Jan 10, 2017

Tackling wrongful police practices, one case at a time

Palestinian protest in Jaffa. Photo: Mati Milstein
Palestinian protest in Jaffa. Photo: Mati Milstein

In the past few months, Adalah has focused its attention on tackling many wrongful practices used by the Israeli police against Palestinian citizens of Israel who exercised their right to protest. Thanks in great part to your support, we successfully won a positive court decision and filed two new legal interventions to protect Palestinian citizens' right to protest.

WIN: Court orders release of police open-fire regulations - the public has a right to know

In November 2016, the Lod District Court issued its decision on a petition filed by Adalah demanding that the Israeli police release and publish the full details of its new, eased open-fire regulations, which were issued in September 2015. In response to the petition, the police revealed parts of its regulations in June 2016, but some sections remained blacked out and censored. The new regulations permit officers – as an initial option, preceding any earlier attempt to employ non-lethal weapons – to open fire with live ammunition on those throwing stones or firebombs, and on those shooting fireworks. Adalah fears that these open-fire regulations facilitate a "shoot-to-kill" policy that has been used against Palestinians for over a year, including at demonstrations. The police filed an appeal against the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court in December 2016; Adalah will continue to insist on the release of the full regulations. More info

NEW: Stopping arrests for raising the Palestinian flag

In October 2016, Adalah wrote to the Israeli Attorney General (AG) demanding that he issue an order to the State Attorney and Israel Police to refrain from arresting and indicting citizens and residents of Israel for raising the Palestinian flag. According to official police statistics, between 2011 and 2015, the police arrested 96 citizens of Israel on suspicion of waving the Palestinian flag, and indictments were filed in 45 of these cases (47%). Adalah stressed that there is no legal directive forbidding the raising of the Palestinian flag. Moreover, the Israeli Supreme Court does not see the Palestinian flag as symbolizing support for terrorism, as the Court permitted a number of Arab political parties to broadcast election campaign ads in which images of the flag appeared. More info

NEW: Challenging police attacks on free speech and protest for Palestinian citizens

In October 2016, Adalah wrote to the Israeli AG demanding that he issue new orders to the police to refrain from impinging upon the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to free political expression and protest. Adalah detailed a series of illegal practices and operational tactics employed by the police over the last year, including: (1) Preventive arrests; (2) Protest dispersal and false arrests; (3) Arrests of parents of youth protestors; (4) Release from detention conditional on limited free speech and movement; and (5) Violations of regulations relating to minors in detention. Adalah further noted that statistics indicate unequal enforcement between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel when it comes to the scope of arrests: between 2011 and 2015, Palestinian citizens made up 89 percent of arrests for "participating in a riot," 62 percent of arrests for "participating in a forbidden gathering," and 98 percent of arrests for "gathering or organizing an unauthorized march". More info

Our ability to launch important cases like these relies on your donations and support. Thank you for standing with Adalah and by Palestinian citizens' right to protest.

Jan 4, 2017

Save Umm al-Hiran: Final Report (Important)

How children spent the morning of 22 November 2016
How children spent the morning of 22 November 2016

We wish to share a very important and new development regarding Umm al-Hiran with you. 

Adalah has proudly represented the Bedouin families of Atir-Umm al-Hiran for 13 years. During all of this time, we succeeded, together with the people, to prevent the destruction and eviction of the village and its 1,000 residents.

As a result of the litigation, media campaigns, field visits, study tours and international advocacy that generous donors like you have supported, we’ve helped the people to live and grow up in their homes and on their lands for over a decade.

In the past few weeks, however, it has become apparent that all legal processes to challenge the state's discriminatory plan – to destroy the village and replace it with a Jewish town – have been exhausted. These include our last-minute emergency motions to stall the demolitions over the past month, which were rejected (see https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8956 and https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8957 for more information).

At this point, Adalah can no longer legally represent the people of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. Thus we have also determined that, given this important change, Adalah will no longer be soliciting donations for our work in this specific case.

Continuing our struggle

Adalah will remain deeply involved in international and public advocacy against the state’s attempt to dispossess and forcibly displace the Bedouin living in 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Naqab, particularly in the face of new challenges and threats to their rights.

