Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel

by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
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Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Photo courtesy of A-jarmaq news agency
Photo courtesy of A-jarmaq news agency

Adalah: The Jewish National Fund, together with the Israel Lands Authority, plants forests in the Naqab to displace Bedouins, viewed as ‘trespassers’, from their lands. This is racial discrimination, par excellence.

Last week, in the wake of Israeli police assaults on Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel and human rights activists demonstrating against the afforestation activities of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the Bedouin village of Sa'wa in the Naqab (Negev) in the south, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to the police commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, the commander of the Southern District Police, Peretz Amar, the police commander of the Negev region, Nachshon Nagler, and the Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit demanding that they immediately order Israeli police forces to halt the use of violent, illegal and life-threatening means to disperse protests and to allow protests to continue.

In the letter sent by Adalah Attorneys Adi Mansour and Rabea Eghbariah, Adalah argued that police forces dispersed the protest, which was authorized by the police and peaceful at that time, and began using excessive force, injuring many protesters some severely. Adalah further argued that the police exceeded its authority and endangered the lives of the demonstrators by using rubber bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and drones that dropped tear gas grenades. Adalah stressed that the use of drones dropping tear gas grenades, which was not used previously against citizens of Israel, is extremely dangerous, disproportionate and unlawful.

CLICK HERE to view video footage of the drone dropping tear gas grenades

The police used an array of violent and disproportionate means to muzzle the protesters since the Jewish National Fund (JNF) restarted its tree plantings (afforestation) on the lands of the Al-Atrash Bedouin tribe near Sa'wa on 10 January 2022. The Israel Lands Authority (ILA) allocated the lands to the JNF for purposes of afforestation, for the purpose of “preserving” the land, despite registered claims of ownership over this land and use for agriculture by Bedouin residents. The plan's sole purpose is political: to stop the recognition and development of Bedouin villages and to displace Bedouin families while taking over disputed land. Environmental groups, such as the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel objected to the policy, arguing that tree planting in the Naqab has negative consequences on the natural habitat of the area.

The JNF holds 13% of all the land in Israel (the vast majority of JNF lands were transferred by the State of Israel to the JNF). The JNF’s aim, as stipulated in its Memorandum of Association, is the acquisition of land in any area within the jurisdiction of the Government of Israel “for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties”.  The petitioners in the 2004 Adalah v. The Israel Lands Administration, et al. case, argued that: “[the] JNF is not and cannot be loyal to the entire Israeli public. The JNF’s loyalty is reserved for the Jewish people alone - for whom it was established and for whom it acts.” The JNF expanded its land ownership in the Naqab in a 2009 agreement with Israel where Israel outsourced land in the Galilee and in the Naqab, where many Palestinian citizens of Israel reside, to the JNF.

In renewing the plantings in Sa’wa, JNF workers were guarded by hundreds of heavily militarized police. Bedouin residents immediately started protesting the JNF's activity; a protest tent was set up and demonstrations were held on Al-Atrash lands. The police employed violent and disproportionate measures to disperse the protests and arrested many protesters. At the end of last week, approximately 85 people were arrested, including many minors. As of today, around 50 people were still being held in detention.

On 10 January 2022, Israeli police forces set up roadblocks preventing vehicles in all three entrances to the village and therefore restricted residents’ access, including schoolchildren, to their homes. Similar restrictions were placed for three consecutive days during the previous week as well.

In response, on 11 January 2022, Adalah sent a letter to the police commissioner, the commander of the Southern District Police and the AG demanding that the roadblocks be immediately removed. In the letter, sent by Adalah Attorney Rabea Eghbariah, Adalah argued that the police lack the authority to impose sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of the residents of the entire village; those are drastic, disproportionate and unreasonable restrictions that infringe not only on freedom of movement but also severely infringe on the right to education, as children could not attend school, and right to health, especially during this new, serious wave of COVID-19.

As roadblocks in the entrances to Sa'wa were set on the following day as well (12 January). Adalah sent a follow-up letter and has yet to receive an answer.

On 12 January 2022, Adalah also sent a letter to the Police commissioner and AG concerning the demolition of a protest tent in the early morning of 11 January. The tent was set up on 10 January. In the letter sent by Adalah Attorney Adi Mansour, Adalah argued that the demolition of a protest tent severely infringes Bedouin citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of expression and protest. The destruction of the protest tent by a bulldozer without warning is an unreasonable and manifestly disproportionate measure. According to eyewitnesses and documentation from the scene, it is apparent that the demolition was executed by a JNF bulldozer. Adalah stressed in its letter that this type of enforcement, especially by the JNF that has no competence to act in this manner, is illegal.

