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Daily police violence is the new norm in Issawiya — with no end in sight

For the past six months, Israeli police have subjected Issawiya’s residents to daily raids, arrests and beatings, alongside constant drone surveillance. No one seems to know the goal of the operation – including the police.

In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, Monday evening looked like this: Border Police and riot police jeeps roving constantly; officers arresting a young Palestinian and beating his peers who try to protest; cops pepper-spraying an elderly man; and a police drone circling over people’s homes, reminding them who is watching them from above.

It was, relatively speaking, a “calm” evening, the latest in a police operation in the neighborhood that began six months ago. Its purpose is still unclear to residents, political activists, journalists — even some police officers.

I joined a group of Israeli activists who go to Issawiya every evening to show solidarity with its residents, in the hope that their presence and documentation of cops’ behavior will somewhat reduce the level of police violence. The Israelis team up with local activists to patrol the streets, in an effort to help residents go about their lives without being arrested or wounded.

Since the start of the operation in May, Issawiya has experienced daily and nightly police raids, searches, arrests and roadblocks. It is difficult to explain why the operation began then; there were no statements from the police about violent activity in or around the neighborhood in months prior.

In late June, police shot dead 20-year-old Mohammed Obeid. In August, a report in Haaretz revealed that police had planted a weapon in the home of a local resident for the purposes of an Israeli reality television show called “Jerusalem District.”

Toward the start of the school year, the local parents’ committee threatened to suspend the start of the semester in protest of the operation. The police arrested several committee members, but agreed that officers would refrain from entering Issawiya — an agreement they breached only a few days later.

In October, another Haaretz article reported that in footage from a police body camera, an officer stationed in Issawiya could be heard saying, “Our policy [here] is completely messed up.” His colleague replies that the aim of the operation is “to cause more problems.”

Last week, parents in the neighborhood suspended the semester after police arrested a student while he was in school,...

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Israel to release hunger-striking Jordanian national from admin detention

Heba Al-Labadi, a Jordanian national of Palestinian descent, has been on hunger strike for 41 days to protest her detention without indictment or trial. She was arrested by Israel while traveling from Jordan to a wedding in Jenin.

Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian descent, who has been on hunger strike for the past 41 days, will reportedly be released from Israeli administrative detention this week.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted that his country had reached an agreement with Israel for the release of Al-Labadi as well as of Abdul Rahman Miri, another Jordanian citizen in administrative detention. Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed the deal on Monday evening.

The decision comes on the heels of a global campaign by Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli activists to free al-Labadi, 24, who was detained by Israeli forces on August 20th at the Allenby Bridge crossing while traveling with her mother to a wedding in the West Bank. Her arrest was reportedly related to meetings she allegedly had with Hezbollah affiliates during a visit to Beirut, where she was visiting her sister.

Israel refused to indict Al-Labadi. Instead they put her in administrative detention, a practice Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and occasionally some Jews) without charge or trial — indefinitely. Administrative detention orders are reviewed every six months, but the detainees are not told of what crimes they are being accused or shown the evidence against them. Al-Labadi repeatedly rejected the accusations against her, and over the past few weeks, was transferred several times from Jalma Prison to the Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa for medical treatment.

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“The release of administrative detainees is unprecedented,” said Raslan Mahajne, Al-Labadi’s attorney. “The legal work, the public pressure, and the fact that the Jordanians recalled their ambassador [from Israel] to Amman helped win her release. And of course, Hiba’s resilience, as she continued her hunger strike despite the difficult conditions. She’s a hero. It’s not easy to hold on for more than 70 days in detention and interrogations, and more than 40 days on hunger strike.”

Mahjana said he visited Al-Labadi on Sunday and updated her on the protest campaign and the demonstrations for her release in Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel. “Despite trying to isolate her, I updated her about what is happening on the outside, in Ofer Military Court, and outside Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa where she was...

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'Want to know what I'm accused of? Me too.'

Hiba al-Labadi has been on hunger strike for 35 days after being imprisoned by Israel since August without trial. Now Palestinian and Israeli activists are trying to raise awareness about the case.

Palestinian and Israeli activists launched a viral campaign on Sunday demanding the release of a Jordanian citizen who has been on hunger strike for the past month after being imprisoned by Israel without trial since August.

