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A village and a detainee

This month's newsletter highlights two seemingly unrelated cases: that of the villages of Atir & Umm el-Hieran, and the secret arrest of our colleague, journalist Majd Kayyal. The two cases are linked by an unsettling point: through arbitrary and sweeping ways, Israel can use its wide powers in the law to make Palestinians invisible. With this power, a journalist can be hidden in the Shabak’s cellars and lose all contact with the outside world, and an entire village can be erased to establish a new Jewish town in its place. This “invisibility cloak”, unlike what we recall from children's stories, is a dangerous tool when used as part of the state’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.


For over 10 years, the Arab Bedouin residents of Atir-Umm el-Hieran, twin unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev), have challenged the Israeli government’s efforts to demolish their homes and evict them from their land. Adalah is representing the villagers before Israeli courts and planning committees and has managed to delay this mass displacement, but the villagers know that time is running out. 

Today, on 30 April 2014, the Be’er Sheva District Court will hold a hearing on an appeal to decide whether to uphold or cancel 19 eviction orders against the villagers. In the appeal, Adalah is challenging state plans that would allow Israel to forcibly remove Arab Bedouin citizens from their homes in order to establish a town for Jewish citizens called “Hiran”, and to expand a Jewish National Fund (JNF)-sponsored forest called “Yatir”. Share their story and join their struggle.


The arrest and incommunicado detention of Adalah's web editor and journalist Majd Kayyal following his return from the 40th anniversary conference of As-Safir newspaper in Lebanon is stirring up renewed conversation about secret arrests in Israel. Israeli law grants the courts and the General Security Service (GSS, Shabak) the authority to impose conditions and engage in practices that strip the detainee of his or her rights to a fair due process. These practices include the imposition of sweeping gag orders, the prohibition on meeting with legal counsel, the use of secret evidence, and exemption from audio and video recordings of interrogations. Together these practices amount to “secret arrests” and recall the practices of history's dark regimes. 
Copyright © 2014 Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, All rights reserved.

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