WATCH: South TA residents thrown out of High Court hearing after heckling Grunis

Residents angry at Grunis for postponing petition to block African migrants released from detention to return to south Tel Aviv.

South Tel Aviv residents protest before High Court hearing  (photo credit: Ariel Avni)
South Tel Aviv residents protest before High Court hearing
(photo credit: Ariel Avni)
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.
The court 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 Grunis.
Rather than ruling separately on the residents’ petition, Grunis had decided to consolidate it with another petition that had already been filed.
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 determined.
“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 Aviv.
The residents said such a prohibition would empower police to arrest migrants and improve enforcement in the neighborhood.
In contrast, 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.