Adalah takes legal action, Israeli police remove roadblocks and reopen access to Arab homes in Lod

Adalah: Blocking an entire street and limiting freedom of movement for residents of an entire neighborhood under pretense of fighting crime constitutes collective punishment.

Following legal action taken by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Israeli police forces on 3 December 2020 removed earthen mounds and concrete blocks they had placed a day earlier, forming barriers and a checkpoint blocking the only street providing access to Arab homes in a neighborhood of Lod, located in central Israel.


Palestinian residents of Lod inspect the roadblocks erected by Israeli police which cut off access to their homes.


Adalah attorneys Aiah Haj Odeh and Sawsan Zaher sent a letter to Israel’s internal security minister, the Lod police commander, and the Lod police legal division, demanding that they immediately remove all checkpoints blocking access to Arab homes in the Snir neighborhood.


Lod police claimed that they had blocked off the residential street in order to collect unlicensed weapons following a shooting attack that took place on 1 December 2020.


Adalah’s letter stressed that there is no connection between police operations purported to collect unlicensed weapons or fight crime and the blocking of a key road that provides the only access to a residential neighborhood. Such action limits the freedom of movement of all citizens and constitutes an illegal policy of collective punishment of all the neighborhood’s residents.


Police actions of this kind resemble tactics used by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and are not used against Israeli Jewish residents.


Adalah called on Israeli police to remove the roadblocks within 24 hours – and they complied.


Adalah Attorney Aiah Haj Odeh commented:


“Israeli police cannot freely impose an ongoing, unsupervised policy of collective punishment against Palestinian Arab residents of this mixed Arab-Jewish city. Palestinian citizens of Israel have constitutional rights and they must be protected. Adalah will fight these violations each and every time they occur, and we call on Israel’s police and security services to refrain from further collective punishment.”