Showing posts with label prisoners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prisoners. Show all posts

Friday, May 3, 2013

US Tour for Sahar Francis of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association


Since 2006 Sahar Francis has been the General Director of Ramallah-based
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian NGO providing legal and advocacy support to Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. 

This tour comes at a crucial moment: More than 4,900 Palestinians are detained by Israel, including 236 children, 14 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and 170 administrative detainees held without charge or trial. Since 1967 more than 52 prisoners have died from medical neglect and 73 from torture during interrogation, most recently 64 year old Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh who was denied cancer treatment. Since 2011 Palestinian political prisoners are continuously on hunger strike to protest their arbitrary arrest and detention, including Ayman Abu Daoud, who has been on hunger strike for over 3 weeks. 

Meanwhile in the United States, 166 prisoners are still detained in Guantanamo Bay, many of them on hunger strike to protest their extrajudicial incarceration, especially those who have served years without being charged. African-American children in Cook County, Illinois make up 71% of youth arrests despite only being 32% of the total population. At Pelican Bay Maximum Security Prison in California, mass hunger strikes regularly erupt in protest of the inhumane conditions. 

Spanning seven major cities across the United States this May, Addameer seeks to build bridges between our shared struggle against oppression by finding commonalities and strategizing ways to resist the institutionalized systems of control. For more information: info@addameer.ps

Addameer also recently launched a global campaign against adminitrative detention: http://stopadcampaign.com/.

(The ADL has issued a warning about Sahar's tour and "goal of linking problems in the American prison system such as discrimination, racial profiling, and lack of rehabilitation options, to the issues faced by Palestinian prisoners.")

Monday, May 6
7:30-9:00pm
Crystal Cove at the University of California- Irvine
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
More Information here
Tuesday, May 7
7:00-9:00pm 
Palestinian Political Prisoners: The Intersection of International Law and the Palestinian Struggle
Culver Palms United Methodist Church 
4464 Selpulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230
More information here

Thursday, May 9
4:00-6:30pm
Keynote Speech at the opening of “From Pelican Bay to Guantanamo to Palestine” Conference
College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave, EP 425, San Francisco, CA 94132
More information here

Saturday, May 11
12:30pm Lunch and Program
Juvenile Injustice: Criminalization of Youth in Palestine and Chicago
Al Hambra Palace Restaurant
1240 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL
Contact coordinators@arabjewishpartnership.org to RSVP.

Monday, May 13
4:00-6:00pm
From Puerto Rico to Palestine: Colonial Domination and Political Prisoners
John Marshall Law School
304 S. State St, Room 420, Chicago, IL
More information here.

Thursday, May 16 6:30-8:00pm
Incarceration and Community Resistance: From DC to Palestine
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ 

5301 North Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20011

Saturday, May 18 
6:30-9pm 
Ending Mass Incarceration: From Palestine to Pennsylvania
Friends Center
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
More information here.

Tuesday, May 21
7:30pm
Calls to Conscience: Prison Resistance in Palestine, Guantánamo, the U.S. and Iran
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street, New York, New York 10014
More information here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Demanding an End to Administrative Detention

Israel's use of administrative detention drew the attention of solidarity activists worldwide the past few months as thousands of Palestinians illegally imprisoned by Israel without charge went on hunger strike in protest, some winning their release after activists highlighted their cases through grassroots actions

The release of Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, Mahmoud Sarsak, and others should not overshadow that fact that hundreds of Palestinians continue to be held without charge by Israel. Walid Abu Rass is one such case. The press release below is from two activists who started a petition to highlight his case and that of all Palestinian political prisoners. 

Over 600 Petitioners Demand Release of Palestinians Held in Administrative Detention

Outraged by the most recent example of Israel’s capricious extension of administrative detention terms for Palestinian activists, two Southern California human rights activists decided to act. When she read the story about Walid Abu Rass’s experience, written by his friend Sam Bahour, Carolfrances Likin said: “This sounds like a petition campaign!”

Recalling how shocked she was by the military’s kangaroo court proceedings that she observed during the first intifada, long-time activist Sherna Gluck, immediately jumped in, and together with Carolfrances and Sam, launched an Avaaz petition calling on the Military Judge Advocate and the Commander of Ofer Prison to release Abu Rass and all prisoners held in administrative detention. As noted in Amnesty International’s demand that Israel end the use of administrative detention, this practice is a breach of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The initial US signers of the petition were joined by supporters of human rights from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, France, Greece, India, ltaly, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Spain, South Africa- and even Israel.

Walid Hanatsheh Abu Rass (ID # 9-9702819-6), is the Finance and Administration Manager for the Health Work Committees (HWC), one of the largest community health service providers in the occupied Palestinian territory. Like so many other human rights advocates, he has been in and out of Administration Detention for the past five years, without once being formally charged. For more details on his case, visit Addameer's website

Abu Rass’s experience in not unique. Rather, in a scene repeated regularly throughout the Occupied Territories, and one reminiscent of police states, soldiers raided his home at 1:30 in the morning on November 22, 2011. He was blindfolded and dragged off as his terrified family looked on. And, like the 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the four journalists and the countless human rights advocates, university students and academic staff - not to mention dozens of children - he did not receive a fair trial. Rather, with no proof or official charges filed, following a closed session from which he and his lawyer were barred, he was sentenced by the Occupying army. Since then, despite appeals, his sentence has been repeatedly extended.

