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Feb 20, 2018

Making the global, local: protecting protest

Adalah Legal Researcher at the UN CEDAW Committee
Adalah Legal Researcher at the UN CEDAW Committee

Making the global, local: protecting the right to protest 

Dear Friends, 

Greetings and warm hellos from Adalah! In this report back, we want to highlight some of Adalah’s work before the UN, and our efforts to make the global, local to protect the protest.

Adalah has been working before UN human rights treaty bodies for 20 years, making international human rights law. In these processes, we document and expose human rights violations; inform the international community, including UN experts from around the world, of these practices; and frequently obtain favorable recommendations, which give international legitimacy and credibility to our claims. We then call on the Israeli authorities to implement these human rights recommendations, and we reference them before Israeli courts in further support of our legal arguments. In this way, Adalah tries to make the global, local and to work toward the full realization of international human rights.

Recently in October 2017, Adalah joined a delegation of Palestinian women’s rights defenders and NGOs from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to participate in UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s (CEDAW) review session on Israel in Geneva. Israel ratified the women’s rights convention in 1991 and, like all other state parties, is reviewed regularly by the committee.

Ahead of the review, Adalah submitted reports and held meetings with members of the committee, and presented detailed information on Israel’s violations of Palestinian women’s human rights in all aspects of life. Importantly, Adalah highlighted Israel’s failure to protect the rights of freedom of expression and assembly, to peaceful protest, and to use social media platforms to voice dissent, and the police and military’s excessive use of force and extreme violence to suppress protestors.

The most serious illegal practices used by the police in Israel to suppress Palestinian protests, include: dispersing the demonstrations illegally and arresting protestors; refusing to give authorization for protests, claiming threats to public order; summoning protestors for interrogations with the General Security Service (GSS)/police; making illegal preventive arrests including those of family members of lead demonstrators; using excessive force and brutality against demonstrators; arresting protestors as groups, with the courts upholding “group detentions”; demanding lengthy times of pre-trial detention and house arrest; and failing to abide by special procedures that apply to children. Israeli Jewish protestors do not receive this treatment.

The CEDAW Committee issued its concluding observations in November 2017. The committee raised many of the concerns highlighted by Adalah and its partners. Regarding women’s human rights defenders and NGOs in Israel, the Committee noted that:

"Following the adoption of the Anti-Boycott Law and Naqba Law in 2011, human rights defenders, including Israeli and Palestinian women, have been subjected to severe restrictions on their activities, including through limitations to their financing." The committee recommends that "the State party take specific steps, including through legal amendments, to create an enabling environment in which Israeli and Palestinian women human rights defenders and NGOs working on gender equality and women’s empowerment may freely conduct their activities without undue restrictions, including on funding by foreign sources." (para. 38, 39) 

Regarding suppression of protest of women and girls’ in the OPT, the Committee stressed that:

“Israeli security forces continue to use disproportionate force in response to acts of violence, protest demonstrations and in its law enforcement operations in the context of counter-terrorism measures, with disproportionate impact on women and girls”, and called on Israel to ensure that it “complies with the Basic Principle on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Personnel.” (para. 18, 19)

In December 2017, Adalah wrote to the Israeli Attorney General (AG) to urge him to anchor these concluding observations in internal directives obliging government ministries to take measures to eradicate discrimination against women. Adalah argued that Israel ratified all of the international human rights conventions – including the women’s rights convention (CEDAW) – thus expressing its intent to act in accordance with its standards and norms. Further, Adalah and women’s rights groups in Israel asked for a discussion of CEDAW’s recommendation in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, headed by MK Aida Touma-Sulieman, a member of the Arab Joint List, has scheduled a hearing for 12 March 2018. We will keep you posted about the outcomes - the AG's response and the conclusions of the Knesset hearing. 

Thank you again for your generous contributions to Adalah, which make this crucial work possible. Please continue to help Adalah to protect the protest!

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

International Advocacy Director, Adalah

Dec 22, 2017

Promises, but still no buses for Bedouin preschoolers

Preschoolers getting on the bus
Preschoolers getting on the bus

Despite promises, still no buses for Bedouin preschoolers 


Dear Friends,

Season’s Greetings and health and happiness to all in the New Year!

During this holiday season, Adalah is continuing to work on behalf of Arab Bedouin families living in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel to demand access to education for their children.

