About 40 protestors arrested in Haifa during weekend of demonstrations against Israeli military offensive in Gaza
Adalah: Police violently assaulted protestors and brutally suppressed demonstration without justification
(Haifa, Israel) Last night, Saturday, 19 July 2014, Adalah represented 29 Palestinian citizens of Israel before the Haifa Magistrates’ Court, following their arrests during a demonstration in Haifa the night before in protest of Israel’s military offensives in the Gaza Strip. Large squads of police forces, including undercover officers and mounted police, brutally attacked the protestors without provocation. Three protestors were taken to hospital with injuries, and two protestors, who were detained by police, were later transferred to the hospital.
Following Adalah’s and volunteer lawyers’ representation before the court, 17 of the 29 detainees were released with different conditions including house arrest, prohibitions from entering the city of Haifa, and prohibitions from participating in demonstrations without permits. The police plan to file appeals against the release of at least two of those detainees. Meanwhile, the court accepted police requests for the extension of detentions of 12 protestors – five until today Sunday 20th July, and seven until Monday 21st July.
Adalah attorneys criticized the court’s decisions to issue conditioned releases, arguing that, “The restrictive conditions placed on the majority of the detainees are unfair and arbitrary, and are primarily intended to deter them from participating in political activities and protests. We will continue to defend protestors in court against any appeals by the police, against the extensions of detentions and against the restrictive conditions of release.”
Adalah attorneys added that many of the protestors showed signs of violence on their bodies as a result of police assaults, which raised questions regarding the police’s conduct during the demonstration.
Right-wing counter-demonstration against Hadash/al-Jabha protest
In addition to the demonstration on Friday 18 July 2014, at least 8 people were arrested during another demonstration in Haifa last night, Saturday 19 July, which was organized by the Hadash/al-Jabha political party (a mixed Jewish-Arab political party). A crowd of right-wing Israeli Jewish counter-demonstrators attacked the al-Jabha protestors with stones and empty bottles, while police fired tear gas and water cannons to quell the protests; four people were subsequently taken to the hospital. Right-wing demonstrators chanted, “Death to Arabs, Go to Gaza”; these protestors were not arrested for incitement. Adalah filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court earlier this month to challenge the police’s refusal to give a permit for al-Jabha’s demonstration. The police eventually rescinded their position and allowed the demonstration to take place. This sort of racist, face-off between right-wing demonstrators and anti-war protestors is not common in Haifa, a mixed city known for its good Arab-Jewish relations.
The demonstrations in Haifa are the latest in a series of protests organized by Palestinian citizens of Israel that began in response to the murder of 16-year old Mohammad Abu Khdeir from the Shu’fat neighborhood of East Jerusalem on 2 July 2014, and in protest of Israel’s military attacks throughout the occupied West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip under the codename “Operation Protective Edge”. The high number of arrests and detentions (estimated at around 450 since 2 July 2014) marks the largest wave of detentions of Palestinian citizen demonstrators in Israel since the October 2000 events. Adalah has taken the lead in coordinating with volunteer lawyers and partner organizations in providing legal representation before all levels of Israeli courts to defend the demonstrators.
Adalah PR, “Update on 10 July: 128 Palestinian citizens of Israel still in detention”, 10 July 2014
Cover photo by Arabs48