ACRI in the News: August 2012


Justice Ministry Regulation Would Prevent Stateless Persons from Filing Suit

Justice Ministry to review new regulations that may ban Palestinians, migrants from filing suits in Israeli courts – August 7, 2012 (Haaretz)

The Justice Ministry will reexamine the wording of new regulations it has issued barring individuals without a passport or ID card from filing lawsuits in Israeli courts.

Attorney Oded Feller of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel warned Neeman the regulations will immediately deprive Palestinian residents of the territories, migrant workers and stateless individuals who have no passports the right to file claims in Israeli courts.

Feller said “technical matters become fundamental when they specify explicitly who will not be able to file claims in court.”


Refugees and Asylum Seekers Entering Israel

IDF entering Egypt to stop entry of asylum seekers – August 11, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

IDF soldiers are entering Egyptian territory to detain asylum-seekers and turn them over to Egyptian authorities before they enter Israel, according to a report released on Friday.

In a press release sent out on Friday, Israeli NGOs said they feared this report may indicate a new form of “hot returns,” in which the IDF returns illegal migrants to Egypt shortly after they are caught in Israel. The NGOs said if this is the case it would constitute a violation of the international obligations which ban returning people to countries where they could face persecution.

Rights groups: IDF catching African migrants inside Egyptian territory – August 10 2012 (Haaretz)

The report, published by Amnesty International and several Israeli groups, including Hotline for Migrant Workers and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said that Israeli soldiers have entered several hundred meters into Egyptian territory to catch migrants and hand them over to Egyptian police.

Eli Yishai orders mass roundup of Sudanese migrants, including Darfur genocide survivors – August 29, 2012 (Haaretz)

“Only a man who has lost all human image can impose the wicked choice on asylum-seekers and their children − to risk their life in returning [to their country] or be imprisoned for years,” said attorney Oded Feller of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

Rights groups slam ‘cruel’ plan to detain Sudanese – August 30, 2012 (Ynet)

Yishai stressed that he plans to use all of his “clout” to obtain the legal authorization to detain and then deport African infiltrators.

Attorney Oded Feller, who heads the immigration and status division at the Association for Human Rights in Israel, accused the authorities of inhumanity.

“If Israel could send people back to Sudan, it would have done it a long time ago,” he said. “The reason why asylum seekers – including survivors of the genocide in Darfur – have yet to be deported to Sudan is that there is no practical way to return there from Israel; those who do return face danger.


Police and General Security Services Misconduct


Israel High Court denies bid to probe alleged torture by Shin Bet – August 7, 2012 (Haaretz)

The High Court of Justice has denied two petitions to instruct Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to launch a criminal investigation into every complaint about the Shin Bet over torture or abuse of suspects during interrogation.

In its ruling this week, the court authorized a preliminary examination procedure into complaints against the Shin Bet, to be carried out by a state official in charge of complaints by Shin Bet interrogation subjects.

The petitions were submitted last year by human rights groups including the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The NGOs had slammed the way the state prosecutor’s official in charge of handling such complaints had determined whether to open criminal investigations of Shin Bet interrogators.

Rights group seeks to reopen files involving illegal Israel Police conduct in East Jerusalem – August 13, 2012 (Haaretz)

The family filed a claim with the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers, but after about six months, the department announced it was closing the file against them due to lack of culpability.

But according to Nisreen Alyan, an attorney for ACRI, the very act of taking a 7-year-old boy from his parents is a violation of the law.  “The facts are not in dispute: Detaining a 7-year-old without his parents while using force; firing crowd-dispersal equipment directly at a person at close range and in a building; hitting someone with a rifle butt; and spraying pepper spray against regulations are all serious criminal violations, and they are backed by medical documentation. All these must be taken into account,” she wrote in her appeal.


Unrecognized Bedouin Villages to be Destroyed, Jewish Villages to be Built


ACRI petition: Stop destruction of Beduin villages – August 14, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and several other rights groups petitioned the High Court Tuesday to stop the government’s plan to build seven new Jewish towns in the northern Negev, destroying five existing Beduin villages in the process.
The leading lawyer for ACRI on the petition, Rawia Aburabia, said that if Israel wants to show it is committed to equality among its citizens, it cannot carry out such a program.
“A country that is committed to equality among its citizens cannot decide to remove Beduin communities in order to establish new communities for Jewish residents,” said Aburabia. “Behind the words ‘vision’ and ‘making a wasteland blossom’ hides a simple truth, which is the continuation of blatant discrimination between Beduin and Jews.”

