Haifa District Court Releases Iqrit Youth Detainees

Attorney Mahameed: \"Those who \'trespassed\' on privately owned land, and tried to confiscate private property without a court order or any legal authority, are the inspectors of the Israel Land Authority.\"

On 10 June 2014, following Adalah’s appeal, the Haifa District Court ordered the release on bail of youth activist Nidal Khoury. On 9 June 2014, the Krayot Magistrates' Court decided to extend his detention for three days; the District Court’s ruling overturns that of the lower court. The District Court also accepted the appeals by private defense attorneys Mo'nes Khoury and Kamil Odeh for the two other youth activists, Walaa' Sbait and Jeries Khayyat and ordered their release on bail; in these cases, the court overturned the lower court’s decision placing them under house arrest. The court also cancelled the lower court’s decision preventing their return to the village for 60 days. The youth announced that they were heading back to Iqrit immediately after the detention hearing.

In response to the Court's decision, Adalah Attorney Aram Mahameed, who represented Nidal Khoury, stated that, "there was no justification for the arrest of the youth activists, and therefore there is no reason for extending their detention and subjecting them to restrictive conditions. The land on which the youth stayed is church-owned land, and therefore all claims made by the police that the youth trespassed on land that is not their own are false. Those who 'trespassed' on privately owned land, and tried to confiscate private property without a court order or any legal authority, are the inspectors of the Israel Land Authority.”

The police charged the three youth activists with trespassing on property owned by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and with obstructing the work of public employees. The police also charged one of the youth with assaulting a public employee, and charged another with threatening a public employee. The police issued the charges after ILA officials forcefully entered Iqrit, destroyed the tents and shacks built by the youths, and confiscated the youths’ belongings, although they entered Iqrit and the area without an evacuation permit.


The three protestor/detainees are part of a community of Palestinian descendants of displaced residents from Iqrit, a Palestinian village in the north of Israel that was forcibly depopulated by the Israeli military in 1948. Despite a Supreme Court ruling in 1951 that ordered the state to allow the displaced residents to return to their homes, the state destroyed all the buildings in the village, except for the church and cemetery, and refused to allow the villagers to resettle on their land. Since August 2012, the village’s youth have returned to Iqrit and remained on their ancestral land, demanding that their right to return and to live in their village be recognized and fulfilled.

Read more:

The Iqrit Community Association Website 

Adalah's PR, "Court extends detention of three youths from destroyed village of Iqrit following raid and assaults by ILA officials", 09 June 2014


Adalah PR, “Ambassadors and diplomats visit depopulated Palestinian village of Iqrit in Israel”, 15 May 2013