Just last week, the new “Prawer Bill” (“Prawer II” or the “Ariel Plan”) was tabled once again in the Knesset with minor amendments. This bill will facilitate the dispossession and displacement of the 80,000 Bedouin citizens currently living in the unrecognized villages.

Rest assured, therefore, that our struggle to defend the right of Bedouin citizens to live in dignity in their homes and on their historical lands will remain at the center of our work.

Photo Description: Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran. From the morning of the scheduled demolition on 22 November. Adalah, together with Arab parliamentarians (MKs), activists and the international media were there to bear witness, report on the events as they unfolded, and stand in solidarity with the people of Umm al-Hiran. The noise that we made was so loud that the demolition was averted (Photo credit: Mati Milstein)

Throughout the last period, Adalah has accrued considerable expenses in our work for the village, including for lawyers, transportation, media outreach, and other related activities. Accordingly, and with your agreement, we would like to use your contributions towards covering these expenses.

For our recurring donors, we would like to use your monthly contributions towards an ongoing campaign of equal importance, where we are protecting the right of Palestinians to protest institutionalized racism and the Occupation, and to mobilize for freedom and justice. In this time of increasing police violence, mass arrests, surveillance and harms to the right to free expression, we are protecting the right of Palestinians to speak up. For more on ‘Protect the Protest’, see https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protecttheprotest/

We sincerely thank you for your generous contributions to save Atir-Umm al-Hiran, and we look forward to you standing with us in the next stage of the struggle.

In solidarity and hope, always.

Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran
Keeping spirits up in Umm al-Hiran


Dec 16, 2016

Update: Palestinians children, youth #MakeTheGrade

Siraj, 4, from alSira will soon be in school!
Siraj, 4, from alSira will soon be in school!

Thank you so much for your kind donation to bring equality in education for Palestinian children and youth. The following is an update on what Adalah has been working on and has achieved in the past quarter to help Palestinian children #MakeTheGrade.

1. Increasing access to education for Bedouin preschoolers

Earlier this year, Adalah filed a new impact litigation case to compel the Israeli Education Ministry to provide preschool education for the children of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Alsira. In September, we learned that in part owing to our petition, the Education Minister announced that the government would be investing US $13 million to provide transport to school for kids from various villages! This is great news for 4-year old Siraj from Alsira, who will no longer have to make do with her makeshift blackboard!

We now need to ensure that the government makes good on its promise by continuing our litigation work. Following our first hearing on 13 September, the judge ordered the state to present its final transportation plan for the Bedouin kids. Our next hearing is set for 22 February 2017.

2. Ending discrimination in benefits to 'returning' Arab high school students

Students with Israeli citizenship who have studied for four or more years overseas (known as ‘returning students’) and who face linguistic challenges upon their return to Israel are entitled to significant benefits and considerations when taking their Israeli high school matriculation exam. However, these benefits only applied to students taking the exam in Hebrew, which effectively excluded Arab students, who take the exam in Arabic.

As a result of Adalah’s appeal in May 2016, on 5 September the Education Ministry announced it would cancel the discriminatory directive!

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher noted that it was unfortunate that an appeal had to be filed "in order to update the ministry directive after it had already harmed so many children”. Nevertheless, we are satisfied with the decision to update the directive and thereby facilitate equal rights in education for Arab students.

For more on the case and the benefits that are now extended to Arab students: https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8928

3. East Jerusalem education won’t be held ransom

According to media reports, the Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs is expected to transfer some NIS 20 million (US $5.28 million dollars) earmarked for the renovation of existing Arab school buildings. However, the ministry is reportedly making the budget transfer conditional on the Arab schools' adoption of an Israeli-authored curriculum instead of a Palestinian-authored curriculum. This decision is part of broader Israeli efforts to erase Palestinian history, culture and presence in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Adalah sent an urgent letter on 10 August 2016 demanding the revocation of the decision. We argued that the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry’s decision is a violation of Palestinians’ right to education, and that the ministry lacks the authority to determine curriculum content in these schools, which falls under the Education Ministry.

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