Adalah: Israel’s revocation of protest permit, demolition of protest tent in Rahat violates Bedouin citizens’ freedom of expression

Israeli police had issued permit for the protest, then reneged, arresting five protesters and demolishing their tent; Rahat residents are protesting discriminatory policies of Israel’s Bedouin Authority and the Israel Land Authority.

On 22 September 2022, Adalah sent a letter to Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, commander of Police Southern District Police Peretz Amar, and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, demanding the immediate cancellation of the police’s decision to ban a Bedouin protest and demolish a protest tent in Rahat, the largest of the seven government-planned towns established for Palestinian Bedouin citizens in the Naqab (Negev).


Adalah’s demand followed the demolition of the protest tent set up by residents in protest against the discriminatory policies of the Bedouin Authority and the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) in planning and building processes in the town, and specifically, due to the refusal to market plots for housing for local residents in the southern section of Rahat.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter [Hebrew]


On 18 September 2022, following a request by the protest’s organizers,  Israeli police issued a permit to hold the protest and set up a protest tent. Shortly thereafter, police informed the organizers that the permit was null and void. According to the police, the ILA, which controls the land on which the tent was set up, notified them that a special ILA permit was necessary to hold the protest at that location.  


The next day, police forces arrived at the compound and arrested five activists, and since then, additional participants have been called in for questioning concerning the protest tent. On 22 September 2022, large police forces surrounded the complex and destroyed the protest tent.


In the letter, Adalah Attorney Adi Mansour argued that the decision to revoke the protest permit and the demolition of the protest tent constitutes a severe violation of the residents' freedom of expression and their right to protest against the ILA and its policies. Adalah further contended that the decision had no legal basis, and was disproportionate and unreasonable. The demolition of the protest tent violates past Israeli Supreme Court decisions, as well as directives of the AG and the police.


Photo: The Negev Channel