Related Press Releases on the JNF:

Adalah & NCF: Israel’s replies to UN body deny Bedouin indigeneity in Naqab, ignore discriminatory effects of policies  2 October 2019

Israeli Supreme Court rejects petition against JNF membership in ILA land council 22 June 2018

National Committee of Arab Local Authorities, human rights organizations petition High Court of Justice to annul JNF representation on Israel Land Council 28 June 2016 

 Without Making Principal Changes, Israel Allows Arab Citizens to Bid for Jewish National Fund-Controlled Land 1 February 2016 

 Adalah and ACRI call to cancel discriminatory land swap agreement between Israeli government and the JNF 7 January 2016 

 Cancel the Yatir Forest Plan in the Naqab 30 December 2011 

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

On behalf of the Adalah team, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy holiday and New Year. I also thank you for your steadfast support for Adalah in 2021, which has been a particularly tumultuous year.
The May 2021 events were a seminal moment. In May, we witnessed a deadly escalation in violence in Israel and the OPT, sparked by Israel’s brutal repression of protests against the eviction of Palestinian refugee families from Sheikh Jarrah. Hostilities spread to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex and Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes killed 240 people, including 65 children. Palestinian citizens of Israel took to the streets across the country to demonstrate, and were met by extreme violence by police and ultra-right wing Jewish Israeli vigilante groups.

In response to the May 2021 events, Adalah represented dozens of Palestinian citizen protestors detained and viciously beaten by police, and secured their release from detention with less harsh conditions, including political leaders unjustly charged with incitement. We also helped draw international scrutiny to the violence and incitement against Palestinian citizens by Jewish Israeli vigilante groups and senior Israeli officials, which culminated in the opening of an unprecedented investigation by the UN into the events and their root causes on both sides of the Green Line.

Another milestone was the announcement by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of the opening of a criminal investigation into the “Situation in Palestine.” This watershed decision confirms what Adalah and many other human rights organizations have maintained for years: that Israel is committing war crimes against the Palestinian people, and that there is no accountability under the Israeli legal system.
More upheaval followed when Israel designated six of the most prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations”, shocking the international community. These groups are the most vocal in resisting the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policies, and some are active before the ICC. Adalah is providing legal advice and assistance to the Palestinian 6 against Israel’s transparent attempt to silence, delegitimize and defund them.



Click Here to view a slideshow of Highlights of Adalah's work in 2021


Despite the many challenges posed by these events, and working under the long shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adalah’s team obtained major positive results from its legal and advocacy work. Successes included securing vaccines for the most vulnerable Palestinian groups and prisoners, and the publication of emergency health information in Arabic by public health bodies. We were honoured to receive a prestigious international award from the World Justice Project in 2021 for our COVID-19 litigation.

Continuing the fight against forced displacement in the Naqab, Adalah successfully cancelled evictions orders that were filed without notice against Bedouin residents of Segev Shalom; halted the construction of a phosphate mine, which could have resulted in mass home demolitions; and contributed to the shelving of a plan to set up refugee camps for Bedouin targeted for forcible displacement.

Given the harsh, draconian measures taken by Israel against the Palestinian people, Adalah is all the more proud of these activities, through which we defend Palestinians’ human rights on both sides of the Green Line.  

On behalf of the Adalah team, I sincerely appreciate you, our partners in this work, and we can only meet the challenges of 2022 together.  Please consider welcoming 2022 with a gift to Adalah.

With gratitude, yours sincerely,

Dr. Hassan Jabareen
General Director of Adalah
We urgently need your support to meet the coming challenges and to continue with our critical work.
Please consider an end-of-year donation or a monthly recurring gift.
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Dear Friends,

Many greetings and warm hellos to you from Adalah. 

We are writing to update you on Adalah’s recent actions to protect and defend Palestinians’ freedom of protest. Our last report discussed the beginning of the very violent events of May 2021, with the brutal suppression of the protests in Sheikh Jarrah and near the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Palestinian citizens of Israel have also suffered grave human rights violations by the Israeli authorities as they took to the streets in Israel to protest the Israeli police violence in Jerusalem, and later Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Adalah’s main concerns regarding Palestinian citizens of Israel during the violent events in May 2021 included:  

  • Organized violence by extremist ultra-right-wing Israeli Jewish groups against Palestinian citizens and their property, oftentimes with police protection and collusion.
  • Excessive use of force and violence by Israeli police against Palestinian peaceful protestors, and a campaign of mass arrests and detentions.
  • Incitement by Israeli government officials against Palestinian citizens, including by then-Prime Minister Netanyahu.
  • Selective enforcement of curfews and lockdowns against Palestinian citizens in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel.