On the day after Christmas, 26 December 2017, a Beer Sheva Court is set to hold a hearing on an urgent demand of parents’ and Adalah: the court must enforce the Education Ministry’s commitment to provide school transport for 3 and 4 year-old Arab Bedouin children. The villages in which these children live do not have preschools (as well as many other basic services and facilities) and they must travel - sometimes for long or difficult journeys - out of their villages in order to reach schools. 

Following Adalah’s petition to the court in May 2016, the Education Ministry promised in January 2017 to provide transport for preschool children living in Al-Sira and Al-Jaraf. As a result of this commitment, Adalah’s petition was withdrawn.

The Education Ministry did provide transport from March-June 2017, but ceased to operate school buses when the new school year began in September. Despite repeated queries from Adalah and parents in these communities, the Israeli authorities currently do not provide transportation.

Last week, Adalah petitioned the court again, asking that it compel the Ministry and a nearby Regional Council to abide by their commitment. State attorneys announced before the court in 2016 that the Education Ministry would allocate 50 million shekels (approximately US$14.2 million) to transport 3- and 4-year-old Bedouin school children to school. Around 5000 Arab Bedouin children require transport and/or appropriate preschool frameworks in their villages.  

"When the state commits before the court, it is expected that it will abide by its commitment," Adalah wrote in the new petition. "The failure to abide by commitments leads to continued violations of the [Compulsory Education Law, which obligates the state] to provide free education for children aged three and four via preschool transport."

We hope that the court compels the state to do the right thing, to abide by the law and its commitment, and to provide access to preschool education for children. 

We sincerely appreciate your help in ensuring that these children, and many more, can #MakeTheGrade.

We thank you for your continued support for Adalah's work.

Happy Holidays!

Walking to the bus in Al Sira
Walking to the bus in Al Sira
Dec 11, 2017

Forced evacuation to temporary housing rejected

Forced evacuation to 10-year temporary housing rejected  

Dear Friends,  

This past month, Adalah, together with our partner Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, submitted an objection to Israeli land authorities against a plan to move the 500 Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran to “temporary housing” for a 10-year period.

The kind of temporary housing offered to the residents – citizens of Israel – resembles housing appropriate for emergency situations such as natural disasters, but not for a decade-long housing solution, and the residents adamantly reject it.  

The plan continues to promote a reality of temporariness for Umm al-Hiran residents, an outcome of decades of forced transfer from one place to another. Residents were displaced from their ancestral lands in 1956 and moved by the Israeli military government to their current location in Umm al-Hiran. It is unreasonable to once again uproot them to a temporary place of residence, the very same families who have been living in this village for 60 years. The transfer of Umm al-Hiran's 78 families – including children, adults, and elderly people – will damage the community socially and economically. 

This plan itself is problematic for several reasons.  

First, it goes against the 2015 and 2016 Israeli Supreme Court rulings which determined that Israel may evict Umm al-Hiran residents to appropriate alternative housing in Hura, a government-planned Bedouin town in the Naqab. Temporary hosuing does not meet this determination.  

Second, the temporary housing plan to evacuate Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran will allow Israeli Jews to build a Jewish-only town to be called “Hiran” in its place.  This plan is racist and discriminatory.  

Hiran's cooperative association bylaws grant membership – and residency in the planned town – to "a Jewish Israeli citizen or permanent resident of Israel who observes the Torah and commandments according to Orthodox Jewish values…"

These bylaws contradict the state's previous claims that "Hiran is planned as a general community, into which any Israeli of any background or religion may integrate."

Third, the plan violates Umm al-Hiran residents’ constitutional right to dignity. The transfer breaches the residents' right to freedom of choice as to where to live; it humiliates them by the very fact of their forcible transfer from place to place as if they were objects; and it violates their right to proper housing. 

Finally, the plan does not guarantee sustainable living conditions, and was formulated without the participation or consent of Umm al-Hiran residents. 

Adalah and Bimkom demand that this plan be rejected and that Israel find a solution allowing Umm al-Hiran residents to remain in their homes and village.  

Adalah is following up on this objection and is planning further legal actions and advocacy initiatives to stop the state's segregation plan. But we cannot do this without your help.

Your support is crucial to our defense of the Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran. Donate today and help us #Save_UmAlHiran

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