Hiba al-Labadi, a 24-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian national, was detained by Israeli forces on August 20th at the Allenby Bridge border crossing while traveling from Jordan with her mother to a wedding in the West Bank city of Jenin. Her arrest was reportedly related to meetings she allegedly had with Hezbollah affiliates during a previous visit to Beirut, where she was visiting her sister.

Al-Labadi has been on hunger strike for 35 days.

On Sunday, activists in Israel launched a 30-hour long protest action in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square during which several women sat handcuffed to a chair inside a transparent box meant to resemble al-Labadi’s interrogation cell. The action caused passersby to stop and take photos of the display, with several of them calling the police to report an “elderly woman tied to a chair.” Two officers arrived on the scene to look into the complaints.

Administrative detention is a practice which Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and occasionally some Jews) without charge or trial — indefinitely. Administrative detention orders are reviewed every six months, but the detainees are not told of what crimes they are being accused or shown the evidence against them. The result is that it is virtually impossible to defend oneself against an administrative detention order.

“This is a young woman who has been imprisoned since August with no indictment and no one in Israel is talking about it,” said Sigal Avivi, a prominent political activist and one of the organizers of the initiative. According to Avivi, the activists decided to take action after reading about both the torture al-Labadi faced and harsh conditions in which she is being held. Avivi said al-Labadi’s arrest was also an opportunity to strengthen the protests against the practice of administrative detention. “We can no longer be silent. Time and time again we see Israel use this tool, which is in violation of international law.”

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Over the weekend, activists in Israel launched an internet campaign that included a photo of al-Labadi with...

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Police botched investigation into shooting of Arab MK, report finds

Human rights group demands Israel Police reopen its case into the 2017 shooting of Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet after finding the initial investigation was ‘negligent.’

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel is appealing Israel Police’s investigation of its officers’ conduct during a home demolition in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017, and requesting that they reopen the case. The appeal is based on a new report by an expert criminologist who found that police did not interrogate all officers who were carrying sponge-tipped bullets on site, and failed to thoroughly review their own footage of MK Ayman Odeh’s shooting.

In its letter to the Police Internal Investigations Department, the committee claims that the previous investigation was “a blunder.” It writes that police deliberately targeted the Joint List chairman, and therefore his shooting should be investigated “as a serious criminal offense.”

The 50-page document is based on materials that the Police Internal Investigations Department itself had collected, in addition to other publicly available evidence that police failed to look at. In one video, for example, a green dot appears on Odeh’s forehead — likely a laser beam used when aiming firearms at a target — moments before officers fired at him with a sponge-tipped bullet.

Odeh suffered minor wounds in his head and back as a result. He filed a complaint with the Police Internal Investigations Department, accusing the police of aggravated assault and unlawful use of a weapon, but the case was closed in September 2018. According to the police report: “Even with the assumption that the object that hit [Odeh] was fired by police, it could not be determined who of the officers had done so.”

In March, through the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Odeh appealed the closing of the case. Last month, after the committee received additional evidence, it filed their detailed investigative report as a supplement to the appeal.

“There are so many materials that the [police] didn’t use or check their relevance to the investigation, this is a serious problem,” said Dr. Ariel Livneh, the criminology expert who reviewed the case for the Public Committee Against Torture. “It’s akin to overlooking fingerprints on a knife at a murder scene. It’s such a gaffe, which itself requires reopening the case.”

In response to a request for comment, the Police Internal Investigations Department said: “An appeal was made in...

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Israel releases stateless Palestinian journalist it tried to deport

After nine months in detention and two failed deportation attempts, Israel releases East Jerusalem resident Mustafa al-Haruf. He has been living in Jerusalem for over 20 years, yet Israel refuses to grant him permanent status.

Journalist Mustafa al-Haruf, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, was released from Givon Prison on Thursday afternoon after nine months in detention. Waiting to greet him were his wife, young daughter, relatives, friends, and his lawyer.

“It’s good to be out,” said al-Haruf as he embraced his 2-year-old daughter. While he was in prison, he had only been able to see her through glass during visiting hours.

Al-Haruf’s wife, Tamam, who had been waiting outside for several hours, said: “We are happy that his imprisonment is finally over and Mustafa is free to return to his family. This whole period has been very difficult. We all suffered from his imprisonment, particularly his daughter. He cannot leave Jerusalem; it is the center of his life. How can he go to a foreign country? He has no other place to live.”

