Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘administrative detention

What Does Jailing a Palestinian Politician Say About Israeli Democracy?

Khalida Jarrar,  a member of parliament, was sentenced to 15 months in prison this week for membership in an illegal organization and incitement, but was her trial in a military court just? (These news remind me of peaceful youth demonstrators being held in military courts in Lebanon)

Khalida Jarrar is a political prisoner.

The Ofer Military Court, which on Monday sentenced the Palestinian parliamentarian to 15 months in prison for membership in an illegal organization and incitement, is a political court that punished her for her political activity, and for that alone.

Thus Israel, which pretends to be a democracy, has political prisoners, political arrests and political prison sentences, at least in the occupied territories.

(In the occupied territory or taken from the occupied territory? And the Palestinians of 1948, no one of them was held because of his political allegiance?)

Andrew Bossone shared a link.

Jarrar’s trial once again proved the intolerable contradiction between the rule of law and the principles of justice, on one hand, and the military justice system on the other. The latter has no relationship to the former. (In what way? Simply because the officers are no civilian judges?)

Jarrar was arrested at her home in Al-Bireh in April.

The defense establishment claimed at the time that the reason for the arrest was her violation of a military order that allowed her to live only in the Jericho area, far from her home.

No other crime was mentioned. Later, she was indicted on 12 different counts, some of them ridiculous and even outrageous, like attending a book fair and paying condolence visits. In the end, she was convicted on two counts in a plea bargain.

One military court judge ordered her freed long ago; another ordered her kept in prison until the end of her trial; and the military prosecutor threatened her – and essentially the court as well – by saying that if she were released, she’d be thrown in jail without trial,

In other words placed in administrative detention. (The way 60% of Palestinian youths and adolescents are jailed, on No charges, and for many months)

This is not how the legal system of a properly run state conducts itself.

Even the fact that Jarrar is a legislator, a member of parliament, an elected representative of her people – a post that ought to grant her immunity from political charges – didn’t give her a moment’s protection. Israel treated her brutally, just as it treats every Palestinian it deems suspect.

First it tried to keep her away from her hometown with a draconian military order.

Then it tried to put her in administration detention, which is no less arbitrary.

Finally, and only after public and international pressure for her release had intensified, members of the military justice system were forced to fabricate an indictment against her – most of which, as noted, collapsed.

 Essentially, this was a Band-Aid, based at least in part on dubious evidence, including vague hearsay evidence and testimony obtained under pressure.

The fact that Jarrar was thrown into prison because of her political activity on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is first and foremost an indictment of the State of Israel, which puts politicians on trial because of their legitimate opposition to the occupation and even sentences them to jail.

Jarrar and her attorneys decided to accept the plea bargain in order to shorten her trial, and thereby the length of her detention until the end of proceedings.

But the black flag that flies over the shameful imprisonment of a Palestinian member of parliament will continue to fly over the State of Israel, tarnishing her jailers and, above all, those who are responsible for them

Symbolic Capital of what? Hatred, successive occupations, genocides, indignities, apartheid

Synagogue, Mosque Al Aqsa, Jerusalem, attacks, killing, settlements…

 One religious sect is intent on killing as many of another religious sect and denying it the rights to exercise its faith…

Want to understand the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem today?

First, understand that Jerusalem is occupied. The land is not “disputed” or “contested.” It is occupied.

Second, recognize that human rights violations continue  on a daily basis against Palestinians, both in occupied Jerusalem and in the larger occupied West Bank (as well as within “Israel” and, of course, in Gaza).

Homes are demolished very frequently for one reason or another, for expansion of settlements, punishing the families of kids who killed a heinous settler who cut down the olive trees (11,000 olive and fruit trees were cut down by settlers this year alone)

From 1999 to May 2014, almost 1,000 homes in occupied Jerusalem were demolished, leaving more than 2,028 Palestinians house-less.

Third, Children are detained by Israeli military. And administrative detention for long periods is the norm. Over 60% of Palestinian youth went through the revolving doors of prison with no charges

Fourth, People are lynched, shot, tortured, injured – on a regular basis.
Fifth, Land is continually stolen. Israel plans to build 500 new colonies – leading to the expulsion of 1,000 Palestinians from their homes and their lands!
Sixth, Palestinian Lives are regularly dehumanized. Decent living standards deliberately denied.

Seventh, 75% of the Palestinian Jerusalemites live below the poverty line.  

Since early June, Palestinian neighborhoods have been flooded with tear gas, skunk water, and drones.

Eight,  Residency rights for Palestinian Jerusalemites denied (while any Jew can live there).  Since 1967, on average 200 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights in Jerusalem. More than 14,309 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights since 1967. This is ethnic cleansing, since the Jews consider themselves a Race.

