Activists Say Not Liable for Israel Gas Protest Violations

Police have been issuing permits for the demonstrations on condition the organizers accept criminal responsibility for any illegal behavior.

Ofer Vaknin

Social activists and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have petitioned the High Court of Justice against a police demand that organizers of demonstrations against the natural gas agreement assume criminal responsibility for violations by protesters.

The petition was filed after several organizers were questioned by police and threatened with prosecution.

Police have been issuing permits for the demonstrations on condition the organizers accept criminal responsibility for any illegal behavior, disruption of public order or violation of the permit terms by any of the protesters throughout a demonstration.

The petition, filed by attorney Sharona Eliyahu Chai of the Association for Civil Rights, argues that this police practice is illegal.

“The point of departure in exercising police authority to issue a permit is the right of the individual to demonstrate and the obligation of the police to defend that right,” the petition states.

The petition describes how two organizers of November 7 demonstrations, Adi Peled and Mor Gilboa, were arrested and questioned on suspicion of violating the terms of their permits because demonstrators scuffled with police afterwards. Peled told police that while she had indeed applied for a permit, she didn’t attend any demonstration because she was sick.

Still, she and Gilboa received restraining orders banning them from the site of those demonstrations for 15 days, and they were released on bail. After they filed an appeal the restraining orders were canceled.