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Dec 19, 2018

Lod residents win right to march freely after police retract restrictions

Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018

Dear friends,

We have another win! Thanks to your support this past quarter, Adalah succeeded to #ProtectTheProtest for hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the central city of Lod (Lydd).

The backstory: in November 2018, a police commander in Lod carried out the demolition of a Palestinian citizen’s home, in violation of a court order to delay the move. During the demolition itself, the commander also allowed his officers to violently evict and arrest the residents in the area.

To protest these unjust actions, the city’s Palestinian citizens, led by the Lod Popular Committee, requested the police’s permission to march along a specific route that would arrive at the parking lot opposite the police station – a route that is frequently used by many protests in the city.

However, the police refused to grant a permit for the route, claiming they had concerns that the protest would “disturb public order and harm the fabric of life.”

The police instead approved a different, unsuitable route that would have hidden the protest from the public eye and limited the space to accommodate only 150 people, instead of the hundreds rallied by the organizers.

Adalah immediately intervened with a pre-petition on the protestors’ behalf. We told the police that their decision was illegal and violated the right of the city’s Palestinian citizens to freely assemble and express their opinions.

Thanks to our legal action, the Israeli police folded – the restrictions were retracted, and the Palestinian residents were allowed to lead their march as planned!

Successes like these are made possible by your donations. Will you increase your monthly support for Adalah’s work today?

In additional news – Adalah took part in a protest as well!

On 4 December 2018, our staff joined a country-wide strike to protest all forms of violence against women in Israel – physical, sexual, moral, and economic – at the hands of society and state institutions alike.

Like other Palestinian citizens, we also protested the violence aimed at women in the occupied Palestinian territories by both Israeli occupation forces and society.

Our actions reflect our commitment to upholding Palestinians’ right to speak out against all social injustices. Raise your support for Adalah today to #ProtectTheProtest!

Protest against police commander in Lod, Nov. 2018
Protest against police commander in Lod, Nov. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Oct 1, 2018

The Long Road to School

School bus stuck in mud on the Al-Fur
School bus stuck in mud on the Al-Fur'a road

Dear Friends, 

Greetings to you from Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. 

The new school year has just begun in Israel, and one of the main issues that Adalah will continue to work on during the 2018-2019 school year is access to school, particularly for Arab Bedouin kids in the Naqab (Negev) desert. 

As we have reported previously, Adalah has worked extensively on ensuring transport to school for pre-school aged Arab Bedouin children, and we will continue in the coming months to confront the Education Ministry to abide by its promises to allocate the funds necessary for access to early childhood education, as required by Israeli law. We will also monitor the Ministry’s obligations, pursuant to court orders, to build safe bus stops for the thousands of Bedouin kids who need a secure place to wait for their buses to school, out of harms way. 

In addition to these obstacles to access schools, Adalah is also working on cases to compel various Israeli ministries and local authorities to repair often-impassable school access roads in Bedouin villages. These roads become dangerous, particularly in the winter due to heavy rains, and block students’ and teachers’ ability – unnecessarily - to even get to school. 

One case on which we are working is that the road to school in Al-Fur’a village. At the beginning of 2018, Adalah sent a letter to the Education Ministry, the Al Qasoum Regional Council, the national transport infrastructure company Netivei Israel, and the Bedouin Negev Development and Settlement Authority, demanding that they repair a narrow, pothole-riddled school access road that is often submerged in water during heavy winter rains and connect it to Highway 31.

Al-Fur’a – recognized by the state in 2006 – is home to some 6,000 residents. Around 3,000 children from Al-Fur’a and neighboring Bedouin communities attend kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school in the village.

In response to a petition filed to the Israeli Supreme Court by Adalah and Al-Fur’a residents many years ago, the state committed to repairing the access road and made a subsequent such commitment when faced with a contempt of court motion filed by residents before the court.

Nevertheless, the schools today remain connected to Highway 31 only via a cracked and often impassable 600-meter long “agricultural track” that is riddled with potholes. 

Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany wrote in her letter that the state has been violating its commitments to the court for years:

“Connecting [the schools] to the highway interchange via an agricultural track does not satisfy the state’s commitments made before the Supreme Court, which has already ruled that ‘agricultural tracks are not to be considered ‘statutory roads’, and are therefore not considered roads at all… Village residents are reporting difficulties for vehicles – particularly school buses – when winter conditions create potholes in the track making it inaccessible. The track is also too narrow for two vehicles traveling in opposite directions to drive down at the same time. Further, during days of heavy rain, the track becomes entirely submerged and completely impassable.” 

Adalah also stressed that the agricultural track presents a danger to local schoolchildren:

“The current situation threatens students’ lives and violates their constitutional rights to dignity and equality, as well as their right to education, as enshrined in the Compulsory Education Law. It is clear to all that an agricultural track is not a safe way to get students to school and that an asphalt access road must be paved in accordance with the relevant standards.”

Adalah will take legal measures in the coming period to follow-up on the Al-Fur’a road to school case, as well as other infrastructure/road problems in the Bedouin villages in order to ensure access to schools for children. If Bedouin kids cannot even get to school, they are being deprived totally of their right to an education.  

We thank you in advance for your continued support of Adalah’s work to uphold the right to education for Palestinian children, citizens of Israel, throughout the country.  We appreciate you generosity.  

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

International Advocacy Director, Adalah

Bedouin girls on their way to school (Naqab)
Bedouin girls on their way to school (Naqab)
Sep 17, 2018

Protest rights on campus

Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad with the TAU students
Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad with the TAU students

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you from Adalah!

The new academic year is starting next month, October, in Israel, and in anticipation of the fall semester, Adalah is thinking about Palestinian students’ rights to protest on campus.

Oftentimes, Israeli universities prohibit or greatly restrict protest by Arab students and student associations, alleging for example, that events to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day (15 April) or Nakba Day (15 May), a national day of mourning for Palestinians, or demonstrations against the killings of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli military forces would “pose a threat to public safety.” Sometimes the universities try to pass the costs of security for the protests onto the students seeking to impose, what Adalah sees, as an illegal tax and burden on freedom of expression. Adalah represents numerous students and student organizations before the university disciplinary committees to cancel charges, uphold fair hearing/due process rules, and promote freedom of expression/opinion/assembly on campus.

Adalah recently successfully represented two students, Mr. Tariq Taha and Mr. Yousef Taha from the Jafra Student Assembly Movement, after Tel Aviv University (TAU) decided to refer them to the disciplinary committee for protesting, together with other students, against the participation of an Egyptian lecturer in a conference held on campus. The student protestors considered this lecture to be an act of normalization with Israel.

In her arguments before the disciplinary committee, Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad contended that, “The allegations made against the students do not constitute an offense, but rather political activity undertaken by the students during a public conference, and falls within their freedoms to political expression and protest.”

Adalah emphasized at the hearing that, “Public law applies to the university as a public institution, and therefore also the principles of constitutional law, including basic rights and freedom of expression in particular. Hence the university’s disciplinary rules must be interpreted in manner that upholds the students’ rights.”

On this basis, Attorney Asaad demanded that the claims made against the students should be withdrawn.

After the hearing and submission of written arguments in May 2018, the committee gave the university ten days in which to respond. The university did not respond, and on 4 June 2018, the university withdrew its disciplinary claims against the students as a purported goodwill gesture for the holy month of Ramadan. The university, in parallel, also issued an extra-procedural warning to the students outside the framework of the disciplinary committee "for the purpose of deterring potential similar future incidents."

On 1 July 2018, the disciplinary committee issued a decision accepting the university's request to withdraw its claims against the students but nevertheless emphasized that the extra-procedural warning had no legal or disciplinary significance. The committee further noted that the withdrawal of the claims against the students should not be understood as a disciplinary measure – suspended or otherwise – so that it not have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of speech at the university.

Adalah will hold its annual Palestinian Law Students’ conference from 20-22 September 2018, and will seek to raise awareness among the participants about their rights (and duty!) to protest on campus. 

We greatly appreciate your continued support to Protect the Protest, and we would be very grateful if you would share this report with your friends and family to encourage contributions to our work.  

In solidarity and with thanks,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Archive photo: Protest at TAU, 2010
Archive photo: Protest at TAU, 2010
 
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