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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: powtac/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: powtac/Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Friends,

Happy new year 2020 from Adalah!  

2019 will be remembered as a year of popular global protest – from Hong Kong, to India, to France, to Iran, to Lebanon and more. Social media is a key organizing tool for protesters, and governments seeking to prevent protests and to quell dissent use a range of tactics, including censoring users’ social media content.

Over the past two years, Adalah filed a series of legal complaints to the Israeli authorities charging that the Cyber Unit, operating in the State Attorney's Office since 2015, is unlawfully asking social media platforms to censor user content. Israel’s state attorney finally responded this past November 2019, claiming that these requests "do not constitute an exercise of governmental authority.” In other words, they claim, the Cyber Unit only issues “voluntary” requests, while the decisions and actual removal of content are ultimately made by the social media providers themselves.

Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court in late November 2019 seeking an order that the Cyber Unit halt its practices. Adalah Attorneys Fady Khoury and Rabea Eghbariah argued that the unit is violating the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and due process, and that it lacks legal authority. Further, there is reason to suspect that the victims of these violations are, first and foremost, Palestinians. 

According to a 2018 report by Israel’s state attorney, the number of Cyber Unit requests to censor content leaped from 2,241 in 2016, to 12,351 in 2017, to 14,283 in 2018 – an increase of over 600%. Further, social media providers accepted the overwhelming majority of requests to remove user content: about 90% of the targeted content was completely or partially removed.

There are legal procedures or no transparency in the process, and no framework for users to defend themselves against allegations that their posts warranted removal.

Our case in the Israeli Supreme Court remains pending.  

We need your continued support for our work protecting protest and defending dissent – on the street and on the web. You are key to this struggle.

“While 2019 already qualifies for a place in the annals of street protest,” Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times’s chief foreign affairs columnist wrote as 2019 drew to a close, “it is possible that the really world-shaking year may turn out to be 2020.”


Make a contribution to Adalah today!

Thank you!

Photo: Michael Schreifels/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Michael Schreifels/Flickr Creative Commons
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Adalah's meme linking October 2000 to October 2019
Adalah's meme linking October 2000 to October 2019

Dear friends,

Nineteen years ago, in October 2000, Israeli police shot dead 13 Palestinians in Israel during mass protests against Israel's repressive policies in the Occupied Territories at the start of the Second Intifada. The police, who used live-fire and rubber bullets, also wounded 1,000 protestors and arrested 660 in Israel.

For years Adalah represented the families of the 13 killed Palestinian protestors, demanding that those responsible be investigated and prosecuted.

In a 2003 report, a commission of inquiry confirmed that there was no justification for the police's use of lethal force against the protestors. It also called on the police to "root out the existence of negative prejudices against the Arab sector" across its ranks, adding that the police should no longer see the Palestinian citizens as an "enemy".

Despite these strong words, the Attorney General in 2008 closed all of the files against police officers, commanders, and political leaders. To this day, not a single Israeli officer or other official has been indicted for the killings. And years later, it is clear that the Israeli authorities have refused to heed Palestinian demands for fair, humane, and accountable law enforcement.

This month, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel have taken to the streets to protest the police's systemic negligence in tackling the rise of deadly violent crime in Arab communities.

On 3 October, Adalah participated in a general strike by the Palestinian community to protest the police's inactivity. Adalah staff also attended a mass demonstration in the northern town of Majd Al-Krum, where we legally observed the protests and stood ready for any legal representations of protestorsthat may have been necessary.

To commemorate October 2000, Adalah issued a meme on its social media pages connecting the protests in 2000 with the current protests of October 2019 (see above), and reiterating our demand for justice and accountability for the killings and injuries of Palestinians past and present, whether by the police themselves or by their grave inaction.

Our persistent efforts over all these years to protect Palestinian citizens’ right to protest, and to hold the Israeli police accountable to the people they are meant to serve, can only be possible by your ongoing, generous support for our work.

A monthly, recurring donation will help to ensure our continued ability to “Protect the Protest”.

Will you make a new contribution to Adalah today?

Thank you in advance for all of your support to our crucial work.

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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.

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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

Links:

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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
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Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
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Twitter: @adalahcenter
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