Speaking of his friend’s most recent experience, Sam Bahour said, “I couldn’t make up what happened to him even if I was a word-class fiction writer.” 

Abu Ras was initially surprised by the news that he would be freed one month before his scheduled release date and his family was already planning a celebration. Instead, just when he thought his release was imminent, on June 25th the military judge informed him that his term had been extended for three months- and then reduced to two!

This is precisely the kind of scenario that Amnesty International documents discussed in its recent report, noting that detainees “must live with the uncertainty of not knowing how long they will be deprived of their liberty and the injustice of not knowing exactly why they are being detained”

“We are pleased with the response to our petition,” Gluck said, “especially since any actions seeking justice for Palestinians is such an uphill battle. And although we don’t really expect the Israelis to respond to petitioners like us, as more and more people around the world take small steps like this, there can be change.” 

Likin couldn’t agree more, noting: “In the meantime, we hope that it gives heart to the Palestinian prisoners to know that we are here, outside, fighting for them, just as they are inside because they were fighting for justice.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Palestinian National Soccer Player on 81st Day of Hunger Strike

While Thaer Halahleh was released earlier this week after his 77-day hunger strike succeeded in pushing Israel to make a deal with more than 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners who were also on hunger strike, both Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi refused to end their strikes and face imminent threats to their lives.



The Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PCHRO) and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) released a statement yesterday urging immediate action for both Mahmoud, who is on his 81st day of hunger strike, and Akram, who is on his 57th day.


The PCHRO and PHR-Israel:

  • demand that all hunger strikers in advanced stages are moved immediately to civilian hospitals where they can receive the standard of care necessary;
  • call for immediate intervention for the Israeli Prison Service to provide all hunger strikers with unrestricted access to independent doctors;
  • demand that all hunger strikers are allowed family visits;
  • urge the Member States of the United Nations to urgently put pressure on Israel to end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955, which set out what is generally accepted as being decent principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners.
Amnesty International has also released a new report "Starved of Justice: Palestinians Detained without Trial by Israel" The report calls on Israel to stop using these measures to suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of Palestinians and urges the immediate and unconditional release prisoners of conscience held just for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Of course none of this could happen if the United States wasn't militarily and diplomatically supporting Israel as it trampled on Palestinian human rights. So help us challenge U.S. policy by
making a donation, signing up to be an organizer or joining us at our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hana al-Shalabi on Day 41 of Hunger Strike


Hana al-Shalabi is a 30-year-old Palestinian woman and resident of Burqin village near Jenin who was taken from her home and arrested on February 16. On February 23, she was given an administrative detention order for six months. She has been on a hunger strike for 41 days in protest of her violent arrest, the harmful and degrading ill-treatment she suffered following her arrest and of her administrative detention.

Just two days ago, an Israeli military judge rejected an appeal against Hana's administrative detention without charge or trial claiming that there are grounds to continue holding her as she is a threat to Israel’s security.

But as Amnesty International makes clear, Israel must either charge Hana with a recognizable criminal offence and promptly try her or release her.

Hana, just like Khader Adnan, needs international solidarity and support for her case to amplify her voice and that of nearly 5,000 fellow Palestinian prisoners, including approximately 310 held in administrative detention without charge.

Send a letter now to Israeli officials demanding her freedom.

Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, and demand the United States intervene to force Israel to release Hana Shalabi and all political prisoners. The number is 202-647-7209. Find talking points here.

Tweet: Demand Israel release Hana al-Shalabi immediately! #FreeHana

Watch the video below to learn more about Hana's case. And make sure to share with your friends and followers.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Urgent Call to Action for Khader Adnan, in "Immediate Danger of Death"

Al Dameer Association for Human Right, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Issued the following Urgent Call to Action several hours ago for Khader Adnan, who is now on his 65th day of hunger strike.

We call upon you to exert all possible influence and pressure on the Israeli Authorities to immediately release detainee Khader Adnan, whose life is in immediate danger as he has been on a hunger strike for the past 64 days.

The arbitrary detention of Adnan commenced on 17 December 2011, when he was kidnapped from his home in the northern West Bank village of Arrabe, during a nightly raid carried out by Israeli soldiers. His two young daughters and pregnant wife were witness to this.

Adnan initiated his current hunger strike on 18 December, protesting being detained without charges or being notified of the reason for his detention. He is being detained without charge or trial under a four-month administrative detention order, which could be indefinitely renewed for the duration of six months.

For the past decades Israel has applied the procedure of administrative detention on a large scale, systematically imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, as a tool of political oppression. This is a grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.

Khader Adnan has the law on his side. His life should be saved and the law should be respected. We urge you to make direct contact with the responsible Israeli officials and authorities, demanding the immediate release of Khader Adnan, in a critical attempt to save his life.

Finally, please adopt this call and spread the appeal from your respective capacity and/or organization.

It is time to act. Tomorrow might be too late.

