May 2021 Events: Adalah defends rights of Palestinian protesters in East Jerusalem and across Israel

In the continually developing situation in Gaza, Jerusalem, and around the country, Adalah is operating on an emergency footing to provide legal assistance to Palestinian protesters, and to counter the illegal actions of Israeli state authorities.

Legal teams from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel are representing detainees in Israeli courts, and are taking legal steps against the illegal actions of Israeli police forces – including attacking Palestinian worshippers, preventing emergency medical treatment, and hindering the freedom of expression and association, freedom of worship, freedom of movement, and freedom of the press.


CLICK HERE to read the latest updates on Adalah’s emergency legal work


Israeli police attacking non-violent Palestinian protesters in Haifa on 9 May 2021.


The protests are taking place against the backdrop of the imminent eviction of Palestinian refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah, due to pre-1948 land claims of Israeli settlers; restrictive conditions on worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan and barricades constructed around Damacus Gate, a main access point to the Old City of Jerusalem; and the excessive use of force of Israeli police.  


"The Israeli police's dispersal of legitimate protests with brutal force, violent invasions of houses of worship, denial of access to emergency medical treatment and assaults on paramedics and medical personnel, and denial of freedom of movement and worship – these are all illegal practices. This is further evidence that Israel's police forces view and relate to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and across the country as enemies. All Israeli police personnel – from the highest command level and down to the violent officers now operating on the ground – must be held accountable for their actions, which violate both Israeli and international law."



Israeli police breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 8 May 2021.


Adalah legal team and partner lawyers preparing to defend detainees in Haifa court on 10 May, 2021. (Photo by Nejmeh Hijazi/Adalah)



13:45, 20,06.2021 – Israeli court orders immediate release of Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib

Israel’s Nazareth District Court rules to immediately release leading Palestinian Islamic figure Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib from detention following an appeal filed 10 days earlier by his legal defense team against a lower court decision to keep him in detention until the end of legal proceedings against him.



15:00, 16.06.2021 – Nazareth judge critiques lower court in Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib detention

Israel's Nazareth District Court states it will issue its decision this coming Sunday, 20 June, regarding the appeal filed by Adalah and attorneys Hassan Tabajah and Omar Khamaisi against the continued detention of leading Palestinian Islamic figure Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib until the end of his trial. Judge Arafat Taha noted in today's hearing that there were serious legal errors in the lower court's decision to keep Sheikh Khatib imprisoned during the course of his trial.



09:00, 10.06.2021 – Appeal against detention of Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib

The legal defense team of leading Palestinian Islamic figure Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib appeals to Israel’s Nazareth District Court against his continued detention until the end of legal proceedings against him.



10:00, 08.06.2021 – Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib to be held in prison till end of trial

Adalah General Director Attorney Dr. Hassan Jabareen responded to the Israeli court’s decision this morning to extend the detention of leading Palestinian Islamic figure Sheikh Kamal Khatib until the end of legal proceedings against him. Jabareen, together with attorneys Hassan Tabajah and Omar Khamaisi, are representing Khatib:


“There has not been a case in the past 20 years in which an Israeli court has held someone in prison for the duration of their trial for alleged offensive speech. Moreover, the scant evidence presented by Israeli authorities in Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib’s indictment does not even hint at a call for violent acts. Israeli authorities seek to persecute Sheikh Khatib due strictly to his religious faith and the love he has expressed for Jerusalem and the people of Gaza. There is no danger emanating from the expressions or statements of Sheikh Khatib, yet with these extreme measures the Israeli court provides support to Israeli police efforts intended to intimidate Palestinian citizens of Israel. We will appeal this decision to the district court.”



11:00, 07.06.2021 – Adalah files complaints against Israeli police ‘torture room’ in Nazareth

Adalah submits a formal complaint to senior Israeli officials regarding serious failures on the part of Israeli police and investigators in Nazareth that amount to grave criminal offenses, starting on 9 May 2021 and continuing for a number of days. Adalah lawyers have collected multiple sworn affidavits testifying to rampant, systemic Israeli police attacks and brutal beatings of Palestinian protesters, innocent bystanders, children, and even attorneys inside Nazareth's police station during the period of protests in the city in May.



11:30, 03.06.2021 – Adalah responds to UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues

Adalah responds to a statement issued by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Professor Fernand de Varennes, issued on 1 June 2021 that included a strong condemnation of the violent attacks on Palestinian citizens of Israel by extremist, ultra-right-wing vigilante groups, including settlers.