Israeli rights groups ask court to stop razing of Bedouin villages – August 15, 2012 (Global News)

The petition is spearheaded by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and is aimed at averting the construction of agricultural settlements in the area of Mevo’ot Arad, in the Negev.

Occupation from within: the Arab Bedouin in Israel – August 31, 2012 (The New Statesman)

Arab Bedouin have been inhabitants of the Naqab desert since the seventh century but have faced a state policy of displacement for over 60 years. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s. The state of Israel considers the villages “unrecognized” and the inhabitants “trespassers on State land,” so denies access to state infrastructure to “encourage” the Bedouin to give up their land and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.

According to Rawia Aburabia of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, “the attempt to enshrine the Prawer Plan into law is a farce… it is a step that takes us back to the military regime.”


Privatization of Public Hospital in Ashdod Allowed – ACRI Penalized by Court


Despite protests, new Israeli hospital in Ashdod will offer private medical treatment – August 16, 2012 (Haaretz)

The court denied a petition submitted in March by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights and the Adva Center against permission given Assuta Medical Centers to operate private medical services in the hospital it is building in Ashdod. Supreme Court President Asher Grunis even fined the petitioners NIS 45,000.

NGOs shocked by High Court’s imposition of NIS 45,000 in court costs – August 17, 2012 (Haaretz)

Civil rights and social advocacy groups are reeling from the High Court of Justice’s decision Wednesday to impose NIS 45,000 in court expenses – a startlingly large sum – on petitioners in a healthcare case.

Attorney Dan Yakir of ACRI said that until this week, the association had only been charged court expenses once in its 30 years of activity. That was in 1989, when the association represented a private petitioner whose petition was denied. This week’s petition, on the other hand, was public, Yakir noted.

Israel’s High Court waving a ‘black flag’ over rights groups’ petitions, experts say – August 20, 2012 (Haaretz)

For his part, Dan Yakir, ACRI’s legal adviser and one of Israel’s leading human rights lawyers, emphasizes that in contrast with other petitioners, a public body that submits a petition to the High Court has no ax to grind and is interested only in correcting social injustice.

“The court should not punish a public body for bringing an issue to its attention which it must address, even if the petition is later rejected,” Yakir says. “The imposition of heavy court costs on public groups … has a doubly negative effect. First, most rights groups have a limited budget that has been adversely affected by the financial situation in recent years. The need to allocate funds to cover court costs will undermine their ongoing activities. Second, the trend could have a deterrent effect and might reduce the number of public petitions and number of cases of social injustice brought before the courts.”

High Court rejects claim, fines ACRI 45,000 NIS – August 20, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

In its petition to the High Court, ACRI argued that equal medical care for all of the state’s citizens was a fundamental right, and that providing different levels of care at a state subsidized medical center violated those basic rights. The state paid over NIS 400 million – well over half the cost of establishing the medical center.

ACRI: South losing doctors to private medicine – August 30, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

ACRI said that dozens of reception hours by doctors at public facilities have been “shifted” to private medical institutions – and this is five years before Assuta Medical Centers will open a public hospital in Ashdod where the government has agreed to allow private medical services (known as Sharap).
“It is important to separate public from private medical services and limit private care,” said Shlomit Avni of ACRI.

Ministry okays rise in health fund copayments – August 30, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel denounced the ministry for the increase in co-payments. While the health funds are entitled to higher compensation for their services, ACRI said, state allocations for health continue to decline and are way below average rates of the OECD.

The government must cover the costs of higher co-payments, ACRI said. Many low-income patients are unable to purchase medications and vital medical services and decide to forgo them, making them more ill, ACRI concluded.


Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality Votes Not to Include Arabic in City Logo


 A quiet lynch in Tel Aviv-Jaffa – August 24, 2012 (Haaretz)

One lynching is not like the other, there’s no comparison: One took place in the city square and the other in the city council; one was violent and committed by the rabble, the other was quiet and cultured. But behind both of them stands the same wish: Get rid of those Arabs.