Al-Haruf was arrested in January from his East Jerusalem home and charged with illegal residency, even though he has lived in Jerusalem since the age of 12. He is married to an East Jerusalem resident, and his father was born in the city. During his imprisonment, the government tried unsuccessfully to have him deported to Jordan.

Last month, the custody review board at Givon Prison decided that al-Haruf would be released if the Interior Ministry failed to have him deported by Oct. 24. In his decision, Judge Raja Marzouk wrote: “I have not found that the deportation procedure is progressing significantly. The detention of the prisoner is not based on his behavior or on his conduct.” The judge added that the delay in releasing al-Haruf had been caused by Jordan’s refusal to take him in.

In his decision, the judge ordered al-Haruf to establish his legal status in East Jerusalem within 21 days, or leave the country. The ruling ignores the fact that al-Haruf cannot leave Israel, because he does not have legal status or residency in any other country.

On Wednesday evening, a few hours before his scheduled release from prison, the Interior Ministry submitted a request to delay it for another week, claiming that it was close to an agreement with...

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Settlers attack olive harvesters, Israeli volunteers in West Bank village

Masked settlers uproot olive trees, set groves ablaze, and beat several Israeli volunteers with stones and metal rods in the West Bank village of Burin.

Masked men from the settlement of Yitzhar wielding metal rods and stones attacked volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights, a human rights organization based in Israel, while they were picking olives alongside Palestinian farmers in the West Bank village of Burin on Wednesday. According to a spokesperson for the organization, settlers set fire to the olive groves, causing a blaze that spread rapidly and burned for hours.

Israeli volunteers have for years aided Palestinians in the Nablus area with the olive harvest, largely to protect them from settler attacks, which are common. The attack that occurred on Wednesday afternoon was particularly violent: a group of masked men uprooted olive trees, set the grove ablaze, and beat several of the volunteers bloody.

Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, a member of Rabbis for Human Rights’ board, was taken to Meir Medical Center after suffering severe wounds. He recounted the incident while lying on a gurney in an ambulance, as medics bandaged his head. One of the masked youths had hit him on the head with an iron rod, while another instructed him to leave. “I told them to leave me alone, that I am 80 years old and cannot run,” he said.

Avi Dabush, the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, said the incident highlighted the lawlessness in the West Bank, stressing that the volunteers would not be deterred from helping the Palestinian farmers as they harvest their olives. “For the last 17 years we have helped with the harvest, and we will continue to stand up against violent bullies,” he said, adding that this was the only way toward a peaceful joint future between Jews and Arabs living on the land.

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AFP reported that Israel sent fire extinguishing planes to extinguish the fire set by the settlers. Researchers for Israeli human rights group Yesh Din estimate that the blaze consumed hundreds of acres of farmland in Burin and Huwara, both villages in the Nablus area.

The Rabbis for Human Rights spokesperson said that a group of settlers had threatened the farmers earlier in the week, threatening to beat them and vandalize their crops. The army has failed to protect the farmers from settler attacks, he noted. Israel’s occupation policies often prevent Palestinians...

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Climate activists block Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest gov't inaction

Activists from Extinction Rebellion glue themselves to the doors of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to protest Israeli corporations profiting from global warming.

Dozens of Israeli climate activists blocked the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday morning to demand that financial institutions move toward green and sustainable investments. They called upon the Israeli government to join a host of nations that have already declared a climate emergency.

The activists are affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, an international civil disobedience group that seeks to force government action on climate breakdown.

“This is a time of introspection,” said an activist named Tamir, referring to the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins on Tuesday at sundown. “In our financial system, the rule of capital works day in and day out; it does not rest. We are here to change the system so that it promotes life.”

Dana, one of several activists who glued their hands to the door of the stock exchange, said: “These companies are destroying our planet — we must start investing in life.”

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The demonstrators blocked the entrance of the stock exchange until around noon, by which time riot police had dispersed them. They then marched down Rothschild Boulevard, where many of Israel’s most powerful financial institutions maintain their headquarters.