Whom to contact:

Minister of Justice
Yaakov Neeman
29 Tsalch Adin Street
Jerusalem 91490
Telephone:  +972 2 646-6666
Fax:  +972 2 670-6357
Click here to email.

Military Judge Advocate General
Brigadier General Danny Efroni
6 David Elazar Street
Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel
Fax: +972 3 569 4526
Click here to email.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 69 16940 / 62757

Commander of the IDF in the West Bank
Major-General Avi Mizrahi
GOC Central Command
Military Post 01149
Battalion 877, Israel Defense Forces, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5724

This call to action can be found online here.

Background information and the latest news can be found here. Below are some exerpts:

Ramallah, 19 February 2012—Israel’s High Court of Justice has today scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case of Khader Adnan to take place Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:30am. The petition was filed by Khader Adnan’s lawyers on 15 February. The High Court of Justice was provided with a detailed medical report prepared on 14 February by an Israeli-accredited doctor on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel). Despite the elaborate medical report, which confirmed that Khader Adnan “is in immediate danger of death,” and that “a fast in excess of 70 days does not permit survival,” the Israeli High Court appointed the petition session for 23 February with no guarantees that a decision will be made on the same day. By then, Khader Adnan—if alive—will have reached the 69th day of his ongoing hunger strike.

...

Khader Adnan’s original appeal hearing took place on 9 February in a room at Zif Medical Center in Safad where Khader was hospitalized due to his medical condition as resulting from his ongoing hunger strike. In disregard to his medical condition the Court of Appeals delayed its decision until 13 February 2012, which marked Khader’s 58th day of his ongoing hunger strike. The decision statement rejecting the appeal issued by Judge Moshe Tirosh stated that Judge Tirosh found that the administrative order decision based on the “secret evidence” was balanced, and that Khader had only himself to blame for his medical condition owing to his choice to continue his hunger strike.

...

Addameer and PHR-Israel call on the local and international communities to: 
  • Apply pressure on the Military Commander, Yair Koles, to immediately cancel Khader Adnan’s administrative detention order;
  • Apply pressure on Israel’s High Court of Justice to reschedule the date of the petition to a closer date;
  • Apply pressure on the government of Israel to immediately release Khader Adnan;
  • Send representatives to attend the  Israeli High Court of Justice’s open petition hearing regarding Khader Adnan;
  • Apply pressure on the government of Israel to conform to international law and end its unlawful practices of arbitrary imprisonment, and release all Palestinians held in administrative detention.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Free Bassem and Naji Tamimi


Jewish Voice for Peace is a coalition member of the US Campaign.

By Rabbi Brant Rosen
Co-Chair, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council
June 10, 2011

I'm writing to ask for your help in getting two Palestinians out of jail. Their only crime is organizing unarmed protests against the occupation. They need your help in spreading the word.

This past December I took a trip to Israel/Palestine with twenty members of my congregation. Among our many stops was a morning visit to a coffee house in Ramallah where we had arranged to meet with Ayed Morrar, a grassroots nonviolent organizer from the West Bank village of Budrus (whose struggle was recently featured in the documentary film of the same name.) When we arrived to meet Ayed, we found that he had brought along a fellow leader in the Palestinian nonviolence movement, Bassem Tamimi, who comes from the village of Nabi Saleh.

With integrity, humor and sense of quiet resolve, Bassem told us the story of his village’s struggle for justice. Since 1977, Nabi Saleh has been besieged by a nearby Jewish settlement which was constructed on land privately owned by Nabi Saleh’s residents. Although an Israeli court awarded some land in Nabi Saleh back to its residents, settlers have been routinely uprooting hundreds of the village’s olive trees and attacking farmers to prevent them from working their land.


In response, Bassem and other villagers organized weekly nonviolent demonstrations, which have been systematically and brutally suppressed by the IDF. The Israeli army has raided the village of 500 residents by day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests. Currently, more than 10% of the village has been arrested, including women and many children.

When we spoke with Bassem last December, he explained that the military was targeting the movement’s leadership. Since demonstrations began, Bassem’s house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was arrested twice and two of his sons were injured. Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days after a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. It seemed clear to us that his arrest was quite likely, if not imminent.

Last March, we learned the news: three weeks after the arrest of his cousin Naji Tamimi (a fellow member of the Nabi Saleh Popular Committee) Bassem himself was arrested. The arrests of both men were based on confessions from teenagers who were themselves seized in midnight raids, denied legal counsel, and beaten. Tell friends how they can help us get them out of prison.

Now that Bassem’s case is coming to trial, I am asking you to stand together with me and thousands of people around the world, to say that no one should be jailed for organizing peaceful protests against the theft of their land. If you believe in grassroots, unarmed organizing against the Israeli occupation, please stand by Bassem and Naji Tamimi. Please tell your friends to send an email to the U.S. State Department to ask them to call for the Tamimi's release.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Call for freedom for Bassem and Naji Tamimi

Jewish Voice for Peace is a US Campaign member group. JVP's current action can be taken by clicking here.

