Request to Cancel Commission's Letters of Warning Against Arab Public Representatives

HCJ 6342/02, MK 'Abd al-Malek Dahamshe, et al. v. The Commission of Inquiry

A motion was filed to the Commission in 3/02 followed by a petition to the Supreme Court in 7/02. The motion and petition were filed on behalf of MK 'Abd al-Malek Dahamshe, MK Azmi Bishara, Sheik Ra'ed Salah, the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens in Israel, and the Committee of the Bereaved Families, seeking the cancellation of warnings against the Arab leaders on the grounds that they are discriminatory, illegal, and constituted a breach of power by the Commission. Adalah argued that the Commission exceeded the scope of its mandate, which is restricted by law to executive branch officials; investigated the issue of incitement in a discriminatory manner - questioning only Arab public representatives as to these matters and no Israeli Jewish rioters or Ariel Sharon about his provocative visit to al-Aqsa compound; lacked authority to ask many questions of the three Arab leaders regarding their political positions and posed such inquiries only to them; and relied on undisclosed and biased GSS and police intelligence materials as a basis for the warnings against the Arab elected representatives, whereas no such information was provided and/or requested by the Commission concerning any Jewish figures.

Result: The petition was dismissed. The Supreme Court, in a one and a half page decision, held that: the petition was submitted too late; that it should have been filed against the government and not the Commission, as it challenged the government-issued mandate; and that the Commission would guarantee that the warnings were based solely on disclosed materials. In its judgment, the Court failed to address several of the arguments raised by Adalah in the petition, namely that: the Commission has the power to request a change in mandate and that although Adalah asked the Commission to exercise this power, it chose not to do so without explanation; that the mandate was implemented in a discriminatory way; that the Commission itself issued several contradictory decisions regarding its use of undisclosed materials; and that the Commission will certainly be influenced by disclosed and undisclosed materials in the course of its investigation.

(H.C. 6342/02, MK 'Abd al-Malek Dahamshe, et. al. v. The Commission of Inquiry, decision delivered 4 August 2002).