We documented Adalah’s major legal and advocacy actions in May and June 2021 in two newsletters that we published. You can read them here:

Adalah’s Emergency Work during the War, 21 May 2021

New Israeli government must confront police violence and impunity, 21 June 2021

In the aftermath of these events, Adalah has been following up on the Israeli police’s campaign of mass arrests and detentions and the excessive use of violence by the police against protestors. An example of egregious events that we are monitoring closely involved the brutal beatings and other criminal acts of violence by the Israeli police against detained protestors in Nazareth. Adalah wrote extensively about these events in its 7 June 2021 press release entitled, “What happened in the 'torture room' at Israel's police station in Nazareth?”.

In July 2021, the Police Investigation Department (PID) opened a formal investigation into the brutal acts of the Nazareth “torture room” following Adalah’s complaint. Adalah continued to monitor the investigation and in August requested that the PID hear testimonies on what took place at the station not only from direct complainants but also from other detainees as well, and in particular, those who required medical treatment, and those who had marks of violence on their faces and bodies when they were brought to extension of detention hearings in the Nazareth Magistrates’ Court. A failure to do so would raise serious concerns about the genuineness of the investigation, Adalah argued.

Adalah also demanded the immediate suspension of the commander of the Nazareth police station, and the initiation of criminal proceedings against him and all others involved following the investigation. Adalah wrote that we considered the fact that the commander of the station has not been yet suspended a sign of the lack of seriousness and severity that the police see in these acts.

This month, we are continuing to follow up on this case, and we have filed an additional complaint on behalf of another Palestinian citizen of Israel who was brutally arrested and beaten by the police officers in the Nazareth police station in May 2021.

Also this month, Adalah filed a complaint on behalf of three minors and one adult – all Palestinian citizens of Israel - who were injured by the police during a massive shooting in the mixed city of Jaffa during the May 2021 events. We demanded that the PID open an immediate, comprehensive criminal investigation into the dangerous conduct of the police who used stun and tear gas grenades, as well as rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrations in Jaffa. The four complainants were injured as a result of the police’s massive and random shooting of rubber bullets, despite that they did not even take part in the protests.

Adalah will continue to closely follow these cases to ensure that those responsible for these violent acts are held accountable, and that such collective and arbitrary police practices against Palestinian citizens of Israel are halted.

Thank you, as always, for your continued interest in and support of Adalah’s ‘Protect the Protest’ project. Your support is critical for our work, and we greatly appreciate it.

In solidarity,

Ranna Khalil 


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Photo credit: Eye On Palestine / Instagram
Photo credit: Eye On Palestine / Instagram

Dear Friends,

Warm regards from Adalah. We hope that you are healthy and safe.

During the past month, the use of violence by the Israeli police has escalated against Palestiniansin Jerusalem, including in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Protests took place throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, following the police forces’ construction of barricades at the Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the Old City and one of its most iconic spots, where worshippers gathered after prayers at Al Aqsa. Tensions further intensified at demonstrations against the possible forced evictions of refugee Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem for the purpose of settling extreme Israeli Jewish residents, who have made pre-1948 land claims in this area.

Throughout Ramadan, the Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam which is located at the heart of the old city, are crowded with worshippers. In response to protests, Israeli police have repeatedly raided Al-Aqsa compound over the past days, deploying extreme, excessive force and wounding hundreds of Palestinians. Additionally, Israeli forces blocked the main road leading to Jerusalem, preventing Palestinians from accessing Al-Aqsa compound on the Muslim holy night of Laylat al-Qadr, this past weekend.

Following these events, Adalah sent an urgent letter on 8 May 2021 to the Israeli Attorney General and Police Commissioner, demanding to end the police's violent incursions into Al-Aqsa compound,and to refrain from the use of excessive force against worshippers and medical staff at the site. The police used extreme measures to disperse them, firing rubber bullets, and stun and tear gas grenades, including against women and children.

Adalah stressed that the use of these deadly weapons at Al-Aqsa compound endangers the lives of Palestinians, is illegal and constitutes a violation of their right to freedom of worship. Adalah also demanded that the police reopen the road to Jerusalem in order to allow worshippers access to Al-Aqsa mosque to mark Laylat al-Qadr on that same night.