May 19, 2011
Bassem and Naji Tamimi have organized unarmed protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The protests have featured women prominently, and have focused on an end to occupation: of land, of minds, of hearts— for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

The Israeli army has reponded with raids, arrests, and injuries to men, women, and children. Now they have arrested Bassem and Naji in order to break the spirit of the village. Based on testimony illegally coerced of a 14 year-old, Bassem and Naji are imprisoned without trial. Their freedom will depend on all of us speaking out.

Click here to send this email to the U.S. Department of State:


Subject: Please support freedom for Bassem and Naji Tamimi
To:
Jake Walles, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Paul Sutphin, Director Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs

Your Letter:



I have just learned that Bassem and Naji Tamimi, two committed nonviolent Palestinian protest organizers from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, have been indicted for "incitement" and "organizing unpermitted processions". The two, who have been arrested on March 6th and 24th, respectively, have been placed under arrest for the duration of their trials.

The case against Naji and Bassem Tamimi is largely based on the coerced confessions of two minors, 14 and 15 year-old, who were arrested at gunpoint in the middle of the night, beaten and questioned unlawfully, without being allowed sleep, denied legal counsel and the right to have their parents present.

The persecution of the Tamimi cousins clearly mimics the recent politically motivated judicial witch-hunt against Abdallah Abu Rahmah from the village of Bil'in in both the charges and methods employed.

Nabi Saleh has recently become a focal point of West Bank peaceful, unarmed protest against Jewish-only and illegal settlement expansion. As a result, the village has also become the target of increasingly aggressive disproportionate military repression by the Israeli army. Since demonstrations in the village began on December 2009, more than 70 protest related arrests have been carried by the Israeli military, affecting roughly a staggering 10 percent of the village's 500 residents, men, women and children.

As a believer in justice, I cannot sit idly by as Naji and Bassem Tamimi and their fellow villagers are denied even the basic right to protest the illegal theft of their land. I hope you will take a strong stand on their freedom. Please urge the Israeli government to release them and stop the unlawful detention of protest organizers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mohammad Khatib, yet another leader of nonviolent struggle against Wall in Bil'in, arrested by Israeli military

Yet another high profile Palestinian leader of nonviolent resistance to the Apartheid Wall has been arrested by the Israeli military. Mohammad Khatib, a leader of the struggle against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in and a coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee, was taken from his house in a pre-dawn raid. You can demand his release, as well as the release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah and other anti-apartheid prisoners, by clicking here. Additionally, Palestinian anti-Wall activists and grassroots leaders continue to call for solidarity in the form of campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Find out how you can get involved in BDS in your community by clicking here. Here's an update about Mohammad Khatib's arrest from the Popular Struggle website:

Mohammed Khatib during a speaking his speaking tour in Canada last year. Pictures Credit: Tadamon!

At a quarter to two AM tonight, Mohammed Khatib, his wife Lamia and their four young children were woken up by Israeli soldiers storming their home, which was surrounded by a large military force. Once inside the house, the soldiers arrested Khatib, conducted a quick search and left the house.

Roughly half an hour after leaving the house, five military jeeps surrounded the house again, and six soldiers forced their way into the house again, where Khatib's children sat in terror, and conducted another, very thorough search of the premises, without showing a search warrant. During the search, Khatib's phone and many documents were seized, including papers from Bil'in's legal procedures in the Israel High Court.

Israeli Soldiers violently preventing an international solidarity worker from entering Khatib's home tonight. Picture Credit: Hamde Abu Rahmah

The soldiers exited an hour and a half later, leaving a note saying that documents suspected as "incitement materials" were seized. International activists who tried to enter the house to be with the family during the search were aggressively denied entry.

Mohammed Khatib was previously arrested during the ongoing wave of arrests and repression on Augst 3rd, 2009 with charges of incitement and stone throwing. After two weeks of detention, a military judge ruled that evidence against him was falsified and ordered his release, after it was proven that Khatib was abroad at the time the army alleged he was photographed throwing stones during a demonstration.

Khatib's arrest today is the most severe escalation in a recent wave of repression again the Palestinian popular struggle and its leadership. Khatib is the 35th resident of Bil'in to be arrested on suspicions related to anti-Wall protest since June 23rd, 2009.

The recent wave of arrests is largely an assault on the members of the Popular Committees - the leadership of the popular struggle - who are then charged with incitement when arrested. The charge of incitement, defined under Israeli military law as "an attempt, whether verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order," is a cynical attempt to punish grassroots organizing with a hefty charge and lengthy imprisonments. Such indictments are part of the army's strategy of using legal persecution as a means to quash the popular movement.

Similar raids have also been conducted in the village of alMaasara, south of Bethlehem, and in the village of Ni'ilin - where 110 residents have been arrested over the last year and half, as well as in the cities of Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

Among those arrested in the recent campaign are three members of the Ni'ilin Popular Committee, Sa'id Yakin of the Palestinian National Committee Against the Wall, and five members of the Bil'in Popular Committee - all suspected of incitement.

Prominent grassroots activists Jamal Jum'a (East Jerusalem) and Mohammed Othman (Jayyous) of the Stop the Wall NGO, involved in anti-Wall and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigning, have recently been released from detention after being incarcerated for long periods based on secret evidence and with no charges brought against them.

