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
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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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

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Protect Online Protest

 

Dear friends,

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):

  • Twitter:Australia: 4/15 requests were granted; Canada: 11/38; France: 1334/2431; Germany: 236/371; Israel: 12/13; Italy: 6/13; Norway: 1/2; Sweden: 0/2; UK: 65/307; US: 100/381
  • Facebook: Australia: 2 requests were granted; Canada: 0; France: 683; Germany: 919; Israel: 661; Italy: 11; Norway: 0; Sweden: 0; UK: 177; US: 0

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.

In solidarity, 

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

International Advocacy Director, Adalah

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Young Palestinians at the March of Return, 2 May
Young Palestinians at the March of Return, 2 May

Dear friends,

During the past quarter, Adalah successfully helped to protect the Palestinian "March of Return", which took place on 2 May 2017 on the lands of Al-Kabri, a Palestinian village that was destroyed by Israel during the War in 1948.

The March of Return is an annual demonstration held on Israel's declared Independence Day to commemorate the hundreds of Palestinians villages that were erased during the Nakba, or "catastrophe". 

Thousands of Palestinians visit these villages each year to remember their history, protest Israel's ongoing colonial land policies, and assert the right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.

This year, however, the Israeli police refused to grant a permit to the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Israel, which organizes the annual march.

The police claimed that they did not have sufficient resources to secure the event, as they were being deployed to events to mark Israel's independence on the same day. The decision would have been the first in 18 years that the Palestinian march would not be allowed to take place.

In a letter to the Israeli State Attorney and the police, Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam wrote that "The police decision is very strange and raises concerns that the refusal to approve the event is politically motivated". He added that the event "isn't meant to be secured by the police, but by ushers supplied by the organizers."

Thanks to our legal intervention together with the protest organizers, the police reversed their decision and the March of Return was allowed to take place as planned!

Adalah's legal and media staff also attended the successful march to observe and document the protest – see photos here.

Your contributions ensure that our work to #ProtectTheProtest will continue to achieve successes like this.

As Adalah expects many more protests against Israeli government policies to take place in the coming months, your support remains crucial to secure the freedom of expression rights of many more Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Palestinian citizens at the March of Return, 2 May
Palestinian citizens at the March of Return, 2 May
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Palestinian protestors in Ar'ara, 21 January 2017
Palestinian protestors in Ar'ara, 21 January 2017

Dear Friends,

Your support for our project has played a crucial role in protecting the freedom of expression rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel since the start of 2017.

In January, hundreds of Palestinian citizens participated in protests across the country against the killing of 50-year old math teacher Mr. Ya’akub Abu Al-Qi’an, who was shot unjustifiably by Israeli police during a home demolition operation in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south. Adalah is representing the family members of Mr. Abu Al-Qi’an in demanding an independent and thorough investigation into the killing.

Adalah lawyers were present as observers at one of the largest demonstrations in the Arab town of Ar’ara in the center of Israel, where they monitored the police’s practices to ensure that they did not violate the protestors’ right to express their opinions.

Adalah staff also produced live documentation of the protest with photos and videos, which were widely viewed and shared on Adalah's Facebook and Twitter accounts. See examples of our posts here, here and here.

During the same period, in the city of Haifa in the north, Israeli police used illegal methods to try to prevent a protest led by Arab high school students from taking place.

In the days leading up the protest, plain-clothed police officers summoned or paid visits to local Arab school principals to pressure them to stop students participating in the protest.

Police also sent Whatsapp messages in Arabic to individual students telling them – falsely – that the protest was illegal and that there would be clashes with police if they went forward with it.

Adalah sent an urgent letter to the Israeli police in response to these practices, demanding that the police’s acts of intimidation immediately end.

“The facts of the case,” wrote Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam, “demonstrate that the police force is prepared to employ even illegal means to deter Arab school children from exercising their right to freedom of political expression.”

The police claimed in response that they had acted legitimately and out of concern that the event could “endanger public safety.” However, Adalah retorted that such claims were baseless and that the acts of the police remained illegal. “According to this logic, the police would be authorized to prevent any form of student protest on the pretext of maintaining public order,” wrote Attorney Bassam.

Thanks to our legal support, the protest in Haifa was held successfully on 24 January, with the young Arab protestors being reassured of their legitimate right to exercise their freedom of expression rights. Adalah lawyers were also present during this protest as observers to ensure that the police did not harass the students further.

We could not have done this work without your support. Your contributions ensure that our work to #ProtectTheProtest will continue to achieve these tangible successes for many more Palestinian citizens of Israel in the months ahead.

Riot police at Ar'ara protest, 21 January 2017
Riot police at Ar'ara protest, 21 January 2017
Students protesting in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
Students protesting in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
Protestors opposite police in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
Protestors opposite police in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
Police watch student protest in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
Police watch student protest in Haifa, 24 Jan 2017
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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AdalahEnglish
Project Leader:
Ranna Khalil
Haifa, Haifa Israel
$67,489 raised of $100,000 goal
 
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