Activists at the protest said that the Israeli government and financial institutions have ignored the climate crisis completely. Meanwhile, in September nearly 80 countries pledged at the U.N. Climate Change Summit to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, while that same month 130 global financial firms agreed to align their business practices with efforts to address climate change. A year ago, Bill Gates and some of his fellow billionaires established a $1 billion foundation to fund radical energy startups that aspire to cut global emissions drastically.

Last month, thousands of people in Tel Aviv joined the Global Climate Strike, demanding that their government follow the example set by the U.K., France, and Canada in declaring a climate emergency. This means acting immediately to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, transition into a sustainable and green economy, take steps to limit the animal product industry, and prepare for the damage that is already being caused by climate change.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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Top court puts end to Palestinian poet's four-year legal saga

Dareen Tatour was arrested after the security services decided her poetry constituted ‘incitement.’ After nearly three years under house arrest, a trial, and jail time, she is finally free.

Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet arrested in 2015 over a poem she published on Facebook, is finally free. After years of house arrest, months in prison, and dogged efforts by the government to secure the maximum conviction possible, the Supreme Court last week rejected the state’s petition to restore her overturned conviction for incitement to violence. With that, Tatour’s legal ordeal came to an end, more than four years after it began.

Tatour’s poem was published at the height of Palestinian protests across Israel and the West Bank and during a wave of so-called lone-wolf stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians, largely in Jerusalem and Hebron. Following her arrest, which saw police storming her house in the middle of the night, Tatour was imprisoned for three months, then released and put under house arrest pending trial, a wait lasting nearly three years. She was forbidden from using the internet, the phone, or any other means of communication.

In 2018, Tatour was tried, convicted of incitement to violence and support for terrorism, and sentenced. She served 42 additional days in prison, but appealed her conviction in January of this year and won a reduced sentence. In July, the state contested the decision, leading the Supreme Court to finally draw a line under the affair on Sept. 26.

Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represented Tatour, said that the state’s attempt to appeal a reduced sentence for a poet spoke to its inability to accept the basic democratic principle of freedom of expression. The efforts to taint her poetry as a criminal act were now at an end, Lasky declared.

Judge Yosef Elron wrote in his decision that the court would not hear further attempts to appeal Tatour’s reduced sentence. Elon stressed that contrary to the state’s claims, the District Court did not give Tatour any special treatment because she was a poet.

The state, in its failed appeal to the Supreme Court, claimed that even if Tatour’s poem did not constitute clear incitement to terrorism, it indirectly encouraged violent acts. “The court’s complete failure to recognize this possibility is likely to transmit the wrong message to extremists who write social media posts that are meant as incitement … under the guise of ‘poet,’ ‘writer,’ ‘journalist,’ ‘singer,’...

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Israeli citizens are driving Bedouin voters to the polls in droves

After the Central Elections Committee banned a civil society group from busing Bedouin voters to the polls, dozens of Israelis are stepping in to ensure all citizens have a chance to participate in the elections.

Between Netanyahu’s rabid anti-Arab incitement and credible rumors of Election Day violence, concerns about voter suppression in Israel are at an all-time high. Several civil society organizations are taking pre-emptive action.

Dozens of private citizens have volunteered to drive Bedouin residents of remote, so-called unrecognized Bedouin villages to the polling stations to vote during Tuesday’s election. The grassroots initiative sprang up in response to a ruling handed down on Sunday by the Central Elections Committee, which ordered Zazim, an Israeli grassroots organizing group akin to MoveOn, to halt its plan to bus Bedouin voters to polling stations. Likud party lawyers objected to the plan, arguing to the Committee that it was a partisan attempt to sway the election results.

The volunteer drivers said that they are not connected to any organization.

Approximately 50,000 eligible voters live in remote, unrecognized Bedouin villages that have no access to public transportation. Many of them live miles from the nearest polling station.

A hotline to prevent voter intimidation

Netanyahu’s anti-Arab rabble-rousing has led to concerns that his supporters will attempt to intimidate voters at polling booths in Arab communities within Israel. Accordingly, several civil society groups have planned Election Day initiatives to ensure that voting goes smoothly and with maximum transparency.

Zazim will run an Election Day hotline with Arabic-speaking volunteers on the phone to take reports of voter intimidation attempts. Attorneys with Adalah — the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel will provide legal advice to hotline callers, while additional volunteers will coordinate the reports in a situation room and issue immediate responses.

