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


Apr 3, 2019

UN Committee questions Israel on education rights

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from Adalah.

Just last week, Adalah achieved a success from our work before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), a major UN human rights body. The Committee released a List of Issues relating to Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab, relying in large part on information submitted to the Committee by Adalah and our partner, the Negev Co-Existence Forum (NCF).

Israel ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – a main human rights treaty – in 1991 and is therefore obligated to abide by it.

In January 2019, Adalah and NCF submitted a joint report to the Committee on Israel's lack of compliance with the ICESCR. The report included information on: (1) Israel's failure to systematically collect specific data on the Bedouin; (2) the staggering high incidence of poverty, three times more than Jewish Israelis; (3) forced evictions, home demolitions and planning mechanisms to dispossess the Bedouin from their land; (4) the denial of access to safe drinking water and the lack of adequate sanitation; (5) the inadequate investment in education; and (6) the severe obstacles to employment for Arab Bedouin women.

In early March, Adalah Attorney Mysanna Morany together with an NCF representative, gave presentations to the pre-sessional Working Group of the Committee in Geneva on the issues raised in the joint report. The Committee is comprised of about 20 human rights experts from different countries around the world.

This past Thursday, 28 March 2019, the CESCR released its detailed List of Issues, obliging Israel to address critical questions based on several subjects highlighted in our joint report. For example, the Committee asked Israel to provide information on: “Steps taken to improve data collection relating to the Bedouin population and provide statistical data relating to their enjoyment of the Covenant rights, disaggregated by sex, disability and locality. This includes their numbers …  and access to education … and other public services.”

Further questions regarding the right to education included requests to Israel to provide information on: (1) the impact of measures taken to address the high incidence of school dropout and low level of academic achievement among Arab and Bedouin students; and (2) measures taken, and their impact, to ensure that all children, including Arab and Bedouin children, benefit from free early childhood education, and the enrollment rates of these groups of children.

Adalah and NCF welcomes the Committee’s List of Issues, and we look forward to participating in the Committee’s full review of Israel’s compliance with the ICESCR, scheduled for October 2019.  

Adalah engages with UN human rights bodies in parallel to our legal work before Israeli courts. The purpose of this international advocacy work is to make international human rights law, which is viewed by Israeli courts, as persuasive legal authority. Favorable concluding observations from these UN bodies also empower Adalah’s lawyers in their argumentation: they show that international human rights bodies agree with our claims of rights violations, and that the courts should also uphold the highest standards of human rights.

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg

International Advocacy Director, Adalah


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