Apartheid strengthened. Example: Two days ago, Israeli military officials defended the attack of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy at the Kissufim checkpoint, after troops shot him in the neck for “loitering.”

Israeli military confirm that shooting the child in the neck for “loitering” was consistent with the military protocol.

Nine, recognize that these human rights violations are supported by the institutions within Israel – from military, to settlers, to media, to universities.

Example: Israeli settlers lynch a Palestinian driver, Hassan Yousef Rammouni, 32, and father of two children, in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities respond by prohibiting Hassan’s family from taking his body until they sign a paper declaring that Hassan committed suicide.

Example: Israeli forces fail to probe 83% of settler violence cases — rights group.

Example: Israeli settlers regularly “hit-and-run” Palestinians and no charged are imposed on them; all are regarded as mere “accidents.”

Tenth, refuse to decontextualize this act from the ongoing occupation. It CANNOT be separated.

Eleventh, it honestly doesn’t matter if you personally support or condemn the attack, if you stand with liberation and justice, then stand with the occupied people’s right to resist, stand with the struggle, stand against occupation and apartheid.

Twelfth, still having difficulty? Well – did you support the French resistance against the Nazi occupation?

 

G4S ‘to end’ Israel prison contracts as pressure mounts over torture complicity

British-Danish multinational security and prison profiteering firm G4S is to pull out of Israeli prisons completely, the Financial Times reports this morning.

Campaigners have given a cautious welcome to the news, but emphasize that pressure on the company must continue until the complicit abuses end. They note that G4S has made misleading statements in the past.

According to the Financial Times:

G4S has confirmed that it will end all its Israeli prison contracts within the next 3 years after an annual general meeting that was severely disrupted by human rights protesters.

Asked by angry protesters whether G4S would withdraw from the Palestinian territories as reported by the Financial Times last year, Ashley Almanza, chief executive, confirmed “no change to that position.”

“We expect them to expire and we don’t expect to renew them,” he said. These include contracts to provide security and screening equipment at military checkpoints, the controversial Ofer prison and a police station in the West Bank, all of which are expected to expire next year.

But Mr Almanza said for the first time that the move would also include prison service contracts all over Israel.

Caution

“G4S is certainly feeling the pressure and reputational damage caused by the international campaign against its complicity in Israel’s military occupation,” said Randa Wahbe, advocacy officer with the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, in a statement emailed to The Electronic Intifada.

“The latest reports that G4S will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service is a welcome step, but this has no immediate effect on those facing human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today.”

“G4S has a long track record of saying one thing but doing another and has not made any formal written statements about when it intends to end its contracts with the Israeli prison service and other aspects of Israel’s apartheid regime.”

“The campaign against G4S will continue until it actually ends all contracts that support Israel’s military occupation.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign adds that G4S “will continue to be targeted until it ends its complicity with Israeli crimes.”

“Blood on its hands”

Despite the apparent decision to pull out, the company maintains that it has no role in Israel’s abuses.

“We do not operate prisons, we supply prisons with security equipment,” Almanza told the Financial Times, claiming that the equipment made the Israeli prisons “safer” and did not increase human rights abuses.

 

But as this video from Addameer explains, G4S has “blood on its hands” by providing surveillance systems and other services at facilities like Megiddo prison, where Arafat Jaradat , father of three, was tortured to death last year, and where Palestinian teen Ali Shamalawi, one of the “Hares Boys,” is being held.

Increasing pressure

On 5 June, dozens of campaigners disrupted the G4S annual shareholder meeting in London and 25 were forcibly ejected, as many more demonstrated outside.

The video at the top of this post, taken during the meeting, features activists loudly shouting “G4S shame on you!” and reading out the company’s abuses, including its role in the abuse and detention of asylum seekers and migrants in the UK and for Australia (Three G4S guards have been charged with manslaughter following the 2010 death of Jimmy Mubenga as he was being restrained by the men during a forcible deportation from the UK.)

Another video posted by the activist coalition Stop G4S on its Facebook page shows more of the action outside the shareholders meeting.

The news also comes after a number of well known artists, activists and politicians publicly called on G4S to end its complicity in Israel’s abuse of child prisoners.

They include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African politician and former political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, Alice Walker, Roger Waters, Angela Davis, Breyten Breytenbach, Saleh Bakri and a number of UK members of parliament.

In addition to protests, G4S is also finding itself under official pressure. Earlier this week, as the Financial Times reports, “the UK government’s National Contact Point watchdog launched an investigation into G4S’s activities in Israel and the West Bank. The National Contact Point, which is part of the Department for Business, said it had ‘accepted issues for further examination.’”

This follows a formal complaint by Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, which welcomed the trade body’s step as “ground-breaking and significant.”