Background links: [1] LA Times: Palestinians who see nonviolence as their weapon [2] Ynet: 2010 will see us beat the occupation

Friday, January 15, 2010

Democracy Now! reports on release of Palestinian activists, detention of U.S. journalist

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reports on the release of Palestinian activists and human rights defenders Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman, as well as the detention by Israel of Jared Melsin, a U.S. citizen who is the chief editor of the English desk at the Ma'an News Agency. Ma'an and the BBC both have further details on this latest targeting of U.S. citizens by the Israeli government because of their activity in occupied Palestinian territory. Melsin was traveling with another U.S. citizen, Faith Rowold,who was a volunteer with the Lutheran Church. Their detention and deportation appears to be yet another aspect of the campaign of repression directed against activists, journalists, and church and aid workers who are critical of Israeli policy. In addition to the many Palestinian anti-apartheid activists and Israeli activists who have been arrested in recent months, Israeli forces have arrested and deported Eva Nováková, a Czech activist who had recently taken on the role of media coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement, as well as Ryan Olander, a U.S. citizen who was arrested for his involvement in protests against settlement expansion and house evictions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. For more on increased Israeli repression, and the international pressure required to end it, read yesterday's blog post: "Release of Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman demonstrates importance of international grassroots pressure."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Victory! Release of Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman demonstrates importance of international grassroots pressure

You have probably heard by now that Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman, leaders of the Palestinian grassroots struggle against Israeli occupation and apartheid and proponents of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), have been released from their imprisonment-without-charge in Israeli jail. Their freedom is a huge victory for the grassroots struggle for Palestinian self-determination and equality. It's also an incredible demonstration of the power of international civil society pressure to defend the human and political rights of those seeking to end Israel's policies of apartheid, occupation, and colonization directed toward the Palestinians. More than 1500 of our supporters sent emails to the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem demanding the release of Mohammad, Jamal, and Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leader of the nonviolent struggle against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in who has been slapped with a phony "arms possession" charge for collecting spent munitions fired at Bil'in protesters by the Israeli army. You can continue to send letters to the Consulate to demand Abdallah's release by clicking here. US Campaign member groups Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY, among others, responded as well, sending letters and emails to President Obama and the U.S. Consulate and flooding the State Department with phone calls. On his release from prison, Jamal Juma' credited grassroots international pressure:
"Like for the other Palestinian human rights defenders in Israeli jails, there was never a case in the courtroom. Not a single charge has been put forth. The reason for my arrest was purely political - an attempt to crush Stop the Wall and the popular committees against the Wall. Therefore, the reasons for my release are also outside the courtroom: The impressive support of international civil society has moved governments and used the media to an extent that made our imprisonment too uncomfortable. This international solidarity has given our popular struggle against the Wall further strength. We are deeply thankful for all the efforts. Yet, the latest arrests and continuous repression show that we have not yet defeated the Israeli policy as such, as Israel remains determined to silence Palestinian human rights defenders by all means. We therefore need to ensure that the campaign for the freedom of all anti-wall activists and Palestinian political prisoners continues to grow. We have to combine our energies to ensure that the root cause - the Wall - will be torn down and the occupation will be brought to an end."
In a sense, our work has been doubly affirmed by the Israeli political-military apparatus. Jamal, Mohammad, Abdallah, and others have been targeted not only for their role in spearheading Palestinian nonviolent resistance but also because of their leadership in promoting international campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. As the international campaign grows, so does Israeli repression...but so does the pressure on that repressive system, making repression much more difficult to sustain. Here's Jesse Rosenfeld at The Daily Nuisance, writing of Mohammad's release:
"Stop the Wall, a Palestinian movement based on grassroots popular resistance to Israel’s wall in the West Bank, has faced increased military pressure as it strengthens its connection to the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement....However, the same international attention and connection to a global movement that is landing activists in prisons, is one of the few factors providing some refuge from the relentless Israeli campaign to break them."
It's worth noting that Mohammad was arrested as he attempted to return from Norway, where he had spoken to the Norwegian government pension fund's ethics board about divestment from Israeli weapons contractor and Apartheid Wall-builder Elbit Systems. This is the kind of international solidarity that prison walls can't contain. In a brief interview with Rosenfeld, the Stop the Wall organizer notes that the Israeli authorities considered him a threat even while imprisoned:
"I’m still in shock about being free, but am so happy and relieved,” the youth coordinator from the Stop the Wall campaign told me on the phone while riding with his brother to see his family in the West Bank for the first time in months. “We were constantly under surveillance in the jail; the Israelis were always trying to get information to incriminate us with. I was in a cell with other people, but couldn’t trust talking politics with anyone."
And what of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, still stuck in Israeli jail? The Bil'in resistance leader speaks for himself, in a statement passed to his lawyers from his prison cell:

"I know that Israel’s military campaign to imprison the leadership of the Palestinian popular struggle shows that our non-violent struggle is effective....This year, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee will expand on the achievements of 2009, a year in which you amplified our popular demonstrations in Palestine with international boycott campaigns and international legal actions under universal jurisdiction."

