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.
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.
In the past few months, Adalah has focused its attention on tackling many wrongful practices used by the Israeli police against Palestinian citizens of Israel who exercised their right to protest. Thanks in great part to your support, we successfully won a positive court decision and filed two new legal interventions to protect Palestinian citizens' right to protest.
WIN: Court orders release of police open-fire regulations - the public has a right to know
In November 2016, the Lod District Court issued its decision on a petition filed by Adalah demanding that the Israeli police release and publish the full details of its new, eased open-fire regulations, which were issued in September 2015. In response to the petition, the police revealed parts of its regulations in June 2016, but some sections remained blacked out and censored. The new regulations permit officers – as an initial option, preceding any earlier attempt to employ non-lethal weapons – to open fire with live ammunition on those throwing stones or firebombs, and on those shooting fireworks. Adalah fears that these open-fire regulations facilitate a "shoot-to-kill" policy that has been used against Palestinians for over a year, including at demonstrations. The police filed an appeal against the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court in December 2016; Adalah will continue to insist on the release of the full regulations. More info
NEW: Stopping arrests for raising the Palestinian flag
In October 2016, Adalah wrote to the Israeli Attorney General (AG) demanding that he issue an order to the State Attorney and Israel Police to refrain from arresting and indicting citizens and residents of Israel for raising the Palestinian flag. According to official police statistics, between 2011 and 2015, the police arrested 96 citizens of Israel on suspicion of waving the Palestinian flag, and indictments were filed in 45 of these cases (47%). Adalah stressed that there is no legal directive forbidding the raising of the Palestinian flag. Moreover, the Israeli Supreme Court does not see the Palestinian flag as symbolizing support for terrorism, as the Court permitted a number of Arab political parties to broadcast election campaign ads in which images of the flag appeared. More info
NEW: Challenging police attacks on free speech and protest for Palestinian citizens
In October 2016, Adalah wrote to the Israeli AG demanding that he issue new orders to the police to refrain from impinging upon the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to free political expression and protest. Adalah detailed a series of illegal practices and operational tactics employed by the police over the last year, including: (1) Preventive arrests; (2) Protest dispersal and false arrests; (3) Arrests of parents of youth protestors; (4) Release from detention conditional on limited free speech and movement; and (5) Violations of regulations relating to minors in detention. Adalah further noted that statistics indicate unequal enforcement between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel when it comes to the scope of arrests: between 2011 and 2015, Palestinian citizens made up 89 percent of arrests for "participating in a riot," 62 percent of arrests for "participating in a forbidden gathering," and 98 percent of arrests for "gathering or organizing an unauthorized march". More info
Our ability to launch important cases like these relies on your donations and support. Thank you for standing with Adalah and by Palestinian citizens' right to protest.
Freedom for Shaymaa and Sujood!
Shaymaa and Sujood are two teenagers (minors under the law) who were arrested in October 2015 for demonstrating against police violence against Palestinians. We represented the two young women during their initial detention and in court hearings; a private lawyer later represented them in the criminal cases brought against them.
We are very glad to share that Shaymaa and Sujood were both cleared of all the charges filed against them. Following their arrests and detention, we documented and widely publicized the harsh treatment of the minors in custody, and all of the illegal practices pursued by the police and often sanctioned by the courts in these protest cases. This was not lost on the judge at their trial, who dismissed the charges and had harsh words for the police about their treatment of the two girls during their arrest.
We’ve raised US$7,356 from 45 individual donors and US$10,000 from an institutional donor to protect the protest. A big thanks to all our donors who are helping to protect the right to protest and especially to our recurring donors for their continuous support.
Worrying legal developments concerning free expression
Recently, the Knesset enacted two new laws that are severely damaging to free expression. The ‘Anti-Terror Law’ and the ‘Expulsion Law’ both impose harsh restrictions on individuals from freely exercising their fundamental right to free expression.
The ‘Anti-Terror’ Law: The new law, approved on 15 June 2016 by the Israeli parliament, is designed to further suppress the political activities of individuals in support of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The law allows for the widespread use of ‘secret evidence’ by the state prosecution and establishes new criminal offenses such as public expressions of support or empathy for terror organizations.
With a very wide definition of “terror”, Adalah expects that a broad range of political speech – particularly of Palestinian citizens of Israel - will be criminalized. As we’ve stated, “[The new law] paints the political activities and expression of Arabs in Israel – including those of a social, humanitarian and charitable nature – with a hostile and war-like façade, reclassifying them as acts of terror”.