12:00, 02.06.2021 – Supreme Court petition against Sheikh Jarrah checkpoints

At the request of petitioners, Adalah withdraws Israeli Supreme Court petition against Israeli police checkpoints in Sheikh Jarrah.



15:00, 27.05.2021 – Adalah at the UN Human Rights Council

In a pre-recorded video statement before the United Nations Human Rights Council, Adalah voices support for the establishment of a UN committee to probe Israeli violations of Palestinian rights in both Israel and the OPT, and placed heavy emphasis on the recent organized violence by Israeli Jewish extremist groups, Israeli police violence, and incitement by government officials, politicians, and decision-makers against Palestinian citizens of Israel. The UN council voted to establish the proposed committee.



11:00, 27.05.2021 – Demand to end mass arrest police op

Adalah sends an urgent letter to senior Israeli officials demanding they move to immediately call off the Israeli police force's mass arrests of Palestinian citizens. Since the start of the operation, Israeli police have reportedly arrested more than 300 Palestinian citizens of Israel, the majority of whom were released from custody without any charges filed. Countless eyewitness reports testify to observing large Israeli police forces invading communities in scenarios which closely resemble full-scale military operations, with officers arriving in large conveys of vehicles outfitted



19:30, 24.05.2021 – Israeli court hears appeal, keeps Palestinian Islamic leader in detention

During the late afternoon hours, Haifa District Court heard an appeal filed by the Israeli police against the day's earlier court decision to release Sheikh Kamal al-Khateb to house arrest. The district court accepted the police's appeal and extended Khateb's detention until Thursday, the deadline by which Israel state authorities would have to issue an indictment.



11:00, 24.05.2021 – Adalah responds to Israeli police plan for mass arrest operation

Dr. Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, responds to the new mass arrest operation announced last night by Israeli police:

"The massive arrest campaign announced by Israeli police last night is a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel that requires a rapid response from all Palestinian political movements, parties, and from the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. This is a war against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists, and minors, employing massive Israeli police forces to raid the homes of Palestinian citizens. These raids are intended to intimidate and to exact revenge on Palestinian citizens of Israel – 'to settle the score' with Palestinians, in the Israeli police's own words – for their political positions and activities."



13:00, 24.05.2021 – Release of Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib after violent Israeli police arrest

Haifa Magistrates Court orders the release of Sheikh Kamal al-Khateb, who was arrested by Israeli police special forces 10 days ago in a violent raid on his hometown of Kufr Qanna that left dozens of local Palestinian residents wounded, some of them seriously. Adalah General Director Attorney Dr. Hassan Jabareen, who represented Sheikh Khatib at today's hearing together with attorneys Hassan Tabajah and Omar Khamaisi, stressed that his arrest was not even legal as Israeli police did not have a court order when they raided his home.



11:45, 20.05.2021 – Israeli police block Palestinians from entering Sheikh Jarrah, let in Israeli Jewish extremists

Adalah files urgent petition to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding that Israeli police remove the checkpoints they have established at the entrances to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem and calling for an urgent hearing on the issue. Adalah filed the petition on behalf of Sheikh Jarrah residents and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem against the checkpoints, which police set up at access points to the neighborhood some two weeks ago. Israeli police posted at the checkpoints are blocking the entry of non-resident Palestinians into Sheikh Jarrah, while simultaneously granting access to organized groups of dozens of Israeli Jewish extremists.



14:00, 18.05.2021 – Reports of firings for participating in national strike

Following reports of dismissal notices received from employers by Palestinian citizens of Israel who participated in the national strike called by the High Follow-Up Committee, Adalah sent a letter to the Israeli attorney general, the civil service commissioner, and the equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner demanding they issue a clear directive to the general public that firings due to participation in a strike are illegal, disproportionate, and constitute a criminal offense. Adalah called on Israel's civil service commissioner to act to raise awareness amongst employers regarding the ban on discrimination against employees due to political perspective, national-ethnic affiliation, or for exercising their right to freedom of political expression, and to examine the possibility of take legal action in response to violations of labor law.



16:15, 17.05.2021 – Concrete barriers and “skunk” water in Sheikh Jarrah

Documentation and testimonies from residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem show that for more than a week, Israeli police have illegally placed concrete barriers at the entrances to the neighborhood in a practice that constitutes collective punishment. The residents’ testimonies also indicate that Israeli police employed a vehicle that uses a high-powered hose to spray foul-smelling “skunk” water on Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah at times when no demonstrations or processions were taking place. As a result, a foul odor lingers around local homes. Exposure to “skunk” water is known to cause nausea and dizziness, and poses additional health risks. Adalah has appealed to the Israeli police, Israel’s internal security minster, and the attorney general demanding they act immediately to remove the barriers blocking off Sheikh Jarrah and halt the illegal use of the “skunk” water truck.



