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Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel

by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in 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
Protect the Protest in Palestine & Israel
Protestors at Gaza
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.

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:

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
Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad with the TAU students
Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad with the TAU students

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you from Adalah!

The new academic year is starting next month, October, in Israel, and in anticipation of the fall semester, Adalah is thinking about Palestinian students’ rights to protest on campus.

Oftentimes, Israeli universities prohibit or greatly restrict protest by Arab students and student associations, alleging for example, that events to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day (15 April) or Nakba Day (15 May), a national day of mourning for Palestinians, or demonstrations against the killings of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli military forces would “pose a threat to public safety.” Sometimes the universities try to pass the costs of security for the protests onto the students seeking to impose, what Adalah sees, as an illegal tax and burden on freedom of expression. Adalah represents numerous students and student organizations before the university disciplinary committees to cancel charges, uphold fair hearing/due process rules, and promote freedom of expression/opinion/assembly on campus.

Adalah recently successfully represented two students, Mr. Tariq Taha and Mr. Yousef Taha from the Jafra Student Assembly Movement, after Tel Aviv University (TAU) decided to refer them to the disciplinary committee for protesting, together with other students, against the participation of an Egyptian lecturer in a conference held on campus. The student protestors considered this lecture to be an act of normalization with Israel.

In her arguments before the disciplinary committee, Adalah Attorney Soheir Asaad contended that, “The allegations made against the students do not constitute an offense, but rather political activity undertaken by the students during a public conference, and falls within their freedoms to political expression and protest.”

Adalah emphasized at the hearing that, “Public law applies to the university as a public institution, and therefore also the principles of constitutional law, including basic rights and freedom of expression in particular. Hence the university’s disciplinary rules must be interpreted in manner that upholds the students’ rights.”

On this basis, Attorney Asaad demanded that the claims made against the students should be withdrawn.

After the hearing and submission of written arguments in May 2018, the committee gave the university ten days in which to respond. The university did not respond, and on 4 June 2018, the university withdrew its disciplinary claims against the students as a purported goodwill gesture for the holy month of Ramadan. The university, in parallel, also issued an extra-procedural warning to the students outside the framework of the disciplinary committee "for the purpose of deterring potential similar future incidents."

On 1 July 2018, the disciplinary committee issued a decision accepting the university's request to withdraw its claims against the students but nevertheless emphasized that the extra-procedural warning had no legal or disciplinary significance. The committee further noted that the withdrawal of the claims against the students should not be understood as a disciplinary measure – suspended or otherwise – so that it not have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of speech at the university.

Adalah will hold its annual Palestinian Law Students’ conference from 20-22 September 2018, and will seek to raise awareness among the participants about their rights (and duty!) to protest on campus. 

We greatly appreciate your continued support to Protect the Protest, and we would be very grateful if you would share this report with your friends and family to encourage contributions to our work.  

In solidarity and with thanks,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

Archive photo: Protest at TAU, 2010
Archive photo: Protest at TAU, 2010
Protest in Gaza
Protest in Gaza

Dear Friends, 

Adalah needs your help. Our legal team has been working around the clock in these terrible weeks of extreme violence against Palestinians engaging in political protests in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel. Your support is crucial for Adalah’s legal team to continue to respond to indiscriminate killings and to emergency calls to represent protesters.

Palestinians in Gaza have been demonstrating since 30 March in a series of weekly protests known as “The Great March of Return”, demanding the right of return for the Palestinian refugees and an end to the closure. To date, at least 117 people have been killed in Gaza - including 13 children - and over 13,000 others wounded.

During this emergency period, Adalah has worked intensively with Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza to:

  • Secure passage to the West Bank for wounded protesters. We succeeded in court to get permission for Yousef al Kronz, a young Palestinian shot by Israeli snipers during the 30 March protest, to leave Gaza for urgent medical treatment that saved one of his legs. The Israeli Supreme Court’s decision in this case opened the door for others to receive critical medical treatment.
  • Challenge the Israeli military’s use of lethal force in a Supreme Court petition demanding that the army stop using snipers and live ammunition to disperse the unarmed Gaza protesters. 94% of the fatally wounded were shot in the head and upper body. Nevertheless, in direct contradiction of United Nations bodies and the positions of international human rights organizations, the court rejected the petition and gave a green light to the Israeli military's continued use of live fire against Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
  • Document the indiscriminate killings of Gaza protesters and urge the UN to open an independent investigation into the Israeli military’s illegal actions. We simultaneously called on the EU and the U.S. Congress to support such an inquiry. On 18 May 2018, Adalah participated in the UN Human Rights Council, which voted to establish a commission of inquiry.

Demonstrations have been held around the world against the Gaza killings. In Haifa on 18 May, Israeli police used extreme violence against peaceful protesters, mostly Palestinian citizens of Israel, and arrested 21.

In response, Adalah:

  • Convened an emergency meeting of volunteer lawyers to formulate a collective legal strategy to secure the immediate release of all the detained protesters.
  • Provided legal representation to all the detainees, together with volunteer attorneys and the Human Rights Defenders’ Fund. Following a nine-hour overnight hearing, the court released all the detainees.
  • Filed police brutality complaints on behalf of protesters, including Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah, whom Adalah represented in court. Farah was hospitalized after he was beaten by police, who broke his knee while he was in detention. Six other protesters were also hospitalized, and others were deprived of medical care by police.

Adalah needs your donation to help our lawyers defend Palestinians in court and to challenge the impunity enjoyed by Israeli military and police forces. The Adalah team thanks you for your generosity!

Protest in Haifa (Photo by Nadine Nashef)
Protest in Haifa (Photo by Nadine Nashef)
 

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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Website:
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Twitter: @adalahcenter
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Haifa, Haifa Israel
$20,269 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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