Israel restricting freedom of expression, ACRI says

Association for Civil Rights in Israel report draws attention to illegal police practices with settlers, Palestinians, protesters.

December 4, 2011 09:36
1 minute read.
Social protesters [file].

Social protests yelling 521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Israel is restricting the right to freedom of expression among its citizens and Palestinians, according to a report published on Sunday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

Covering a wide range of topics, the "Snapshot" report draws attention to police efforts to limit freedom of expression among settlers, Palestinians, and the social justice protesters who took to the streets last summer. It mentions the officers' illegal practice of dispersing crowds while masked and without wearing identification tags.

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The document also censures new "anti-democratic legislation that threatens to limit the freedoms of the individual, in order to disrupt the activities of human rights organizations and threaten anyone giving criticism with litigation."

The association drew attention to conditions in Israel's prisons, explaining that detainees have been denied due process and inmates are not provided with their basic needs. Despite the legal requirement for police to avoid arresting minors whenever possible, the report read, it has  become the norm in certain areas.

According to ACRI director, Hagai Elad, "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."

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