Until recently, Israel Police was able to break up demonstrations without any oversight of the methods used, because procedures for dispersing protest have remained confidential. But following a petition by NIF grantees the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Movement for Freedom of information, the Jerusalem District Court has instructed Israel Police to publish procedures for using violent means to disperse demonstrations within 45 days.
These procedures will address such issues as from what range and how can water cannons be deployed, what restrictions exist for using stun grenades, and much more.
Judge Yoram Noam said that information about these procedures was of the utmost importance to the public and that concealing this information stymied any potential criticism of police actions. He said, “We are talking about realizing the public’s right to know, regarding the fundamental right of human dignity and freedom, about protecting people and freedom of expression at a time when the police apply physical force through the aforementioned means when coping with disorder and mass demonstrations.”
ACRI Attorney Anne Suciu said, “The police have far-reaching authority including operating massive force and extreme measures against the population. In a democratic society there has to be full transparency about what is permitted and what is prohibited in the use of force by the police in order to ensure oversight of the police measures not encroaching on basic rights to life, freedom of expression, and protest.”