 

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A Zazim spokesperson said the organization was concerned about attempts to disrupt the election in light of voter intimidation attempts last April, with news outlets reporting on Election Day that Likud-aligned polling station staffers in Arab towns had been caught wearing hidden cameras. As a result of those reports, Arab voter turnout was the lowest in decades.

Recently, new reports emerged that polling booth staffers might try to impose a body search on veiled women, using security concerns as an excuse. This would surely result in many Arab-Muslim women choosing not to vote, rather than being forced...

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For Jerusalem police, even directing traffic is a form of terrorism

One of East Jerusalem’s most prominent political activists was arrested for supporting terrorism — while trying to solve a traffic jam in his own neighborhood.

Israeli police arrested a well-known Palestinian activist in East Jerusalem earlier this week, accusing him of encouraging drivers to run over Israeli officers while he directed traffic in his neighborhood.

Muhammad Abu Hummus, one of the most prominent activists in Issawiya who has been documenting the daily police incursions into the neighborhood over the last several months, was arrested on Sunday after uploading a video of himself guiding a Palestinian driver through a traffic jam.

Abu Hummus was brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where police representatives told the judge that he had encouraged the driver to run them over. In the video, Abu Hummus can be heard helping to direct traffic in the middle of Issawiya as police officers look on. When a reluctant Palestinian driver approaches, Abu Hummus can be heard telling her “id’asi,” the Arabic equivalent of “keep driving.” However, to most Jewish Israelis, it sounds similar to the Hebrew word “tidresi,” which means “to run over.” Abu Hummus was arrested four days after the video was uploaded to Facebook.

The court released Abu Hummus a day after his arrest. The police appealed the decision to the Jerusalem District Court, which extended his remand until Tuesday afternoon and ordered him to stay away from the neighborhood for 15 days. Abu Hummus has been sleeping in a gas station at the entrance to Issawiya since.

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Despite what the police claim, the video shows that the officers present were not in danger, did not respond directly to Abu Hummus as he spoke in Arabic to the driver, and did not arrest him on the spot. The minutes of his hearings reveal that the police had other motives for the arrest.

“He appears at every disturbance or whenever police officers arrive in Issawiya. He agitates and taunts the police. All the officers know him,” police representative Haitham Trody told the District Court judge on Monday. “We arrested him because he is not a force for good in Issawiya,” said another police representative.

Michal Peleg, an activist with...

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Queer Palestinian community holds 'historic' protest against LGBT violence

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Haifa on Thursday to protest against LGBT violence, following the stabbing of a transgender Arab teen. ‘The protest represents a voice calling for liberation without restraints – not of the occupiers, and not of the patriarchy.’

The queer Palestinian community organized an unprecedented protest in Haifa on Thursday, as approximately 200 demonstrators arrived at the German Colony, a central area in the city, to protest violence targeting the LGBT community.

The protest was organized in response to the stabbing of a transgender teen from Tamra, a Palestinian city in northern Israel, outside a shelter for LGBT youth in Tel Aviv last week.

The protest was planned by a group of more than 30 organizations, including alQaws, a civil society group advocating for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society; Aswat, a feminist queer movement for sexual and gender freedom for Palestinian women; and Adalah, the legal center for the protection of Palestinian rights in Israel. “We reject and condemn the stabbing of the Tamra teen on the basis of his sexual and gender orientation,” they wrote in a statement released before the protest.

Demonstrators waved pride flags alongside flags representing the transgender community and Palestinian flags. They held signs saying: “Queers against violence and sexual harassment,” and “Silence kills. It’s time we raise our voices.”

“This is a historic moment,” said Widad Assaf, a Palestinian activist at the protest. “Violence against LGBT people occurs all the time, but it took time for people to take to the streets. We hope this won’t stop here,” she added.

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“This is the first-ever protest of the queer Palestinian movement, based on the principles of an intersectional struggle between queer-Palestinian struggles and struggles against the occupation,” said Rula Khalaileh, an organizer with the “Women Against Violence” organization. “The protest represents a voice calling for liberation without restraints – not of the occupiers, and not of the patriarchy. It’s important to show support for all LGBT Palestinians.”

