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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's Great March of Return
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.

Apr 3, 2019

Why Gaza's March of Return Began on Land Day

Dear Friends,

Many greetings from Adalah. 

One year has passed since Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip launched the Great March of Return protests, which continue to be held every Friday along the fence with Israel.

As you well know, most discussions around the protests focus on the Israeli military’s brutal response to the demonstrations, and the impunity with which Israeli snipers use live fire to intentionally kill or wound Palestinian protestors, without fear of consequences.

As Adalah and our partners have found – and as the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests has confirmed – these actions violate international law, and yet Israeli authorities have proven to be unwilling to properly investigate or punish the perpetrators for their crimes.

However, it is also crucial to remember why Palestinians in Gaza launched the march in the first place: to end the siege on Gaza and to reclaim their right to return to their homeland.

This is why the demonstrations began on 30 March – Land Day – which marks Palestinians' resistance to the state’s expropriation of mass tracts of their land in the Galilee in 1976. In these Land Day protests decades earlier, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel, engaged in a struggle for their land rights, were killed by police.

The Palestinian struggle to defend their land and homes remains as vital today as it was 43 years ago.

Just this year, for example, Israeli authorities announced plans to forcibly transfer 36,000 Bedouin citizens from their homes in the Naqab, in order to make way for a military industrial zone, a phosphate mine, expanded highways, and new towns for Jewish citizens - plans that Adalah is challenging before Israeli courts and planning committees.

These plans are being given legal backing by discriminatory legislation such as the Jewish Nation-State Law (JNSL), which enshrines Jewish supremacy as a constitutional rule and bears the distinct characteristics of apartheid.

Article 7 of this law, which calls on the state to promote Jewish settlement as a “national value”, will intensify Israel’s racist land policy on both sides of the Green Line and put thousands more Palestinians at risk of displacement and dispossession.

The Israeli elections next month foreshadow a continuation of these policies in Israel and in the 1967 Occupied Territories. As a result, Palestinians’ rights to their lands, their livelihoods and their lives are under greater threat than ever. 

Please donate to Adalah’s work to protect the protest in commemoration of this 43rd Land Day, 2019. 

In solidarity,

Suhad Bishara, Director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Unit

Mysanna Moranny, Coordinator of Adalah’s Land and Planning Unit


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