You may read our press release against the law, here.
Award-winning investigative journalist, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept recently published an article on how Facebook was cooperating with the Israeli government to determine what should be censored. Read the piece here.
Adalah’s Annual Law Students’ Camp - "50 years of '67 Occupation and the Silencing of Dissent”
We’ve been busy preparing for our 11th Annual Law Students’ Camp, which will be held over 3 days from 6-8 October 2016. The conference will bring together Palestinian Arab law students from Israel as well as many law students in the OPT to discuss key human rights issues. This year’s event, which will take place in Beit Jala, will include a focus on freedom of expression. Although human rights issues play a significant role in the lives of Palestinian students, they are sparingly discussed in Israeli law schools.
We’re organizing a series of workshops on free expression for the students discussions on the ‘Anti-Terror Law’ (see above), state-imposed economic sanctions on free expression, the BDS movement and the right to boycott, and restrictions on free expression in the media, including on Facebook and other social media.
Thanks to all who voted in Global Giving’s Photo Contest
We were shortlisted for Global Giving’s 2016 Photo Contest as a finalist in the Hope category. See the photo below. Thanks to all those who voted for us – all 275 of you! We finished 4th in our category. Congratulations to the winner of the competition, ‘Isha Vidhya’ who provides quality education to rural children in India.
Your vote was a vote of confidence for our work. Thanks for your support!
1. Fundraising Update
To date from the launch of the campaign in December 2015, we raised US$ 6,230 from individual donors and US$10,000 from an institutional donor to protect the right of Palestinians to protest against institutionalized discrimination and the Occupation, and to mobilize for freedom and justice. Thanks to all of the individual donors for their generosity, particularly those who made recurring (monthly) commitments!
2. An update on Anas, 'the Facebook protestor'
As you know, we are representing Anas K., the 19-year old Palestinian citizen of Israel, in a criminal case against him for his status updates on Facebook. Anas was arrested and then placed under house arrest for his Facebook posts that allegedly constituted “incitement to violence and terrorism”. However, we’re pleased to inform you that Anas received good news last month!
On 17 April 2016, following a motion filed by Adalah to the court, Anas’ house arrest was partially lifted so that it will only apply at night-time. This change of conditions will allow him to work and to continue to take music lessons to play the buzuq, the long-necked string instrument.
Anas wanted to share the following message with you for enabling this small, but very meaningful victory: “It’s a beautiful feeling to live life in freedom. Now I can exercise my rights, to both express and to move without restriction. Finally! All the same, I still await complete freedom”.
3. An update on Shaymaa and Sujood, detained for protesting
In October 2015, we represented (with other volunteer lawyers whose presence we coordinated in court) the young female teenagers, Shaymaa and Sujood from Nazareth, who were arrested following their participation in a demonstration against violence. Shaymaa and Sujood were both placed under house arrest following their detention, and criminal charges were filed against them. While the criminal cases are still ongoing, the good news is that they are no longer under house arrest. While the teenagers are currently being represented by private lawyers, they remain active with Adalah in speaking out to help other young people who are detained for exercising their right to voice their dissent to injustice.
4. #WeWillNotBeSilent: a strong follow-up to #ProtecttheProtest
Adalah, together with Baladna – Association for Arab Youth and 7amleh, started a new project at the end of 2015 that expands the #ProtecttheProtest campaign. Given the traction Adalah created with #ProtecttheProtest and the urgency to protect the right to free expression including freedom of assembly, freedom of association and the right to protest, our additional joint initiatives with Baladna and 7amleh include:
#WeWillNotBeSilent is a strong follow-up to our #ProtecttheProtest campaign and will run throughout 2016 and 2017.
Accordingly, you can expect in your PtP updates information on how we are using a combination of training and outreach, legal representation, media advocacy and capacity-building in this new stage of expandedwork with human rights lawyers, youth and journalists to protect the protest and free expression.
Check out our online portal displaying the personal stories of those whom the Israeli authorities have attempted to silence, but with little success:
Can you spot Sujood, Shaymaa and Anas?
Mohammad Badarneh, Visual Director of #WeWillNotBeSilent, explains his vision for the campaign, “We look for the moments rooted in our memories, without underestimating the strength and defiance of those who stand against Israeli oppression, nor underestimating their human frailty”.
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