01:15, 17.05.2021 – Marking of Palestinian homes in Israeli cities

After a number of legal appeals relating to the “marking” of Palestinian homes, racist incitement, and additional hate crimes by Israeli Jewish extremists in Lod and other Israeli cities, Adalah issues a follow-up letter regarding the same phenomenon after receiving new complaints from Palestinian citizens in Israel whose homes were marked in Ramle and Haifa.



16:00, 16.05.2021 – Adalah responds to High Follow-Up Committee statement

"Day after day, we are calling on the Israeli police and attorney general to act against the incitement and organized violence we are now seeing in the streets. But not only do we not see any real action on their part – or even receive any response to our legal inquiries – but we also see Israeli police officers accompanying extremist mobs and facilitating their violent actions – whether by default or via overt deeds. The responsibility for this negligence lies not only with Israeli officers and prosecutors, but first and foremost with the Israeli government and prime minister, who are responsible for both the violent deterioration and the free hand now being granted to racist and violent repression. Palestinian citizens of Israel have no choice but to appeal to the nations of the world to obligate Israel to provide them with protection, to put an end to and to investigate the war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza."



14:00, 16.05.2021 – Israel declares ‘civil emergency’ in Lod

Since Israel’s declaration of a civil emergency in Lod and the imposition of a night-time curfew, hundreds of Israeli Jewish extremists have been documented arriving in the city by bus in advance of the curfew. These extremist groups were documented as being armed with batons and other weapons, and most of those involved wore masks to conceal their identity. Upon arrival in the city, these extremists broke into smaller groups and attacked the homes of Palestinian residents, Palestinian-owned businesses, and vehicles. Adalah sent a letter to the Israeli defense and justice Minister, the national police commissioner, and the attorney general, demanding they act to annul the declared state of emergency in the city. Adalah stresses that the minister does not have the legal authority to declare a “civil emergency”, let alone impose a curfew on Palestinian residents of Lod while tacitly or actively supporting the violent actions of groups of Israeli Jewish extremists in the city.



13:30, 16.05.2021 – Power cuts to Palestinian communities in Israel

Adalah has received numerous reports from residents of Palestinian communities in northern Israel and the “Triangle” region – amongst them residents of Nahaf, Umm al-Fahm, Yafiyeh, and Kufr Qana – regarding electrical power cuts. According to residents' testimonies, power was cut off daily to main streets and some homes for multiple hours during the day, particularly during the evening hours. Some testimonies indicate that in response to inquiries to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) regarding cuts in Umm al-Fahm, residents were told that Israeli police forbid IEC utility workers from entering the city. Due to the grave concern that the initiated power cuts were implemented at the request of the Israeli police, Adalah contacted both the IEC and Israeli police demanding an end to the reported power cuts.



15:40, 16.05.2021 – Arab leadership inside Israel calls on int'l community to protect Palestinian citizens

The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel calls on the international community to intervene immediately to protect our community from violent attacks and human rights violations by both state and private actors. We ask that you use all measures to compel Israel to take immediate steps to protect Palestinian citizens of Israel and to stop the violence against them.


CLICK HERE to read the full statement



11:00, 16.05.2021 – End attacks on civilians in Gaza

Adalah, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights, Zazim, and Machsom Watch send additional letter to Israeli defense minister, the attorney general, and the military advocate general, demanding again that they act immediately to halt the Israeli military’s deadly attacks on the civilian population in Gaza, as well as strikes on civilian buildings and infrastructure, which have been continuous since 10 May 2021. The organizations reiterate that these attacks raise grave suspicions of serious violations of international humanitarian law. The letter also refers to remarks made by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the evening of 15 May, in which he gave his full backing to Israel’s attacks on Gaza and expressed his determination to continue them, stating that: “Israel has responded forcefully to these [Hamas] attacks and we will continue to respond forcefully… ” Netanyahu's remarks leave no doubt that the State of Israel is in no way willing to open criminal investigations into suspicions of violations of international humanitarian law by its forces in Gaza, including the killing and wounding of civilians.



01:15, 16.05.2021 – Netanyahu inciting against Palestinian citizens

Adalah responds to a statement made tonight by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israeli law enforcement is turning a blind eye as armed, racist Jewish militia groups are marching through the streets attacking Palestinians, but Netanyahu has tonight nevertheless pointed an accusatory finger at Palestinian citizens of Israel.”


