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
Palestinian protest in Jaffa. Photo: Mati Milstein
Palestinian protest in Jaffa. Photo: Mati Milstein

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.

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Shaymaa and Sujood after winning their case
Shaymaa and Sujood after winning their case

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.

Fundraising Update

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! 

Israeli police arrest Palestinian protester (2012)
Israeli police arrest Palestinian protester (2012)
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Launch of #WeWillNotBeSilent at Al-Khashabi - 4/16
Launch of #WeWillNotBeSilent at Al-Khashabi - 4/16

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:

  1. To educate and empower up to 1,600 Arab-Palestinian youth to protect their FOE rights;
  2. To train 20 young Arab human rights lawyers and 15 Arab journalists in FOE rights issues to engage in outreach to the Arab-Palestinian youth, and to write about these issues in media and social media outlets;  
  3. To defend Arab-Palestinian youth in FOE rights violations cases via direct legal representation

#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:

http://www.7amleh.org/WeWillNotBeSilent/

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”.

Mohammad Badarneh, Visual Dir. #WeWillNotBeSilent
Mohammad Badarneh, Visual Dir. #WeWillNotBeSilent
2 day workshop for young HR lawyers, 2/16
2 day workshop for young HR lawyers, 2/16
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Freedom of Expression Training for Lawyers - 19/2
Freedom of Expression Training for Lawyers - 19/2

Greetings to you from Adalah. We are writing to let you know how your kind donation is making a real difference in the ability of Palestinian citizens of Israel to protest to defend and promote their rights. At the height of the protests from late September 2015, we represented 30 individuals, many of them minors, who were detained for participating in and/or organizing demonstrations. We also worked with volunteer lawyers throughout the country to make sure that everyone who needed legal representation at police stations and in courts got it.

Here’s a short update on how we’re working to fight against illegal police actions and to expand the space for Palestinian citizens of Israel to demonstrate for their rights:

1. We shared with you the stories of the young detainees, Shaymaa and Sujood (on youtube), who were arrested together in early October 2015. We filed official complaints to ‘Mahash’ (the Police Investigation Unit) on their behalf against the police for their violent treatment of the girls. In total, Adalah filed four complaints to ‘Mahash’, including for two brothers, Mohammad (minor) and Obaida who similarly were beaten by the police.

2. We also submitted a comprehensive letter to the Israeli Attorney General demanding the opening of an investigation in to the serious violations of the human rights of Palestinian citizens on account of numerous illegal police practices. These practices included the illegal dispersion of demonstrations,  arbitrary detentions and arrests of activists and in some cases, their fathers, restrictive conditions to prevent demonstrations, and several violations of the rights of children who were arrested (e.g., night arrests, questioning them outside of the presence of their parents, among other violations of the Youth Law).

3. We’re representing Anas (19-years old) in a criminal case against him for his status updates on Facebook. He was charged with the inflammatory offense of “inciting to terrorism” for posting “Jerusalem is Arab” and “Long Live the Intifada”, among other political expressions. Notably, several Israeli political leaders, who have made far worse statements and whose words influence large constituencies, have escaped indictment. A positive development that we’ve noted is the wide extent to which social media users are discussing Anas’ case. Many young activists have approached us to learn more about their rights in online fora, including on Facebook. 

4. We’ve also initiated legal work on a number of related issues such as trying to compel the Israeli police to publish the new ‘open-fire’ regulations, the potentially unconstitutional mandatory minimum punishments of those convicted of stone-throwing, including the penalization of their parents through the imposition of fines.

5. Training of Young Lawyers in Free Expression Rights: We conducted three days of our freedom of expression (FOE) rights legal training course for 20 young Arab lawyers, 15 women and 5 men. These lawyers will soon give human rights awareness educational workshops to youth groups on FOE-related subjects, including the right to demonstrate, police arrest procedures, free expression on social media and protest laws.

Your kind donation makes all of our work over the past three months possible. To show our appreciation, we’ve made a short video for you!

A video from us to you to show our appreciation!
A video from us to you to show our appreciation!

Links:

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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
 
784 donations
$32,511 to go
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