“I am pleased with the turnout,” said Jawarah, an activist with the LGBT community. This is the first time that the queer Palestinian community goes out to protest in his 10 years of organizing for LGBT rights, he said....

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Jordan turns back stateless Palestinian journalist Israel tried to deport

Israel attempted to deport Mustafa al-Haruf, a stateless Palestinian photographer from East Jerusalem, to Jordan without any coordination. Al-Haruf has been living in the country for over 20 years, yet Israel refuses to grant him permanent status.

Jordanian authorities refused to accept a stateless Palestinian journalist from East Jerusalem whom Israel tried to deport to the Hashemite Kingdom earlier this week.

Mustafa Al-Haruf, a 33-year-old Palestinian photojournalist who lives in Jerusalem, does not hold any status or citizenship in Jordan.

Israel claims that because he holds a Jordanian travel document, a special passport given to many Palestinians, he can be deported there.

After Israel’s High Court rejected a request for an additional injunction against his deportation last week, the Interior Ministry tried to send Al-Haruf to Jordan on Sunday night, after which his attorney was unable to locate him.

Only on Tuesday, when his attorney finally managed to get ahold of him, did al-Harouf tell her he had been taken to the Ben Gurion Airport, and a few hours later to the border with Jordan near Eilat.

“They left him in the Jordanian crossing without any coordination [with the other side] while handing his passport to a stunned Jordanian police officer,” the attorney, Adi Lustigman said. “The Jordanians opposed the deportation and told him he was a Palestinian and cannot enter Jordan.”

She added that Al-Haruf, who had been waiting at the Jordan-Israel crossing for several hours until his return, said that he had not been given food and had been left in the sun for a long time.

After the incident was widely reported in the Jordanian media, Israel tried to deport him a second time but Jordan refused to take him again. Israeli authorities brought him back to the Givon Prison in Ramle on Tuesday evening.

Al-Haruf, who has worked as a photographer in Jerusalem over the last several years, was born in Algeria but has lived with his family in East Jerusalem since he was 12 years old. For some 20 years, he was granted work visas that were renewed periodically. Over the last few years, he has been working as a photojournalist for the Turkish Anadolu Agency. Before that he worked as an independent photographer, focusing on clashes in the Old City, specifically around Al-Aqsa Compound.

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Al-Haruf is married to a Palestinian woman with residency in Jerusalem, with...

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Israel fights to reinstate Palestinian poet's conviction

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour sat in prison for a poem she published on Facebook. After an Israeli court ruled that the poem does not constitute incitement to violence, the prosecution is now appealing the partial reversal of her conviction.

Israel’s state prosecution is trying to appeal the partial reversal of the conviction of Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet found guilty of incitement to violence over a poem she published on Facebook in 2015.

The prosecution submitted a formal request two weeks ago to appeal the decision, which was handed down by the Nazareth District Court in May, to the Supreme Court. The District Court accepted in May that the poem in question, “Resist My People, Resist Them,” published on Tatour’s personal Facebook page, did not constitute incitement despite the discomfort it might cause the public, while also recognizing her as a poet.

Meanwhile, the court let stand her conviction over two other social media posts, which included support for Islamic Jihad, a proscribed group.

Following the prosecution’s submission, Tatour launched an online petition asking the general public for support in the next stage of her legal battle. The petition asks for the public’s signatures “as a sign of popular and societal resistance against oppression and silencing. Do not let it happen that once again the State of Israel accomplishes to criminalize not only myself but Palestinian voices and narratives in general.”

The prosecution submitted its request at the beginning of the month and Tatour’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, has until July 22 to respond, after which the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the state’s appeal. The prosecution claims that although the poem may not be a “direct call” for violent actions and terrorism, it stills contains an indirect call for violence. The appeal will also challenge the District Court’s recognition of Tatour as a poet.

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According to the request, the “complete disregard of the District Court of this possibility is liable to send the wrong message to extremists, who may post incitement online… under the guise of being a ‘poet,’ ‘author,’ ‘journalist,’ ‘singer,’ and/or any other title.”

The prosecution had initially attempted to prove that Tatour is an influential poet and thus her writing could be deemed a danger, although it now claims that Tatour is not a poet at all, and thus the freedom of expression generally extended to artists should not be...

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