Attorney General Informs Acre Municipality it Has no Legal Authority to Restrict Access to Beaches and Public Areas

The AG issued his response following Adalah’s demand to remove a fence that the Municipality of Akka (Acre) erected around the city’s Argaman Beach and after it expelled Palestinians from the city in August; Meanwhile, the Municipality of Acre and the police announced that they would prevent the entry of foreign residents during the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur.

On 13 September 2021, Israeli Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit sent a letter to the Akka (Acre) Municipality clarifying his position regarding public health restrictions imposed by the municipality in August on access to the city’s Argaman Beach. The AG stated that the municipality had no legal authority to restrict access to public spaces, such as streets or beaches, by demanding the presentation of a vaccine certificate or “Green Pass”, and that the imposition of such restrictions lay in the exclusive authority of the Government, as afforded given to by Israel’s Major Coronavirus Law. The letter was issued in response to repeated appeals by Adalah to the AG following the expulsion of Palestinian residents of the West Bank by municipal inspectors,  and the illegal blocking of access to beaches in the cities of Netanya and Hadera, in addition to Akka.


In response to the Adalah’s inquiries, the Akka Municipality first announced that the roadblocks at the Argaman Beach would be removed, but later changed its position, claiming that access to the beach was blocked for only 12 hours. The municipality denied that Palestinians had been expelled from the city, despite video footage documenting the incident that Adalah attached to its correspondence.


CLICK HERE to ead the AG’s response (Hebrew)


CLICK HERE for more information on the municipality’s decision to block access of Palestinians to the beach


Meanwhile, on 12 September 2021, the Akka Municipality announced on its website that it had been decided at a meeting held between the Mayor, municipal representatives and the  police to block the entrance to the city for non-residents on the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur, stating that,  “The Israeli Police will set up 18 checkpoints throughout the city” for the purpose.


Following the announcement, Adalah sent an urgent letter on 13 September 2021 to the Mayor of Akka, the Commander of the Akka Police Station, the AG, and the deputy AG to demand that the Akka Municipality cancel the entry ban and refrain from placing barriers restricting freedom of movement. Adalah argued that the decision to close off the city to foreigners and to place checkpoints throughout the city was disproportionate and legally baseless.


In response to Adalah’s letter, on 15 September 2021, the police declared that they did not intend to close Akka to anyone, but justified the deployment of checkpoints on the grounds that they were taking into consideration “the needs of the various population groups”, while “reducing the disruption to the daily lives” of those who wish to do celebrate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kiippur.


Click here to read Adalah’s letter (Hebrew)


Adalah commented:

“The Attorney General’s position states unequivocally and explicitly that the Akka Municipality acted without authority and in violation of the law when it restricted access to the Argaman Beach only to those in possession of a Green Pass. However, the municipality also illegally expelled Palestinians from the city, and unfortunately, these acts have not been addressed by the municipality to date. We expect that the AG will act immediately to stop the Akka Municipality’s actions to prevent the entry of non-residents into the city during Yom Kippur, in cooperation with the police."


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