09 | 12 | 2019

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel is appealing the investigation by Israel’s police force of its officers’ conduct during a home demolition in the unrecognized Arab-Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017, and requesting that the probe be reopened.

According to Zu Haderech, the Hebrew-language Communist weekly, the appeal is based on a new independent report prepared by a forensic criminologist who found that police did not interrogate all officers who were carrying sponge-tipped bullets on site on the day of the incident, and failed to thoroughly review their own footage of the shooting of the chairman of the Joint List and Hadash, MK Ayman Odeh.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has submitted two reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination in preparation of the committee’s submitting its preliminary questions to the State of Israel in an upcoming session to be held in Geneva on 4-5 December 2019.

In 1966 Israel signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, or ICERD,  and ratified it in 1979. The December session is the UN committee’s periodic review of Israel’s compliance with the terms of the convention to which it is a signatory.

One of the two reports, submitted independently by Adalah, is entitled Violations of the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel; the second submitted jointly by Adalah and the Negev Coexistence Forum (NFC) is named Violations of the rights of Arab Bedouin citizens in the Naqab/Negev. The reports provide updated information and analyses on legal, political, and policy developments since the UN committee’s last review of Israel in 2012. The two reports highlight Israel’s failure to comply with the UN committee’s previous concluding observations and recommendations to reverse many of the state’s racially discriminatory practices.

A report published by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research reveals that for 17 years, the Director of Security of the Defense Establishment (DSDE), a Ministry of Defense division, has, without any legal authority to do so, ordered denying public access to individual documents and entire files in various official Israeli archives relating to the Nakba, the 1948-49 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The report, Silencing: DSDE’s Concealment of Documents in Archives, summarizes the findings of two years of research by Akevot Institute.

Following a court petition submitted by the NGO Gisha – Legal Center for the Freedom of Movement, under the Freedom of Information Act, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has been compelled to publish the protocols and procedures governing its operations.

Israel’s control over the movement of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory is codified in military legislation enforced by the Israeli army in the West Bank, and in civilian legislation applying to residents of the Gaza Strip. Pursuant to these laws, Israel has established procedures and protocols restricting the movement of both people and goods within the Palestinian territory. To travel, or to coordinate movement of goods, Palestinians must submit permit applications to Israeli authorities and receive their approval. Israel’s control over and restriction of Palestinians’ freedom of movement violates their fundamental rights to family life, health, education, religious worship, and more.

This week will see the renewal of protests against police neglect of crime in the Arab community. At 5pm today, Tuesday, a protest will take place opposite police headquarters in Nazareth, one of a number of planned demonstrations that have been approved by the High Arab Monitoring Committee. Last week, several thousands of persons demonstrated in protests held throughout the country.

The Monitoring Committee’s legal team also intends filing an official complaint against the state of Israel with the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international organizations, including the OECD.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the central city of Ramle on Tuesday, October 15, to demonstrate against violence in the country’s Arab-Palestinian communities, calling for greater police enforcement to clamp down on crime. Since the beginning of the year, 75 members of these communities have been murdered.

The protesters marched from the al-Omri Mosque to Ramle’s police station, holding aloft signs and chanting slogans against Israel’s law enforcement authorities and condemning what they say is the police’s inaction in addressing the spate of criminal violence within the Arab towns and villages in Israel. Joint List chair, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), told demonstrators that the community’s protest “will continue until quiet is returned to the streets and the crime organizations are defeated. If we don’t keep on counting arrests and demonstrations, we will have to keep on counting deaths and funerals.”

On July 23, B’Tselem first reported on the police harassment of residents of the Isawiyah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The campaign, which began in June, included daily law enforcement and collective punishment raids, ostensibly in response to stone throwing. During one of the raids, 21-year-old neighborhood resident Muhammad ‘Abeid was killed. Although the harassment has abated somewhat since the beginning of the school year, it still continues at varying levels of intensity.

Thousands of Arab-Palestinians in Israel held protests on Friday, October 4, just a day after holding a general strike over the wave of deadly criminal violence unaddressed by police within the their communities.

The 13 members of the Knesset elected from the Joint List boycotted the inaugural swearing in of MKs to the 22nd Knesset held yesterday (Thursday, October 3) in Jerusalem. The lawmakers’ boycott came as part of Thursday’s general strike called for by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel’s. Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said: “Dozens of people murdered since the beginning of this year are not just victims of violent crime; they are victims of the apathy of the government and law enforcement authorities.” “It is not acceptable that we continue burying our children while the rest of the MKs take celebratory photos in the plenum,” Odeh added. “We will join our constituents in demonstrations across the country.”

The Joint List sent a letter on Monday, September 30, to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit urging him to immediately open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hospitalization in critical condition of a Palestinian activist after he was interrogated by Israel’s security services. According to Arabic language Communist newspaper Al-Ittihad the letter sent by the Joint List to the AG contends that “The conduct of the security system, including the Shin Bet, in this case involved crossing a red line and breaking the law… There must be a thorough examination of the circumstances in this case, and a conclusion must be reached. Measures must be taken to limit torture and to prosecute those involved.”

The Joint List recommended Kahol Lavan (Blue & White) leader Benny Gantz for prime minister on Sunday, September 22, seemingly paving the way for the centrist party to get the first crack at assembling a coalition.

This decision marks the first time since 1992 that Hadash and Arab parties — separately or together — have recommended that the President of Israel (who is the authority who must make the decision) assign the task of forming and heading up a government assigned to a mainstream Zionist politician. In 1992, Hadash and the Arab Democratic Party supported the premiership of Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, who had campaigned on a platform calling for peace with the Palestinians, but did not join the coalition.

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