Rightist: Police Turning Settlements Into 'mini-Iran' by Cracking Down on Our Protests

Activists now forbidden from demonstrating against construction freeze in settlements where Civil Administration officials live.

The Israel Police has cracked down on right-wing demonstrations against the Civil Administration, the branch of the Israel Defense Forces responsible for civilian aspects of life in the West Bank.

Judea and Samaria District Police will now prohibit protesters from staging rallies in settlements where Civil Administration officials live – even if the demonstrations are not held in the direct vicinity of the officials' homes.

Since Israel declared a 10-month construction freeze in West Bank settlements last December, rightists have held a number of spontaneous demonstrations outside the homes of two officials, in the communities of Peduel and Kedumim.

Settlers protesting in Yitzhar
Yitzhar spokesperson's office

Eran Schwartz, a rightist from the settlement of Itzhar – the town at the forefront of the demonstrations against the freeze – recently asked police to allow the activists to continue their rallies, promising that they would not be held in front of the officials' homes.

But police rejected Schwartz's petition, declaring: "Even if the gathering in question is not intended to be held outside the homes of the officials, but within the settlement limits, we cannot approve the request."

The decision, made by the Judea and Samaria legal consultant, was based on orders of the attorney general to prohibit any gathering near the home or in the neighborhood of a public servant.

In response to the decision, Schwartz accused the police of turning the district into a "mini-Iran".

Meanwhile, the Our Land of Israel movement, led by far-rightists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and MK Michael Ben-Ari, has petitioned the High Court of Justice over its right to freedom of expression.

In that petition, the activists have demanded the right to demonstrate outside the private home of Islamic Movement chief Ra'ed Salah and his offices in Umm al-Fahm.