Report says Israel restricts expression

Dec. 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Israel restricts freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate, a report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says.

Published Sunday ahead of International Human Rights day on Dec. 10, the annual Snapshot report dubbed "Human Rights in Israel -- Update 2011," covers a wide array of topics -- from claims of police efforts to limit freedom of expression among Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank to the recent wave of social justice protests that occurred in the country in the summer.

Despite regulations requiring police to wear identity badges at all times, officers refrained from wearing them when confronting Israeli or Palestinian protesters in Israel or the West Bank, the report says. The report cited examples such as protesters demonstrating the demolishing of houses who were dispersed in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah or when police served evictions notices in Sheikh Jarrah or evacuated settlers at the illegal outpost at the Gilad Farm, the report says. The report also claims in areas in the West Bank where the Israeli Army is deployed all forms of protest are banned.

The report addresses prison conditions in Israel particularly those of Palestinians arrested in the West Bank, noting "due process is not guaranteed " not only to them but also to asylum seekers, refugees and non-Israelis incarcerated in Israel. The report also claims inmates are not provided with their basic needs.

The report also refers to the wave of social justice protests in Israel over the summer, the erosion of social rights and attempts to violate the freedom of speech of the protesters. Many of those arrested by police were set free after they agreed not to participate in further protests, the report says.

"Last summer, we saw more and more how citizens are seeking to become active partners in shaping reality, in order to actualize human rights and social justice in Israel. We hope that the 'Snapshot' report will inspire public discussion and will help to bring the desired change," Hagai Elad, the organization's director was quoted saying in the report.

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