Independence Day detainees released
Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 22:04 On Tuesday, May 2, participants in the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) Israeli Independence Day march from Safra Square towards the Old City of Jerusalem were were brutally detained. All of the detainees were released the following day in the afternoon at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. At several of the deliberations the judges rejected the police demand to impose restrictions on the activists, including orders distancing them from the Old City. The court ordered them released on bail and also ordered the transfer of details of several of the detentions to the Police Investigation Unit in order to examine the conduct of the policemen. In a publicized video clip of the incident, a civilian passer-by is seen being beaten by the police in response to his protest against the police brutality. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir and Honenu Attorneys Nati Rom and Rehavia Piltz represented the activists. At one of the deliberations the police justified their demand for a distancing order by the fact that this is a volatile time and soon the month of Ramadan will begin. The police said that in light of the timing and the freedom of religion of the Muslims, the activists must be distanced from the area of the Old City. In response Rom leveled sharp criticism at the police representative and reminded him that Jews also have freedom of religion and important days which should be respected. Jerusalem Day, which is established in The Jerusalem Law, is coming up and so is the Shavuot Holiday on which it had been customary to ascend to the Holy Temple. The court accepted the plea. Ben-Gvir presented Supreme Court decisions which ruled that even during volatile times fundamental rights must not be violated. Piltz pleaded that the police demand violates freedom of movement and could lead to more serious rights violations. In response to the court’s decisions Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that, “I am pleased that the court accepted our position. However I am saddened by the photographs of beaten and injured youths. We will not be silent and we will seek justice in the cases of the policemen who transgressed. The court did well to clarify that freedom of movement in the Old City is not just for Arabs and the Women of the Wall. We hope that the police will internalize the message.” “We are pleased that the court did not heed the claims of the police,” said Honenu Attorney Nati Rom. “The court saw the severity of the brutality of the detention. Concerning the claims about the upcoming month of Ramadan, the court accepted our pleas that the Jewish holidays, Jerusalem Day, which has been set in The Jerusalem Law, and the Shavuot Holiday must also be respected, and released my clients, whose only act was blowing whistles, without restrictive conditions.” Honenu Attorney Rehavia Piltz added that, “The court accepted our position that the police response is to silence any protest and thereby support the weak policy of the State concerning the Temple Mount, even at the price of a genuine violation of democracy. In court the police representative was not ashamed to say that a protest demanding the liberation of the Temple Mount is provocative! The court ruled that the activists be released on bail and expressed its opinion opposing the violation of democracy, according to which a protest in support of the Temple Mount is forbidden.” For a selection of cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.