The message is loud and clear. International pressure secured Jamal and Mohammad's release. International pressure can secure Abdallah's release, and the release of all those imprisoned for nonviolently struggling against Israel's illegal Wall and illegal occupation. And international pressure in solidarity with Palestinian grassroots struggle can secure the end of Israeli occupation and apartheid, and a future of justice and equal rights for all. Get involved. Send an email demanding that Abdallah be set free. Join national boycott and divestment campaigns against Caterpillar, Motorola, and Ahava, companies that directly benefit from Israeli occupation and expropriation of Palestinian land. Start divestment campaigns on campus and boycott campaigns in your community. Organize in your Congressional district against U.S. military aid that sustains and abets Israeli occupation and war crimes. These aren't just "feel good" actions. The Israeli military's campaign of repression against grassroots activists is telling us--and our Palestinian grassroots allies are telling us--that these actions are exactly what threatens the maintenance of Israeli occupation and apartheid. They are exactly what works.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Israeli army attacks Palestinian shepherds and representatives of US Campaign member group

From US Campaign member group Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT):
"This morning, Thursday 7 January, 2010, Israeli soldiers attacked and injured Palestinian shepherds from the Musa Raba’i family, as they grazed their sheep in Humra valley, near the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The soldiers also attacked the two CPTers accompanying the shepherds and broke a video camera. Before leaving the area the soldiers arrested one of the shepherds, Musab Musa Raba’i.
At around 10:30am Palestinian shepherds were grazing their sheep on privately owned Palestinian land when they saw Israeli settlers observing them from the outpost of Havat Ma’on. A short time later an Israeli army jeep came to the area. After stopping to speak with one of the settlers, three Israeli soldiers approached the shepherds and ordered them to leave the area. The shepherds explained that it was their land, but agreed to move further down into the valley. The soldiers followed them and grabbed at one of the shepherds, so they all tried to quickly leave the area with their sheep. A second army jeep came to the area and a further three soldiers joined in the attack escalating the violence. Soldiers hit the shepherds with their rifle butts, pushed them and while some soldiers forcibly held them to the ground others kicked them.
Other members of the family came to the area, and the women tried to intervene, hoping to deescalate the situation. However, the women were also forcefully pushed to the ground. CPTers trying to video tape the violent attack were roughly pushed and a soldier grabbed at and broke one of the video cameras.
Other villagers came to the area and tried to calm the situation by talking with the soldiers, but the soldiers ignored all pleas for calm and instead fired percussion grenades and tear gas into the small group of women and children gathered nearby on the hillside.
Israeli police reported to the scene after receiving numerous calls from internationals, but arrived as the soldiers were leaving the area. The police told CPTers that there would be a military investigation into the actions of the soldiers.
During the incident a spokeperson from an Israeli Human Right Organization called the local Israeli Army Brigade Operations Room and the Israeli Army Coordination Office to find out what was happening. She told CPT “I called several time and they had no information and no idea that something was going on in At Tuwani.”
Additional information: At the time of writing Musab Musa Raba’i is still detained at Kiryat Arba police station. One elderly woman, Umm Juma’ Raba’i, and a young woman, Umm Ribhi Raba’i, who is 2 months pregnant, had to be taken to hospital, suffering from the effects of tear gas inhalation. Three of the shepherds, Kamaal Raba’i, Majde Raba’i and Juma’ Raba’i were hospitalized for their injuries, and a young boy, Ramze Jamaal Raba’i, had his tooth broken."
UPDATE: Musab Musa Raba'i was released after being beaten badly and not charged with any crime. More details soon.
TAKE ACTION:
1) This attack on At-Tuwani appears to be part of a recent increase in repression of Palestinian grassroots nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid. Click here to read more about some of the Palestinian grassroots leaders who have been targeted by this campaign. You can also click here to send an email to the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem demanding the release of Palestinians who are imprisoned for their dissent. You can edit the letter to include information about the attack on At-Tuwani and to ask Daniel Rubinstein, the U.S. Consul General in East Jerusalem, to demand that those involved in this crime be brought to justice. Click here to send an email.
2) U.S. tax dollars aid and abet the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli army, including this most recent attack on At-Tuwani. Organize to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel in your Congressional district by clicking here.
3) Motorola produces communications and surveillance equipment for the Israeli military as well as for settlements like the ones that are encroaching on At-Tuwani's land. Sign a boycott pledge and order a Motorola organizing kit.
4) Check out this video from CPT documenting yet another aspect of Israeli apartheid--electrical pylons for At-Tuwani being taken away by the Israeli military while nearby Israeli settlements enjoy electricity--and then learn more about standing up to Israeli apartheid by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Free the anti-apartheid prisoners--and help carry on their important work

