Pride Parade
Pride ParadeFlash 90

The Honenu legal aid organization sent a letter addressed to the commanders of the Jerusalem District Police, asking them to cease the arbitrary detentions of activists who come to protest legally against the Pride Parade.

The letter was issued ahead of the parade that is scheduled to take place this week in Jerusalem. In the letter by Attorney Eladi Wiesel, it was noted that the aim is to approach in advance in order to prevent a situation where the phenomenon of recent years will repeat itself this year.

"As is well known, as part of its efforts 'to maintain public order,' the police conduct numerous detentions every year on the day of the parade," Attorney Wiesel wrote to the Jerusalem District Police officers.

According to him, "These are arbitrary delays whose sole origin is stigmatic profiling and for which the police seize citizens with a religious appearance from the streets of Jerusalem and from the Hizma checkpoint, detain them at the station without any legal justification, and release them only hours after the parade is finished. These delays, in addition to the deprivation of basic liberty of those citizens, cause unnecessary feelings of helplessness and fear that last throughout the hours of the arrest or detention, as well as financial loss and damage to their good name."

He emphasized that every year his organization files a series of legal lawsuits against the Israel Police, and win many of the cases: "In fact, it has been determined in court rulings that this is an illegal practice lacking any legal authority, and monetary compensation was awarded accordingly. Shockingly, every year anew, the Israel Police - the body responsible for law enforcement - chooses to blatantly and completely ignore court rulings and continues, as if nothing had changed, in the same conduct devoid of any legal basis. All this is done while improperly using the power granted to it by the legislators and harming the good name of citizens who had the misfortune of being taken as scapegoats."

In light of this, Honenu requested a series of steps to change the phenomenon. Among other things, they requested immediate action to uproot these practices from the root, refine procedures according to the law and court rulings, and instruct all forces to completely avoid repeating the mentioned violations during the parade that will take place this week.

The letter, as mentioned, was sent to the commanders of the Jerusalem District Police, including the district commander, Major General Doron Turgeman, the area commanders, as well as the legal advisor of the Israel Police, Deputy Commissioner Elazar Kahana. An additional copy of the letter was also sent to the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, with the aim that he, too, will address the issue.

Attorney Wiesel stated, "For years, the police have behaved like a bull in a china shop regarding the legal fundamental rights of opponents of the Pride Parade. Instead of making efficient use of quality intelligence tools at their disposal - tools that can identify real threats based on concrete information and contribute to the protection of the marchers' security on the one hand and prevent unnecessary harm to the parade's opponents on the other hand - the police choose to defame a large number of citizens with unfounded suspicions that solely originate from prohibited and stigmatic profiling."

"We call on the police to immediately cease the blatant disrespect for the rights of the parade's opponents and to change the policy regarding the prohibited practice of arbitrary detentions. It is needless to say that citizens' rights should be maintained even when it comes to a citizen who does not align with the progressive views dominant in the public discourse," he concluded.