Petition to the Supreme Court of Israel against the IDF for Prohibiting 7 Arab Citizens of Israel from Entering the West Bank


Today, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition to the Supreme Court against Mr. Moshe Ya'alon, IDF Chief Commander of the Central Division, challenging his issuance of orders against seven Arab citizens of Israel, which prevent them from entering the West Bank. As the West Bank is still under Israel's effective control, the Israeli Defense Forces determine entrance to and exit from the West Bank. 

Advocates Hassan Jabareen and Orna Kohn submitted the petition in the name of Adalah and Mr. Mahmoud Mahameed, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel from Umm El-Fahem. Mr. Mahameed recently received his B.A. from Al-Najah University, and was accepted to a Masters Degree program in Contemporary Arab Studies at Bir Zeit University beginning in March 2000. There is no Arab University in Israel, and Israeli Universities do not offer this degree. The sole explanation offered by the IDF Chief Commander for issuing the prohibition order against Mr. Mahameed is that Mr. Mahameed was an activist in the Islamic student movement at Al-Najah University, a charge which he vehemently denies. The IDF Chief Commander offered no other information regarding the basis for his order, contending that he relies exclusively upon "secret evidence." 

Adalah sets forth four main grounds in its petition, as to why the order must be cancelled. First, Adalah argues that the arbitrary process for issuing these prohibition orders denied Mr. Mahameed his right to a fair hearing and his right to be heard. Where the State restricts such a fundamental liberty and dignity interest, it must afford the affected individual with the opportunity to challenge the basis for the order and its implementation. There was no judicial tribunal available to Mr. Mahameed to challenge the prohibition order. 

Second, the IDF's sole reliance on "secret evidence" unconstitutionally violates the due process rights of the petitioner, as he is denied any opportunity to confront the evidence against him. Moreover, Mr. Mahameed has never been convicted, indicted, arrested, investigated or interrogated on any criminal or national security offense. 

Third, Adalah argues that the order violates Mr. Mahameed's constitutional right to travel, relying on the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom (1992). This Law protects the rights of all Israeli citizens to freely enter and exit Israel. 

Fourth, Adalah argues that the order violates Mr. Mahameed's freedom of association and expression. Membership in the Islamic student movement - with no charge of incitement to lawless activity or particular illegal activity conducted - is an insufficient ground on which to restrict freedom of association liberties. 

Adalah requests that the Supreme Court invalidate or cancel the IDF prohibition orders, and establish an appropriate judicial tribunal in order to review all IDF decisions in these matters in order to safeguard the petitioners' rights.