Rights Group Says Airport Strip Search of Arabs Illegal, Humiliating

Haifa, 188 Dzulhijjah 1437/20 September 2016 (MINA) – Strip searches of Palestinian Arabs at Israel’s Tel Aviv international airport is illegal and humiliating and should be stopped, WAFA reported, quoting a press release of a rights group issued on Monday.

The Haifa-based Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a press release that “for years, Israeli airlines’ security personnel have made a practice of frequently humiliating Arab passengers, requiring strip searches during check-in and security escorts throughout airport facilities until passengers board their flight.”

These practices are overtly illegal and there is no Israeli law authorizing these state representatives to carry out these practices, said Adalah.

The rights group sent a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Israel Airports Authority (IAA) Director General Yaakov Ganot calling on them to halt the illegal practices of strip searching and forcing security escorts on Arab passengers in the airport.

“It is a core principle of administrative law that no administrative body has the authority to act in any manner but in accordance with the law, and without such authority they are not authorized to act,” Adalah attorney Fady Khoury wrote in his letter to Mandelblit and Ganot.

“The Flight Law (Security in Civil Aviation), 1977, which deals with the security of flights and passengers and includes a list of authorized acts that may be employed in order to fulfill the purpose of the law, does not authorize Israeli airline security personnel to ask passengers to strip naked and to conduct searches or to escort them to the boarding gates,” he wrote in the letter sent on August 16.

In its response to Adalah letter, the IAA denied any ‘improper practices” by its airport security personnel in spite of what Adalah said existence of “multiple accounts by individuals testifying to use of these practices – including stripping Arab passengers and escorting them to their planes – by its security personnel.”

Describing these measures as “callous violation of passengers’ rights,” the human rights organization demanded compensation for cases in which such violations have happened in the past and a halt to all these practices. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agecy (MINA)