CLICK HERE to read the full statement



22:20, 15.05.2021 – Israeli police use of live ammunition

Following reports of a series of incidents in which Israeli police fired live ammunition at Palestinian protesters, Adalah sent an urgent letter to national police commissioner and Israel’s public security minister demanding that Israeli police officers immediately halt their use of live ammunition and/or rubber-coated steel bullets during protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Adalah stressed in the letter that the Orr Commission which investigated the October 2000 killings explicitly stated that the use of live ammunition against protesters must be avoided and that even rubber-coated steel bullets should be removed from police use.



21:30, 15.05.2021 – Extremist Israeli Jews “marking” Palestinian homes


Videos obtained by Adalah show that violent groups of Israeli Jewish extremists have begun “marking” the homes of Palestinian residents of Lod. In response to this documentation, Adalah sent a fifth letter to Israel’s national police commissioner, to police district commanders, and to the attorney general calling on them to act immediately to prevent racist incitement, and the planning and execution of hate crimes against Palestinian citizens of Israel. “The marking of the homes of Arab citizens – an act of ethnicity-based hatred – is extremely serious and shocking in its own right and reminds us all of dark times in human history,” Adalah wrote.



21:00, 15.05.2021 – Court cancels police order to distance youths from hometown

Haifa Magistrates Court on Saturday accepted Adalah’s appeal and cancelled the Haifa police commander’s decision to ban four young male residents of Haifa from the city for a period of 15 days. Israeli police arrested the youths during a protest in Haifa last Sunday, and released them from custody on Monday under the terms of a police order preventing them from remaining in the city, despite the fact that they are Haifa residents. Adalah legal teams, working with volunteer lawyers in cities around the country, have determined that Israeli police are using these orders extensively. Any detainee or lawyer seeking to appeal this order may contact Adalah for legal aid.



14:00, 15.05.2021 – Far-right Israeli Jewish mob and police violence

Adalah issues latest in series of four urgent letters to the Israeli attorney general and top Israeli police commanders sent over the past several days calling on them to act immediately to end police and Jewish mob violence and Israeli police inaction against and – in some cases – overt cooperation with or support of this mob violence. Adalah has obtained a number of internal communications between far-right Jewish extremists that reveal their organized, coordinated efforts to bring armed men to mixed Israeli cities – such as Lod, Ramle, Acre, Haifa, and Jaffa – with significant Palestinian populations. CLICK HERE to listen to the recordings.




13:50, 15.05.2021 – Police seal off entire village of Jadeidi-Makr

Adalah sent an urgent letter to senior Israeli officials demanding they act immediately to remove the concrete roadblocks Israeli police have placed at all three entrances to the Palestinian village of Jadeidi-Makr, located just northeast of Haifa. Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher sent the letter on behalf of Jadeidi-Makr residents to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana, and Coastal District police commander Yoram Sofer. Adalah Attorney Zaher stressed in the letter that Israeli police do not have the legal authority to completely block off an entire community. “This is a severe restriction on the freedom of movement of all residents and it impacts on the freedom of tens of thousands of local residents … This is collective punishment,” Zaher wrote in the letter.




11:00, 15.05.2021 – Emergency lawyers training

Adalah is holding an emergency online Arabic-language training workshop for 160 volunteer lawyers involved in protest-related arrests and detentions.




15:00, 13.05.2021 – Demand to reopen Gaza crossings

Adalah together with 10 other human rights and civil society organizations send urgent appeal to Israeli defense minister, attorney general, and Coordinator of Government Operations in the Occupied Territories demanding that they reverse the decision to close Gaza’s crossings, allow movement of people and passage of aid.



19:15, 12.05.2021 – Shin Bet reportedly sending threatening SMS messages to Palestinian citizens

Adalah sends urgent letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Nadav Argaman, director of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency, demanding that they act to halt the agency’s reported practice of sending threatening text messages to Palestinian citizens.



12:00, 12.05.2021 – Attacks on Gaza civilians could amount to war crimes

In an urgent letter, Adalah, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights Israel warn Israel's defense minister, attorney general, and military advocate general that indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against civilians in Gaza, and attacks on residential homes and civilian infrastructure are prohibited and raise grave suspicions of severe violations of international humanitarian law that could amount to war crimes. 