Click here to take action right away! Here at the US Campaign blog we've been covering Israel's recent campaign of repression directed at Palestinian anti-apartheid activists and boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigners such as Jamal Juma', Abdallah Abu Rahmah, and Mohammad Othman. We posted action alerts from our allies at Stop the Wall; passed along Palestinian BDS leader Omar Barghouti's contention that "Intensifying BDS, ultimately, is the most consequential form of protest" against Israeli repression; and shared how campaigns against U.S. military aid to Israel and against occupation-profiteers like Motorola, Caterpillar, and Ahava linked in to the nonviolent struggle of Jamal, Abdallah, Mohammad, and hundreds more like them. We quoted US Campaign Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab's recent op-ed on Israel's "Crackdown on Peace," and posted a report from the Jerusalem-based Alternative Information Center that quoted Jamal Juma': "Before the Wall, I could see the sun." We shook our heads in (almost) disbelief when Abdallah Abu Rahmah was accused of "weapons possession" for collecting tear gas canisters fired at weekly nonviolent protests against the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in, and we shook our heads again when Bono ignored Palestinian nonviolence--and the Israeli military campaign to suppress it--in his recent New York Times op-ed. But we decided there was more we could do. So we issued an action alert today--just a few days before an Israeli military court will once again decide, absent evidence or charge, whether to continue holding Jamal Juma' in administrative detention. And we're asking our supporters to send a letter to the U.S. Consul General in East Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, telling him that he should demand Israel release the anti-apartheid prisoners. Send a letter by clicking here, and then find out how you can continue resisting apartheid and intensifying BDS campaigns in your community. The anti-apartheid and BDS work of people like Jamal, Mohammad, and Abdallah is more important now then ever. In its latest blatantly discriminatory act, the Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that would have required equal land rights be granted to Palestinian citizens of Israel, as reported on in Ha'aretz:
"The Knesset on Wednesday rejected by a majority vote a bill proposed by Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am Ta'al) which would enforce equal distribution of land between Jewish and Arab citizens....Tibi's proposal was intended to counter a bill passed two weeks ago which states that reception committees of Israeli communities can decide who will reside in their towns. One consequence of that bill is that Israeli Arabs would not be able to live in those towns if the reception committees decide so."
Meanwhile, settlement construction continues on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Learn more about the imprisoned Palestinian leaders of nonviolent resistance from our allies at Stop the Wall, and take action to free the anti-apartheid prisoners today by clicking here. Then, carry on the important anti-apartheid advocacy and BDS campaigning of our imprisoned Palestinian allies: 1) Sign up to be a local organizer of our Caterpillar and Motorola campaigns against companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid by building settlements and the Apartheid Wall and by providing communication and surveillance equipment to the Israeli army and settlements. 2) Learn more about how to launch BDS campaigns in your community. 3) Stand up and speak out against apartheid.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Apparently, Bono's never heard of Jamal Juma'

To be honest, I'm not sure why Bono gets an op-ed column in the New York Times. Regardless, the Times on January 2 carried an op-ed in which the U-2 lead singer and founder of the ONE campaign wrote about 10 things he would like to see happen, globally, over the next 1o years. His New Year's wish list includes medical developments, increased access to rotavirus drugs to combat HIV/AIDS, sexier American cars...and nonviolent revolution. After quoting President Obama's Nobel Prize speech, mentioning celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and commending "the brave Iranians who continue to take to the streets despite the certainty of brutal repression," Bono ends with this:
"I’ll place my hopes on the possibility — however remote at the moment — that the regimes in North Korea, Myanmar and elsewhere are taking note of the trouble an aroused citizenry can give to tyrants, and that people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi."
Apparently Bono has never heard of Jamal Juma'. In fact, Palestinians have already found among them many who are willing to take up the banner of nonviolent resistance against Israeli occupation and apartheid. They have found many international and Israeli partners willing to stand alongside them in this effort. The Israeli military has found these individuals, too--and is throwing them in jail, often without charge. But you wouldn't know it from media coverage of Israel/Palestine, nor from President Obama's speeches in Cairo and Oslo. Why hasn't Bono heard the names of Jamal Juma', Mohammad Othman, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, and other Palestinians who have been jailed for their resistance to modern apartheid, their efforts to stop the Wall being built on their land, their promotion of nonviolent tactics of boycott and divestment? Is he simply unaware of the campaigns of nonviolent resistance being waged in Palestinian villages such as Bil'in and Jayyous? Does he not know about the weekly protest being held against the evictions of Palestinians and the confiscation of their houses for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem--protests that include the participation of Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, including jailed U.S. citizen Ryan Olander? Certainly, he has not read Majida Abu Rahmah, writing of her imprisoned husband and the struggle of her village, Bil'in, against the Wall and settlements that have cut them off from most of their land:
"Twelve hours after Abdallah was taken to a military jail from our home, I listened as President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize and spoke of "the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice." I thought of Bassem, Adeeb and my husband, and wondered if President Obama will take action to support our struggle for freedom."
I wonder what Bono would think if he watched this segment from The Real News Network, which portrays not only the repression of Israeli and Palestinian grassroots activists but reveals the apartheid distinctions with which Israeli prisoners and Palestinian prisoners are treated: Let's ask him. Find out more about Israel's anti-apartheid prisoners here. Read the New York Times' letter to the editor guidelines here. And get tips on writing letters to the editor here. Bono is hoping for a decade of nonviolent resistance to oppression. We're not just hoping. We know it's happening--and we are going to continue to look for ways to support it, whether the New York Times considers it worthy of coverage, or not. (Update: A representative of Adalah-NY, one of our 325 member groups, has brought to our attention that Bono has, in the past, canceled gigs in Israel after pressure from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). This is from an April 2009 PACBI open letter:
"The injustice and the violent suppression of the Palestinian struggle for freedom has lasted too long. To bring an end to this oppression, Palestinian civil society has called on people of conscience throughout the world to take a stand and support our struggle for freedom by adopting boycott, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes our inalienable rights. This BDS call has received resounding international support, and has been endorsed by a number of prominent international cultural figures and Israeli artists, including Aharon Shabtai, John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, John Williams and others. Other high profile artists have also heeded our call by canceling gigs in Israel; these included Bono, Bjork, Snoop Dogg and Jean Luc Goddard."
A recent article in YNet, however, reports that U2 is planning a show in Israel this summer, along with other high profile artists such as Santana, Beyoncé, , and Elton John. So how aware is Bono of nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, including BDS? And if he is more aware than I thought...why is he ignoring it in the NYT and planning a show in Israel?)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Before the Wall I could see the sun" -- Free Israel's Anti-Apartheid Prisoners

