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!
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)
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:
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:
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!
Making the global, local: protecting the right to protest
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!
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
International Advocacy Director, Adalah
Protect Online Protest
Greetings to all from Adalah in Haifa!
We wish to take this opportunity to tell you about some of Adalah's key legal efforts made this past August and September to protect online social media protest, particularly of young Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The Cyber Unit
Adalah received information that the Israeli State Attorney's Office runs a 'Cyber Unit'. This unit collaborates with social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter to remove users' posts, restrict access to certain websites, and even outright block users' access to sites.
Adalah discovered that the Cyber Unit has no legal authority and sent out a letter demanding that the unit immediately ceases its operations. Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury stressed in our letter to the Israeli authorities that much of the unit's censorship operations are conducted without any basis in Israeli law:
"Nothing in the law allows state authorities to censor content based solely on an administrative determination… that the content amounts to a criminal offense. Likewise, there is no explicit directive in [Israeli] law authorizing the removal of content determined to amount to a criminal offense – even by a court."
According to the Cyber Unit's 2016 annual report, it examined 2,241 cases of online content, with a very high number – 1,554, or 69 percent – were removed by the unit.
While private social media corporations may legally remove content according to their terms of service, Israeli state agents – such as the Cyber Unit – are subject to Israeli law. Therefore, much of their censorship activities are illegal and violate users' freedom of speech.
Attorney Khoury explained further: "When the Cyber Unit appeals to a service provider with a request to censor content based on its suspicion … without a final [judicial] ruling in the matter, this constitutes an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech."
Adalah demanded in the letter that the Israeli authorities halt all internet content censorship activities used by the Cyber Unit.
Twitter, Facebook regularly remove user content at governments' requests
Twitter and Facebook admit that they remove a significant amount of content at the request of governments from around the world. Between July and December 2016, the two platforms reported granting requests from the following countries (among others):
Related: Israeli police conceal from detainees social media posts that led to their arrests
When a person is arrested in Israel for incitement or other crimes of expression based on social media posts, police are refusing to reveal which posts led to their arrest and detention. This practice is being employed disproportionally against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Adalah wrote to Israeli authorities in September 2017 that this policy severely harms suspects’ rights to due process, undermines the purpose of the criminal process, and violates the rights of detainees to defend themselves.
“This problematic practice essentially turns an initial arrest into a full-fledged administrative detention [detention without charge or trial]," Attorney Fady Khoury emphasized. "It is not just that the evidentiary materials collected by police are kept from detainees and their lawyers, but that the [social media] content for which the arrest was carried out is left undefined.”
Adalah’s letter cited numerous examples: One young Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, for instance, was arrested on suspicion of an expression crime, but Israeli police refused to reveal the post for which he was arrested for the entire duration of his seven-day detention.
The vast majority of arrests made in Israel in 2015 and the first half of 2016 for charges related to alleged online incitement were of Palestinian citizens.
According to the most recent Israeli police statistics, 82 percent of individuals arrested for incitement-related offenses in 2016 were Palestinian citizens, whereas only 18 percent were Jewish citizens.
Thank you for your generous contributions to Adalah to make this important work possible. Please continue to help Adalah to protect the protest – in the streets and on the web.
Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)
International Advocacy Director, Adalah
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