Adalah called on the police not to aid the extremist Israeli settlers in their attacks on Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, particularly in Sheikh Jarrah, and warned that if the police do not reconsider its violent practices against Palestinians, it would lead to bloodshed and further harm to innocent people.

In response to these recent violent events, on 9 May 2021 Arab citizens of Israel held protests in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Once again, police forces resorted to extreme violence against demonstrators, refusing to transfer injured detainees for medical care in Haifa, and denying lawyers access to a police station in Nazareth to provide legal counsel to the detainees. Adalah sent a letter to the police headquarters in Haifa demanding to provide injured detainees with immediate medical care. Adalah also sent a letter to the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner demanding to allow lawyers access to the Nazareth police station.

Read: Adalah to Israeli attorney general, national police chief: End violent police incursions into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound immediately, 8 May 2021

Read more: Possible Israel War Crimes In East Jerusalem Land Right Case: UN, Agence France Presse (AFP), 7 May 2021

Read more on forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah: "Dispossession & Eviction in Jerusalem", a 2010 report by The Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem and Adalah.

Follow the hashtag: #SaveSheikhJarrah

Thank you again for your support for Adalah’s critical work. Please consider a further donation to our project. We sincerely appreciate it.

In solidarity,

Ranna Khalil

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Photo by Mati Milstein
Photo by Mati Milstein

Dear Friends,

Many greetings to you from Adalah and a very happy, healthy New Year.

In this update, we review Adalah’s work in protecting freedom of expression (FOE) rights in 2020, an extraordinary year, which introduced many new challenges for those who protest and dissent.

Protecting Rights of Protestors during COVID-19 Emergency: Throughout the year, Adalah worked to ease restrictions on FOE and freedom of assembly (FOA), and particularly freedom of protest. We provided legal advice to individual Palestinian activists who were targeted by the police and the Shin Bet (Shabak), as well as to groups seeking information on organizing a protest in order to increase their awareness and knowledge of their rights. Activists turned to Adalah for advice on the “state of play” in light of new Israeli government restrictions on FOA and protest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adalah produced and widely disseminated posters in Arabic explaining the new rights regime under the newly-emerging regulations. Additionally, in April 2020, Adalah hosted a webinar in Arabic, in cooperation with NGO partners, entitled “The Right to Protest in Corona Times”, which was broadcast live on Adalah’s Facebook page, and was viewed by 2,531 people. The webinar provided information on the rights of protestors during the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on ways to use the internet as a tool for FOE under Emergency Regulations.

Adalah also maintained an up-to-date database of cases and incidents of infringements on freedom of protest, including arrests and indictments, from which information can be extracted to challenge restrictions on FOE. We also worked in cooperation with other human rights organizations, following up on violations on freedom of protest, and pooling resources to ensure effective legal representation, and other work and results.

Fighting Online Censorship: In August 2020, the Israeli Supreme Court (SCT) held a hearing on a petition filed by Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the Israeli “Cyber Unit”. The Cyber Unit is part of the State Attorney’s Office. This Unit flags and submits requests to remove user posts or entire accounts of users, without any legal proceedings or due process to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The SCT found a strong legal basis for the case and mandated state authorities to explain under which legal authority the state operates its “Cyber Unit” to conduct censorship of online speech.

Demanding accountability for police killing and injury of Palestinian protestors during the October 2000 Uprising: October 2020 marked 20 years since the killing of 13 Palestinians, 12 citizens of Israel and one resident of Gaza by Israeli police, in what is known as the October 2000 Uprising. In October 2000, demonstrators took to the streets throughout the country to protest against the scores of killings in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, following the start of the second Intifada. Adalah represented the families of the 13 young men who were killed before the Or Commission of Inquiry into these events, and demanded that the state hold those responsible for the killings to account. However, the State Attorney’s Office and later the Attorney General closed all of the files, and 20 years on, still not one police officer, commander or politician was criminally charged. Marking these events in 2020, Adalah undertook a wide public and media campaign demanding that the state re-open the investigations into the killings, drawing similarities between recent police killing cases of Palestinians in Israel, and the 2020 murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans by the police in the US. Click here for more information on the October 2000 Uprising.

Thank you again for all of your support to Adalah. All of this work to Protect the Protest would not be possible without your commitment and generosity! We sincerely appreciate it.

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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AdalahEnglish
Project Leader:
Ranna Khalil
Haifa, Haifa Israel
$61,011 raised of $100,000 goal
683 donations
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