Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014-09-25 OccupyTLV: Request for coverage by the foreign press in Israel of violent actions by the Tel Aviv Municipality

September 25, 2014

RE: Request for coverage by the foreign press in Israel of violent actions by the Tel Aviv Municipality against the homeless

Dear Member of the Foreign Press in Israel:

I write to request your help by coverage of upcoming events in the OccupyTLV camp.  The camp was established in November 2012 by agreement with the Tel-Aviv Municipality, in the aftermath of mass social protest in Israel.  Now it most likely faces violent actions by the Tel-Aviv Municipality in collusion with the Israel Police starting October 19, 2014.

Although no lawful measures have been undertaken, such as the issuance of legal eviction or demolition decrees, we expect on or around October 19, 2014, that Municipality personnel, accompanied by large Israel Police forces would arrive.

Violent actions are likely to follow, and the destruction of the meager possessions of the homeless people living in the park.

Similar conduct took place a year ago.  At that time as well, no lawful measures were undertaken, but violence against the homeless was employed.

Conduct of the Tel-Aviv Municipality vis a vis the OccupyTLV camp reflects a policy that is inherently hostile to the poor and the homeless in a city, which spends a fortune on getting "branded" as a liberal, friendly, international party-city.

It also reflects the transformation of the State of Israel, since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhaq Rabin in 1995.  Most people associate the assassination with the opposition to the Oslo Accords and Palestinian Independence.  But just as remarkable is the dramatic increase in poverty and homelessness that took place in Israel in the years since then.

Israel today holds that distinction of being the OECD nation with the highest level of poverty!

We would be happy to meet you at the camp, on the corners of Namir and Arlozorov streets, near the Tel-Aviv Center train station.

We also hope that you would be available on short notice by email on or around October 19, 2014, when the expected violence by police will start.

Please feel free to contact me by email at <123456xyz"">, if you wish to coordinate a meeting beforehand.

Below please find my September 20, 2014 letter to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which supports our cause.


Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert (NGO)

September 20, 2014
Attorney Gil Gan-Mor
Attorney Dan Yakir
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
By email

RE: Urgent request for emergency consultation with street persons in Volovelsky Karny park - facing eviction!

Dear Attorney Gan-Mor and Yakir:
First, let me express my gratitude again to you personally and to the Association in general for your help in a wide range of issues, and in particular - for your ongoing initiative regarding representing the interests of street persons in Israel.
In November 2012, the Social Protest camp in Rothschild Avenue, Tel-Aviv, was moved to the Volovlesky-Karny park, pursuant to an agreement between the Tel-Aviv Municipality and representatives of the Israeli Social Protest Movement.
Over the past year and a half, I have personally extended the agreement on a monthly basis under the OccupyTLV title. [1]
During the period since November 2012, people have continuously lived in the park. During this period, some notable incidents took place, which should be deemed unlawful harassment and deprivation of fundamental rights by the Tel- Aviv Municipality and the Israel Police. [2]
A few days ago, the municipality distributed flyers, indicating that the people living in the park would have to be confined, starting October 19, 2014, to a very small, insufficient area in the north-west corner of the park. [3]  Some help was presumably offered for finding individual solutions for the people now living in the park.
There are great concerns regarding the integrity of this action, its motives, and its expected outcomes.
The situation causes hardship and duress, and people who live here may lose their meager worldly possessions and remain with no shelter during the approaching winter.
You surely know that many of the people here are under-privileged in any possible way. With the mounting pressure, we have already seen increase in violence level here, and conditions may rapidly further deteriorate.  
Moreover, there is concern that people are receiving false legal advice from persons with no legal qualifications, who provided false and misleading legal advice in the past as well. Further harm may result.
Therefore, I would be grateful if you would be able to schedule a meeting in your office, as soon as possible, to provide some basic assessment and advice.
With it, I must add: The actions against the people in the Volovelsky-Karny park take place at the same time that oppressive actions are taken against residents of Givat Amal, against Bedouins in the Negev, and much worse oppression continues in Palestine by a government that lost all semblance of legitimacy.  The Rule of Law is only a fiction, as I personally witness almost on a daily basis in the conduct of law agencies against the Tax Authority whistle-blower Rafi Rotem (I am one of the activists who support him).
Therefore, my expectations regarding protection under the law are minimal or none.  With it, you surely know better than most, what are the most reasonable modes of action under our predicament.
I hope to hear back from you tomorrow, Sunday, and I hope that you would be able to schedule a meeting immediately after Rosh HaShana.  The mere knowledge that ACRI would be advising us, would dramatically reduce pressure levels here.
Shana Tova,

Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert (NGO)

[1] 0000-00-00 OccupyTLV: Index of Records and Links (full English translation)
מאהל המחאה ת"א: רשימת כתבים וקישורים

[2] 2014-09-03 OccupyTLV: Tel Aviv Muni Extension for September 2014

הארכת מאהל המחאה ת"א בגן וולובלסקי לספטמבר 2014

[3] 2014-09-15 Flyers distributed by Tel Aviv Municipality, showing the restriction of the OccupyTLV camp.

פליירים שחולקו על ידי עיריית ת"א ומראים את ההגבלה על שטח מאהל המחאה ת"א - מקווה להעלות מחר סריקה באיכות טובה.

[4] 2014-09-20 Urgent request for emergency consultation by the Israeli Civil Rights Association with street persons in Volovelsky-Karny park - facing eviction!
בקשה דחופה לייעוץ חירום ע"י האגודה לזכויות האזרח לדרי רחוב בגן וולובלסקי-קרני - העומדים לפני פינוי!
[5] 2014-09-21 Israeli Civil Rights Association letter to the Tel-Aviv Municipality, in response to the planned eviction of OccupyTLV camp.

מכתב האגודה לזכויות האזרח בישראל לעיריית ת"א, בתגובה תכנית לפינוי מאהל המחאה ת"א.

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