Last week it was revealed that the Bill Gates Foundation dumped a significant holding of shares in G4S after coming under criticism for investing in the company.

The latest developments show clearly that even a company as vast as G4S – it has more than 600,000 employees worldwide – cannot continue to profit from the suffering and abuse of human beings without feeling the pressure from dedicated campaigners.

Note 1: UN Secretary General demanded that Israel free all the Palestinians under administrative status. Over 200 have been on hunger strike for 2 months, and 40 of them are suffering from bleeding in the stomach for prolonged hunger strike period.

Note 2: Over 60% of Palestinian youth have been placed in administrative detention, just to keep them off the street, as black youth in the US at certain periods.

How Israel is Losing the Public Relations Battle

As if it is a matter of public relation that could clear up the evidences of apartheid activities and absolve the consistent atrocities committed on the occupied Palestinians…

Juan Cole In Informed Comment posted on July 12 under “Top 5 Reasons Israel is Losing the Public Relations Battle“:

Right wing Israeli officials are concerned about attempts to ‘delegitimize” Israel. They are heavily funding former officials and intellectuals to attempt to combat this perceived trend. (Just perceived?)

It seems obvious that Israel is gradually sinking in the perception of the outside world, and there are concrete reasons for this change.

Most of these reasons derive from the train wreck that is Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Israeli blockade on the civilians of the Gaza Strip.

Other reasons derive from the hawkishness of the Likud government and its Kadima predecessor. They have nothing to do with anti-Israel sentiments or hatred of Jews: No one is condemning the municipality of Haifa or the administration of Tel Aviv.

The criticisms are pointing at the aggressive expansionist and a trigger-happy government. The criticisms are getting louder and more mainstream, with potentially deleterious effects on Israel’s economy as time goes on.

1. Giving the finger to any “peace process”. Israeli land theft in the Palestinian West Bank has reached epic proportions under PM Binyamin Netanyahu, with settlement populations surging 18%. The right-wing in Israel is so isolated from the real world that they have begun claiming that the Palestinian territories are not even occupied.

They claim that the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist forces them to occupy Palestine (in fact, the PLO recognized Israel as part of the Oslo accords, after which the Israelis royally screwed the Palestinians over).

They distort history and say the most ridiculous things, such as that the League of Nations Mandate awarded to Britain in the 1920s allows them to keep stealing Palestinian land and water without recompensing them!

The brazenness and zombie-like relentlessness of this march onto other people’s land has provoked an increasingly influential international boycott movement, targeting the ‘settler-industrial complex’ that preys on the hapless Palestinians under Israel’s control. 

That is why the Church of England recently endorsed a World Council of Churches-inspired program that brings people to the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what Occupation is doing to the stateless and rights-less Palestinians. The resolution was a major defeat for the Likud, right-wing branches of Zionism.

Likewise, the US Presbyterian Church very nearly adopted a resolution to divest from companies perceived as enabling the Israeli land grab in the West Bank.  As it was, they urged positive investment to help the Palestinian victims of Israeli injustice. These votes are straws in the wind.

As Israel moves formally to incorporate the West Bank into itself, it must offer citizenship to the Palestinians on the land it covets, or else it would perpetuate the new Apartheid.

2. Hypocrisy: Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps threatening to launch a war on Iran and urging the Israelis to sacrifice their young people in order to stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium (Iran says the enrichment is for peaceful energy purposes and there is no good evidence to the contrary).

Israel itself not only enriched uranium, it made 400 nuclear bombs. There are allegations by an Israeli and American journalist that Israel’s Mossad spy agency has murdered a series of Iranian scientists. (If Iran were alleged to have done something similar at Dimona in Israel, all hell would have broken loose).

And, it now turns out that Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in a spy ring that smuggled nuclear triggers out of the United States to Israel. Israel is alleged routinely to threaten to use its nuclear weapons if it doesn’t get its way, deploying a sort of nuclear blackmail. It is very hard to see why Iran’s population should be reduced to a fourth world standard of living by international sanctions for doing much, much less than Israel has done, or why Netanyahu should be able to smuggle US high-tech out of this country with impunity.

3. Disregard for the rule of law: The Israeli practice of kidnapping Palestinians at will and holding them indefinitely without trial is abhorrent to all civilized persons. (They call it ‘administrative detention in Tel Aviv.) (Over 60% of Palestinian youth have experienced Israel detention centers in order to prevent them from circulating…)

If a Palestinian is suspected of having actually committed a crime, then it should be possible to present evidence for it and to try the person.

Israel took the Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak into custody three years ago, and only just released him under severe international pressure. The Israelis say he is an Islamic Jihad terrorist, but clearly have no good evidence for this charge or they would have tried him. Instead, they just put him away, apparently forever. He went on a hunger strike that endangered his life, and provoked widespread protests from the soccer playing lobby. 

