1: The construction site for Hiran is located on a hill overlooking Umm al-Hiran (credit: Middle East Eye /Jenny Nyman)

The Arab Bedouin villages of Atir-Umm al-Hiran have come under renewed threat of demolition and eviction over the past few days.

1. The authorities threatened to enter Umm al-Hiran to begin construction work for the court-sanctioned Israeli Jewish village of Hiran

On Saturday, 9 July 2016, Raed A., one of the village leaders of Umm al-Hiran, received a call from the authorities, informing that they planned to enter the village on Sunday. The authorities stated that they intended to begin construction work on Hiran, on Umm al-Hiran’s lands.

Adalah was in contact with Raed and other villagers throughout the day. Although the authorities did not carry out the threated demolition and eviction, the danger nevertheless remains very much alive, and the villagers remain on edge. Adalah’s lawyers continue to provide legal consultation and advice to the leaders of Umm al-Hiran regarding their next steps, particularly during this tense period.  

2.Tour for Ha’aretz editors and senior journalists in April 2016

Adalah organized a private tour for senior journalists and editors from Ha’aretz, the leading liberal Israeli newspaper, to give them an up-to-date, intimate portrait of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. We also visited the village of al-‘Araqib, a Palestinian Bedouin village that has been demolished 100 times over the past few years, to meet with the villagers there.

We believe that it is crucial to keep the issue of Atir-Umm al-Hiran on the public agenda through the media. We especially engage editors because they play a significant role in determining the stories that make the cut, in framing how those stories are told, and in taking bold positions critical of Israeli government policies.

We wish to thank you again for your kind support and encouragement over the past quarter.  Adalah and the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran need your help to continue to do our crucial work, especially at this time of heightened tension. 

In solidarity,
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
Director of International Advocacy, Adalah

Description of photo 2: Sign reads 'Construction Site - Entry Forbidden', with Umm al-Hiran seen in the background. This construction site for the new Israeli Jewish town of Hiran (credit: Middle East Eye/Jenny Nyman). According to their latest threat, the Israeli authorities intend to pave a dirt road within the boundary of Umm al-Hiran to facilitate construction work for Hiran there.

Photo 2: "Construction Site - Entry Forbidden"
Photo 2: "Construction Site - Entry Forbidden"
 
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