And this is what former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak wrote (in Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel vs. the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality ): “Other languages are not like Arabic. Arabic is the language of the largest minority in Israel; it has been here for a very long time … It is the language of citizens who, despite the Arab-Israeli conflict, want to live in Israel as loyal citizens with equal rights, with respect shown for their language and culture.”


Rights of Children in the Occupied Territories


Children on front line in the West Bank  August 27 2012 (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sixteen-year-old Anan Tamimi has been arrested three times by the Israel Defence Forces, and released each time without charge. He lives in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, where there are weekly clashes between the army and residents, who are protesting against attempts by Israelis from the Halamish settlement and its outposts to take over the al-Qawas Spring and the surrounding land.

Two human rights organisations – B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel – have consistently expressed grave concerns about the behaviour of the IDF at al-Nabi Saleh.


East Jerusalem: Failing Schools, Poverty, and Restricted Freedom of Movement


Israel closes key Jerusalem checkpoint, limiting Palestinian residents’ access – August 27, 2012 (Haaretz)

The Defense Ministry is planning to seal up the Ras Khamis checkpoint, one of the only two exits into Israel for the 65,000 Palestinian residents of the Shoafat refugee camp in northeast Jerusalem.

As a result, on Sunday, ACRI wrote a sharply worded letter to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, to the Civil Administration officers responsible for the area and other officials, demanding that the move not be made without meeting the High Court’s requirements.

“Closing the Ras Khamis checkpoint at this time, before you have met your obligations with regarding to the [central] Shoafat refugee camp checkpoint, will constitute a serious, disproportionate blow to the population’s freedom of movement, which is dependent on crossing that checkpoint,” wrote Nisreen Alyan, an attorney for ACRI.

Civil rights groups charge officials don’t have handle on East Jerusalem school rolls – August 28, 2012 (Times of Israel)

“The Jerusalem Municipality and the Education Ministry must urgently enhance their investment in education in East Jerusalem,” said ACRI’s Nisreen Alyan. “The High Court has given them five years to bridge the gap in classrooms and if this is not done, the authorities will be obliged to pay tuition instead of the parents. A third of the timeframe provided by the court has passed, and at this rate we will be obliged to go back to the courts.”

Barkat dedicates Arab kindergarten amid criticism – August 28, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat dedicated a new special-needs kindergarten in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Monday amid criticism that east Jerusalem lacks well over 1,000 classrooms.

In a scathing report, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Ir Amim said that despite municipal efforts, the gaps between east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem schools are staggering.

Report: 40% of east J’lem seniors drop out of school – August 28, 2012 (Ynet)

No student registration, high dropout rates, overcrowded classes and slow construction of new classrooms – these are only some of the failures characterizing the east education system, a report published Tuesday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Ir Amim organization suggests.

 According to the report, the dropout rate among senior high school students studying in east Jerusalem is 40%, while 17.3% of all students between grades 7-12 discontinue their studies.

Isawiya students strike over classroom deficit – August 30, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

According to Darwaish Darwish, the community mukhtar, or elected leader, the neighborhood is missing 20 classrooms for an estimated 800 students.

n a scathing report released this week, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Ir Amim said that despite municipal efforts, the gaps between east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem schools are staggering.  According to their estimates, east Jerusalem is missing an estimated 1,100 classrooms.

Poverty – or not – August 19, 2012 (Jerusalem Post)

According to the latest report on poverty for 2010 issued by the National Insurance Institute, based on information provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics, poverty among residents of east Jerusalem is very high and getting worse.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel condemned Israeli policies; Mayor Nir Barkat tried to explain this as a result of social and educational problems in the Arab sector. Unfortunately, however, no one challenged the report itself.

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, Child Rights, Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Due Process, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Movement, Housing Rights, Impact of Settlements, Land Distribution and Planning Rights, Migrant Workers, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages, Planning and Building Rights, Police and Security Guards, Privatization, Racism and Discrimination, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers, Right to Education, Social and Economic Rights, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Education, The Right to Equality, The Right to Health, The Right to Property, Use of Force

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