16:00, 11.05.2021 – Racist incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel

Adalah sends an urgent letter to the Israel’s national police commissioner, district police commanders, and Israel’s attorney general in light of recent online incitement to violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel. In the letter, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara demanded Israeli police and legal officials take immediate action to stop incitement to racism, violence, and conspiring to commit hate crimes, and called for an immediate investigation into the responsible parties. Adalah’s letter included examples of social media posts from right-wing Israelis calling for like-minded activists to travel to East Jerusalem, Arab communities, and mixed cities around Israel and attack Palestinian citizens participating in protests against government policies. Online posts also called for far-right Israeli activists to arm themselves in preparation for these events.



13:00, 11.05.2021 – Haifa court hearing

Haifa court releases four minors with varying restrictive conditions, including house arrest and financial guarantees. Adalah represented the four minors, who were charged with various offenses related to the right to protest.



11:00, 11.05.2021 – Nazareth court hearings

Court hearings are taking place in Nazareth for 14 adults and nine minors arrested by Israeli police during last night's protest in the city; all detainees have legal representation, by Adalah and other lawyers. Israeli police in Haifa continue to hold 11 individuals arrested during protests in the city last night.



15:30, 10.05.2021 – Denial of medical treatment to detainees

Israeli police refused to evacuate to hospital four detainees for a number of hours who were held in the Haifa police station and who required emergency medical treatment. Adalah's inquiries to the commander of the Haifa police station, which emphasized that the failure to evacuate detainees for medical treatment was illegal, went unheeded. Lawyers were required to provide urgent legal counsel to the detainees prior to police interrogations, only after which the detainees were allowed to obtain medical treatment. Adalah sent an urgent letter to the Israeli attorney general and national police commissioner demanding that they halt the police practice of denying medical treatment to wounded detainees.



14:00, 10.05.2021 – Haifa protestors

Adalah legal teams, together with partner lawyers, provided overnight (09.05.2021) legal support to Palestinian citizens of Israel arrested by Israeli police during the evening's protest in Haifa. Israeli police refused to provide or allow evacuation for urgent medical care for four of the detainees wounded during the course of their arrests. Only following Adalah's intervention did Israeli police allow the evacuation of the wounded detainees to Rambam Hospital. Hearings on the conditions of release for nine detainees demonstrators took place all day in the Haifa court. Israeli police are demanding that the detainees be banned from entering Haifa for three months and that their participation in any other demonstrations or protests be prohibited.


UPDATE: Adalah succeeded to obtain the release of all 16 detainees following court hearings, some under restrictive conditions, such as a ban on participation in illegal protests. (18:30, 10.05.2021)



13:00, 10.05.2021 – Nazareth protestors

13 individuals arrested by Israeli police during demonstrations in Nazareth last night appeared today in court for hearings on extensions of their detentions. On minor was released overnight to five-day house arrest. Some of the detainees arrived at the Israeli police station in Nazareth with wounds and at least one was evacuated to hospital. Paramedics were granted access to the Nazareth police station in order to provide medical care to other wounded detainees. Israeli police prevented lawyers from accessing the detainees being held in the Nazareth station, and Adalah appealed to the Israeli attorney general and national police commissioner to ensure access lawyers' access to the station.


UPDATE: Following court hearings, Israeli police released five detainees under restrictive conditions and seven other detainees remained in detention for varying periods of time (the longest of which is until Thursday, 13 May. (18:30, 10.05.2021)



12:30, 10.05.2021 – Israeli police violence against demonstrators

Following the Israeli police's violent repression of the Palestinian protest in Haifa, Adalah called on the Israeli Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department (PID) to open an immediate investigation into the conduct of officers at the protest in the city's German Colony neighborhood. Videos Adalah sent with the letter clearly indicate that Israeli police violently dispersed the protest without legal justification and without the protestors having themselves first acted in a violent matter. Adalah subsequently issued a similar demand to PID regarding the Nazareth protest. In Jerusalem, Adalah received eyewitness reports of wounded Palestinians when Israeli police forces entered Al-Aqsa Mosque, shut down the emergency medical clinic in the mosque compound, and even welded the clinic door shut. Adalah sent an urgent appeal to the Israeli attorney general and national police commissioner calling on them to immediately reopen the medical clinic and demanding that Israeli police halt its attacks on medical personnel.


UPDATE: The Al-Aqsa medical clinic was subsequently reopened.



18:30, 08.05.2021 – Israeli police violence against worshippers and medical personnel at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Adalah sends an urgent letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai demanding they immediately order Israeli police forces to halt their violent incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and refrain from excessive violence against Palestinian worshippers and emergency medical staff in and around the site, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, which have wounded hundreds.


CLICK HERE for full press release on this issue.