Israeli police fold after Adalah intervention, will allow Palestinian protest in Lod to take place as planned

Arab residents of central city plan Friday protest after Lod police commander ordered demolition of Arab-owned home despite court-ordered delay.

Israeli police folded today Wednesday, 28 November 2018, following a legal intervention by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and went back on their decision to place restrictions on the location of a protest by Palestinian residents of Lod planned for Friday.


The pre-petition was filed by Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher on behalf of Tayseer Sha'aban, chairman of the Lod Popular Committee, who yesterday requested a permit for a demonstration from the Israeli police.


The demonstration, slated to take place this Friday between 12:30 and 15:00, is intended to protest a decision by Lod police commander Shimon Dahan the demolish the home of local Arab resident Omar Sha'aban, a citizen of Israel. Dahan ordered the demolition of the home despite a decision by Lod District Court to delay the demolition, and despite the fact that some 20 minutes before the demolition, Sha'aban's lawyer informed Dahan of this court order.


Lod police commander Dahan nevertheless ordered the demolition. Officers under his command employed violence against local residents and arrested several Arab residents during the demolition.


In order to protest the demolition and police violence, organizers sought a permit to march from the Al Amuri Mosque, along Golomb and Katzenelson streets, and from there to the parking lot opposite the city's police station.


Later that same day, Lod police responded by informing Tayseer Sha'aban that they refused to grant permission to hold a march "due to concerns about disturbing public order and harming the fabric of life."


Police instead approved an alternate "protest in the municipal market adjacent to the mosque" by no more than 500 participants, as requested by organizers.


The alternate location approved by the police was not suitable for an effective protest, however, since the municipal market area adjacent to the mosque is hidden from the public eye and can accommodate only 150 people.


This alternative would have limited the participation of hundreds of residents who wish to express legitimate protest against the decision of the Lod police commander Dahan to demolish the house in contempt of the court decision.


"Their right to protest will be completely eviscerated" by the police restrictions, Attorney Zaher wrote in the objection.


Zaher emphasized that the protest route sought by the People's Committee is the same route used for protests over the years by Jewish and Arab residents alike, and there is no legitimate reason to now place restrictions on protests along this route.


The restrictions imposed by police on the expression of a legitimate political opinion are illegal and violate the rights of citizens to freedom of assembly and political expression, Adalah stressed.


Following Adalah's intervention, the police retracted their decision and announced at noon today that they would permit the protest march to proceed as organizers had planned.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s pre-petition [Hebrew]


(Photo by Mati Milstein)