Temple Mount distancing regulations revealed
Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 9:50 On Tuesday, September 27 the regulations for distancing Jews from the Temple Mount were revealed. Previously the police and the Attorney General’s office had concealed the regulations resulting in dozens of Jews being distanced without cause. The reply to a request filed by Attorney Aviad Visuli in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law revealed the regulations of distancing Jews from the Temple Mount, and the fact that the regulations have been systematically trampled by the police and the Attorney General’s office. Dozens of Jews have been distanced contrary to the regulations and by individuals who lack the authority to do so. Additionally it is now known that the police concealed the regulations which directly affect dozens of lawsuits and legal proceedings being handled on the topic of the Temple Mount. For a partial listing of cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who is representing many of the Jews distanced from the Temple Mount, has already filed an urgent complaint on the matter and demanded that the police commander of the Merchav David (Old City) Police in Jerusalem inform the distanced Jews that they may return to the Temple Mount unrestrictedly. This development is of major significance due to the fact that it has revealed that, according to the regulations, only the Jerusalem District Police Commander in consultation with the Merchav David Police Commander and the Jerusalem District Attorney has the authority to prevent access to the Temple Mount. In cases in which a doubt arises, a consultation is conducted with the Office of the Deputy State Attorney for Management and Special Cases, and if necessary, with the Department of Justice. Additionally, according to regulations, the decision by the Jerusalem District Commander is given in writing and a copy is transferred to the individual whose access to the Temple Mount has been requested to be prevented. However this procedure has not been carried out, rather the Merchav David police officers themselves ordered the distancing of Jews from the Temple Mount for unlimited periods of time, without a hearing and without a written announcement and also signed a stringent executive document, the existence of which is not mentioned in the regulations. According to regulations, the authority of officers of this rank to prevent an individual from ascending the Temple Mount immediately and for a period of time which does not exceed seven days is only “in a case in which there exists an apparent basis sufficient for indicating cause to prevent access and it is not possible to wait until the end of the hearing which will [under normal conditions] be held in advance. In a case such as this a hearing will be held within seven days of the decision and the Jerusalem District Commander will rule on the matter as quickly as possible in accordance with the regulations. For special reasons which will be listed, and by authorization of the Merchav David Police Commander, the period of immediate distancing according to this article will be ten days.” Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who handled the extensive correspondence with the Merchav David Police officers over the past year and a half, and who is representing many of the distanced Jews, wrote an irate letter to the Merchav David Police Commander in which he clarified that his repeated claims that the conduct of the police was illegal were found to be completely justified according to the regulations and that he demands that his distanced clients be immediately permitted to return to the Temple Mount. “For the past year and a half I have been repeatedly claiming, whether by direct correspondence or by civil lawsuits, that distancing from the Temple Mount has been carried out in an illegal and unlawful manner, which does not correspond to the rules of good governance, citizens’ rights or the authority set by the detention law and the police ordinance. My claims fell, unfortunately, on deaf ears. The senior staff of the Merchav David Police, to which you belong, continued to distance citizens from the Temple Mount. The Jerusalem District (Civil) Attorney’s office backed with civil proceedings the distancing orders. Currently it has become apparent that the orders were not legal and were contrary to regulations. “What will be with the rule of law in this country!? This is certainly a question which arises from these circumstances in which the senior staff of a district acted above the radar contrary to the law and with the backing of the various branches of the Attorney General’s office.” Attorney Aviad Visuli wrote to the Jerusalem District Police Commander and demanded that he bring to a disciplinary trial the Merchav David Police officers who acted without authority: “You are requested to begin disciplinary proceedings against all of the Merchav David Police officers who violated the orders of the regulations from the day they came into effect, two years ago, until today. To the best of our knowledge, officers in the Holy Places Unit and in Merchav David prevented the ascent of dozens of Jews to the Temple Mount for periods of weeks and months, in a blatant violation of the regulation orders and in effect complete disregard of them. And they ‘took the law into their own hands’,” wrote Visuli. The regulations include a mention that the order to prevent access to the Temple Mount will be given for a period of time of up to six months. However the Jerusalem District Commander is authorized to extend the order for longer periods of time. Concerning a third or further (successive) extension of an order preventing access to the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem District Commander is authorized to order an extension only with the authorization of the State Attorney. Additionally, according to the regulations a hearing must be held before a decision is made. The hearing will take place before: the Merchav David Police Commander or the Temple Mount Police Commander or an interrogation officer, and it will be clarified to the individual that the possibility is being weighed of preventing his ascent to the Temple Mount for a period of up to six months for reasons of suspicion of his danger to the peace and security of the public. During the hearing the individual will be given the opportunity to voice his claims on the matter. The claims of the individual at the hearing will be recorded and brought before the Jerusalem District Commander before a decision is made.