Securing Right to Demonstrate for Arab Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev)

HCJ 971/05, Hussein al-Rafaya, et al., v. The Southern Chief Commander of the Police, et al.

Petition submitted to Supreme Court in 1/05 on behalf of the chairman of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab (RCUV), the coordinator of the Together Forum, and in Adalah's own name, against the Police Commander of the southern region of Israel; the Commander of the Rahat police station; and the Israel Lands Administration (ILA). The petition was filed following attempts by the police to dismantle and evacuate a tent erected in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of al-Araqib in 1/05. The tent was set up in protest against the ILA's policy of destroying land and crops cultivated by Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel in al-Araqib and elsewhere in the Naqab through digging up the ground. (See also Adalah's Crop Spraying petition, H.C. 2887/04, Saleem Abu Medeghem, et. al. v. Israel Lands Administration, et. al.) After the tent was erected, and contrary to previous assurances, the police informed the chairman of the RCUV that police permission was required for the tent. An application was duly submitted, but denied based on ILA claims that the protesters were trespassing on state lands. After being approached by the protestors, Adalah contacted the police, who responded by denying permission for the tent and ordering its evacuation and dismantling. Their position was supported by the AG's Office. Adalah then submitted the petition to the Supreme Court, arguing that permission for the tent's erection was not required, and that the police have no right to dismantle it as the residents of al-Araqib enjoy a basic right to demonstrate, which it is especially important to protect as the residents are attempting to prevent their cultivated land from being destroyed.

On 1/02/05, in response to Adalah's petition, the Attorney General agreed to grant permission for the tent and not to order its evacuation and dismantling. The following day, Adalah withdrew the petition and submitted a motion for expenses.

H.C. 971/05, Hussein al-Rafaya, et al., v. The Southern Chief Commander of the Police, et al.