A report from the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, entitled "Israel's Anti-Apartheid Prisoners": Free the prisoners. Stand up against apartheid. Intensify campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Repression of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation reaches new levels of absurdity

The repression of nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation reached new heights of absurdity today as Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall, was charged with arms possession. The basis of the charge? Used tear gas canisters, fired at protesters by the Israeli army, that were collected by Rahmah and others to demonstrate to visitors the level of repression faced by nonviolent resistance to the occupation: You can't make this stuff up. Here's Abu Rahmah's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, on the indictment:
"[T]he army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the world the violence used against them by collecting presenting the remnants - they are persecuted and prosecuted. What’s next? Charging protesters money for the bullets shot at them?"
Hate to say it, Adv. Lasky, but we know exactly who's getting charged for the bullets and tear gas canisters shot at protesters--not to mention the bombs and missiles dropped on Gaza. It's the U.S. tax payer! In FY2001-2006, the United States provided $2,515,080 worth of .22-.50 caliber ammunition to Israel--26,619,524 bullets. In FY2007, the U.S. provided $4,181,378 in ammunition--28,672,145 bullets. In FY2007 alone, the United States gave Israel 121,991 pieces of teargas and riot control agents valued at $1,654,536. Organize against U.S. military aid by signing up as part of our Congressional District Coordinators Network.

Israel steps up campaign of repression. We can step it up our campaign, too!

Independent media outlets have been providing some great coverage of this latest wave of repression directed against Palestinian nonviolence. Here's Neve Gordon at Counterpunch, who frames the issue with an overview of the history of Palestinian nonviolence and Israeli repression and summarizes the current trend:
"Clearly, the strategy is to arrest all of the leaders and charge them with incitement, thus setting an extremely high "price tag" for organising protests against the subjugation of the Palestinian people. The objective is to put an end to the pro-peace popular resistance in the villages and to crush, once and for all, the Palestinian peace movement."
And check out this great report from The Real News Network, which covers the repression of Israeli anti-occupation activists as well as Palestinian, and describes the apartheid differences in the way Israeli and Palestinian prisoners are treated: The question for us, of course, is how do we respond? What actions can we take in solidarity with our Palestinian and Israeli allies who are working nonviolently for justice and peace? If you haven't already, check out the call to action from Stop the Wall. Once you've done that, here's a couple of suggestions of actions you can take in your local community: 1) Your tax money helps pay the bill for the munitions that are used to suppress nonviolent demonstrations. In FY2001-2006, the United States provided $2,515,080 worth of .22-.50 caliber ammunition to Israel--26,619,524 bullets. In FY2007, the U.S. provided $4,181,378 in ammunition--28,672,145 bullets. In FY2007 alone, the United States gave Israel 121,991 pieces of teargas and riot control agents valued at $1,654,536. Organize against U.S. military aid by signing up as part of our Congressional District Coordinators Network. 2) Much of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance is directed against the building of the Apartheid Wall and settlements on Israeli land. Caterpillar bulldozers are used to build both the Wall and the settlements, not to mention uprooting Palestinian agricultural land and demolishing Palestinian houses. Motorola provides surveillance equipment for settlements, as well as communication equipment that is likely used to coordinate night raids in villages like Bil'in. Products such as Ahava are produced in settlements built on Palestinian land. Engaging in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns in your local community is exactly the kind of solidarity called for by Palestinian civil society--and, as Omar Barghouti has said, it might just be the "most consequential form of protest" against the repression on nonviolent resistance. 3) The repression of nonviolent protest, the separation of populations, the imprisonment without trial--all of these violations of human rights fall under the crime of apartheid. Educate yourself and your community about the crime of apartheid and how it applies to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians by clicking here. 4) Finally, incorporate messaging about military aid, BDS, and apartheid into your solidarity events with the Gaza Freedom March, coming up next week. Israel is stepping up its campaign of repression. Let's show the Israeli military--and our Palestinian and Israeli partners in the struggle for a just peace--that we can step up our campaign, too. Help us do just that by making a tax-deductible contribution to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation today!