The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has sent a letter to the IDF Military
Advocate- General (MAG) protesting the “closed military zone” orders that the
IDF personally served to activists this week in their homes.
a Tuesday night press release from ACRI, the orders suppress Palestinians’ and
Israelis’ right to protest, and violate their fundamental freedom of
The press release said that on Sunday, police officers from
the Judea and Samaria District had delivered the orders, which were signed by
the GOC Central Command and which declared the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, Nabi
Salih and Kafr Kaddum closed military zones on Fridays until March 2013 –
thereby prohibiting anyone aside from residents from entering or approaching
them during those times.
All of the listed villages are sites where
weekly demonstrations have taken place – and been violently dispersed by
security forces – regularly on Fridays for the past several years.
letter urged MAG Maj.- Gen. Danny Efroni to cancel the orders. It also called on
him to clarify the scope and basis of regulations and procedures of closed
military zone orders, since such orders could have the effect of suppressing
nonviolent protests in the West Bank.
The letter contends that the
disproportionate use of these orders contravenes the International Convention on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – to which Israel is a party – as well as
decisions of the Supreme Court, and the military’s own internal
Under each of these sources of law, ACRI said Israel was
obligated to balance the needs of security and preservation of public order
against freedom of expression, and argued that these orders violated that
In response, the IDF released a statement that the protests in
question regularly led to violations of public order and violence.
statement said the closed security zone orders were designed to preserve public
order and security in the West Bank. It noted that the orders only applied to
specific times during the week – namely part of the day Friday – and did not
limit the right to protest at all times.
According to the army, the
decision to serve the orders personally to some of the “regular leaders” of the
protests was meant as a step to put them on clearer notice that their actions
were leading to illegal situations.
The army emphasized that the orders
applied to the entire public and were not putting any special prohibition on the
persons to whom they were being served.