Israeli police systematically and illegally block buses of Palestinian citizen passengers on their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque and demonstrations

Adalah calls for the police practice of stopping Palestinian citizen worshippers' and demonstrators' buses to be declared unlawful. Police cannot legally justify sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement, assembly and religious worship of population groups solely due to their national and religious affiliation.

On 28 November 2021, Adalah –The Legal Center for the Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter to Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit, Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon, and the Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai demanding the issuance of clear orders prohibiting police roadblocks, which infringe on the freedom of movement, religious freedom and freedom of assembly.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah's letter [Hebrew].


Adalah's request follows multiple incidents, which reveal that the police systematically stop Palestinian citizens of Israel, both worshippers on buses traveling to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, as well as demonstrators on their way to protests across the country. Adalah General Director Attorney Dr. Hassan Jabareen argued in the letter that these police measures violate the fundamental rights of Arab citizens, including the rights of freedom of movement, assembly, expression and religion, and are thus, unconstitutional. Furthermore, these measures are not prescribed by law, meaning that the police lack the authority to impose sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of large groups of people based solely on their national and religious affiliation.


Adalah previously submitted several letters concerning these matters, including complaints concerning police conduct during the May 2021 events, whereby they prevented the arrival of worshippers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the 'Laylat al-Qadr' prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. To date, Adalah has not received an answer from the AG and Police Commissioner. In its recent letter, Adalah highlighted several additional cases from September and October 2021, whereby worshippers' buses were stopped on their way to Al-Aqsa, as well as previous inquiries concerning police stopping Arab demonstrators' buses.


Photograph was taken from the Facebook page of the Israeli Police.


Adalah stated:

"Preventing gatherings of entire groups, whether religious, political or otherwise, through the misuse of powers designed to prevent individual criminal behavior is an illegal police practice. The AG's systemic disregard of Adalah's complaints against this conduct, which infringe upon citizens' constitutional rights, indicates that the police are given a free hand when Arab citizens of Israel are concerned. As long as the police forces are not clearly instructed to cease their actions, the conduct of law enforcement authorities in these matters joins a series of unsound measures reserved only for the Arab population, producing two separate law enforcement systems and perpetuating systemic racial discrimination."