Court security threw residents of south Tel Aviv out of a High Court of Justice
hearing on Wednesday, after they disturbed the proceedings by yelling at Supreme
Court President Asher D. Grunis, said a south Tel Aviv NGO.
The NGO – the
Israeli Immigration Policy Center – said the residents had shouted angrily at
Grunis for postponing their petition to prevent African migrants who had been
released from detention from returning to south Tel Aviv.
spokesman denied that anyone had been singled out for removal from the hearing,
insisting that the yelling had occurred after the hearing’s conclusion, as the
justices were already leaving, and that standard courtroom practice was to ask
all parties to leave the room so it could be closed.
However, the NGO
said that security had been called to the scene especially and had clearly
escorted the south Tel Aviv residents out.
In a video of the residents
just outside the courtroom, one could see a resident hysterically questioning
court security about how she would be safe, and demanding to see
Rather than ruling separately on the residents’ petition, Grunis
had decided to consolidate it with another petition that had already been
That petition calls to declare the recently passed new migrant
policy – which entails indefinite confinement in an “open” detention center in
the Negev, among other things – unconstitutional.
Now there will be a
single hearing to argue and decide both the question of the new policy’s
constitutionality (which pro-migrant groups are pressing) and the question of
whether the released migrants can return to south Tel Aviv, where the largest
number of them currently reside (an issue that the anti-migrant, pro-residents
camp is pressing). The timing of that hearing has yet to be
“Unfortunately the High Court thinks that the suffering of
the south Tel Aviv residents is not important or pressing enough for its own
hearing,” said Orli Yugir, head of the NGO.
During Wednesday’s hearing,
the state and the residents debated whether it was legal and practical to
prohibit the migrants from residing in a specific area, such as southern Tel
The residents said such a prohibition would empower police to
arrest migrants and improve enforcement in the neighborhood.
the state said that the prohibition seemed impractical and that in any event,
the new policy was addressing the residents’ concerns.
Under the new
policy, the government hopes to convince migrants to leave the country
voluntarily under the threat of being placed indefinitely in the “open”
detention center, and of not being allowed to work.
Several human rights
groups have petitioned the High Court to strike the new policy down, just as it
struck down the old policy in mid-September.
In addition, groups of
migrants have violated the conditions of their “open” detention, leaving the
premises and refusing to return, as well as participating in marches and
demonstrations against the new policy.