Sarsak’s plight also elicited a condemnation from the Austrian senate (Bundesrat). Israeli complaints that criticizing ‘administrative detention’ is ‘anti-Semitic’ and that after all Syria is doing something much worse are absolutely painful to hear.

It is playground ethics: ‘he hit me first,’ ‘you just don’t like me,’ ‘why punish me when other kids have done really bad things?’

The Israelis would benefit from a reading of the Universal declaration of Human Rights and of the US Bill of Rights on issues such as a fair and speedy trial for everyone arrested, and from an acquaintance with the basic international law of Occupations, which rules out most of their practices toward the Palestinians.

Note that when the Bush Jr. administration attempted to make Guantanamo a legal black hole, the US Supreme Court struck it down.

4. Punitive Policies toward non-combatants.  The Israeli blockade on the civilian population of Gaza is evil, creepy and illegal in international law. That is why the international community is pushing back. For instance, UNESCO is establishing a science chair at a university in Gaza.

Israel is still the Occupying authority in Gaza, and is therefore bound by the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of its subjects. Some 40% of Palestinian families in Gaza are refugees from what is now Israel, expelled by militant members of the Yishuv in 1948, and many of them still live in camps.

The blockade of Gaza has reduced some 56% of them to food insecurity. Israel surrounds the Strip, and destroyed its airport and sea port several times, preventing Gaza from exporting most of what it makes and produces, and limiting imports.

The little Gaza territory of 1.6 million Palestinians suffers severe health as well as mental health damage from these Israeli policies. No Israeli official can explain what future the residents of Gaza might have that is not a kind of Israel-imposed hell.

(And no, they aren’t generic ‘Arabs’ who will melt into the great sea of other ‘Arabs’ as the more racist Israelis might hope.)

Israeli relations with Turkey, long excellent, have been deeply harmed by the blockade and Israel’s attack on a civilian Turkish aid ship that tried to get supplies to the non-combatant population there. Israel refuses to apologize for killing nine aid workers, including an American citizen.

5. Violations of international law: Israel’s occupation policies are pressing Israel into an entire range of illegal and reprehensible behaviors. This is nothing to do with Jews or Israel, it is to do with occupations. 

The Israelis have been arresting minors, sentencing them to harsh terms and fines, and treating them much differently than they would Jewish minors guilty of the same offenses. The British Foreign Office has just condemned these practices.

Israeli policies are no more off-limits to criticism than are Argentinian or Indonesian ones, despite what the country’s remarkably thin-skinned and intolerant partisans often allege.

And, when the chorus of criticism is coming from Anglicans, Presbyterians, the UK Foreign Office, the Austrian Senate, and UNESCCO, that is a pretty wide-set of world institutions not easily pigeon-holed as mere bigots.

Maybe it is time for the Israeli government to reconsider the self-destructive course it is on, which likely will lead to the end of the state some decades hence, as Israeli President Shimon Peres is frantically warning.

Women at the heart of struggle

Roqayah Chamseddine wrote on March 8:
Women duck from tear gas canisters at Women's Day rally

Israeli forces fire tear gas at an International Women’s Day rally at Qalandiya checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, 8 March 2012. (Issam Rimawi APA images)

“Despite the establishment of stale Orientalist campaigns created in the name of women’s liberation in the Middle East and North Africa, the existence of enduring, self-sufficient women in the region has far-reaching historical context.

The search for female Middle East voices among pundits in the mainstream media echoes the same tired “Palestinian Gandhi” cliché.

Analysts have long used Lawrence of Arabia exotics as a means to portray the women of the Arab world:  if they are not subservient housewives they are coy and reserved daughters, sheltered and locked away by the domineering male figures in the household.

These conjectures are not false in their entirety, but they are also not unique to one specific region, culture, religion or people.

The pervasive Western tradition of characterizing an entire community by certain traits, which their Western audiences can ooh and ahh at, has helped manufacture a plethora of distortions.

History confirms that Arab women have long played an active political role in their societies.

From Egyptian women who demonstrated alongside men during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, against British occupation of Egypt and Sudan, to resistance fighter Jamila Bu Hreid of Algeria.

Bu Hreid was nearly tortured to death by French occupation forces during the Algerian revolution and independence movement which lasted from 1954 to 1962 and resulted in Algeria gaining its independence from France.

South Lebanon, liberated in 2000 after nearly 22 years of Israeli occupation, was also home to female political action. Lebanese women would quietly supply resistance fighters with ammunition, often wrapping them across their stomachs before passing through Israeli checkpoints unnoticed.

An alluring token

As of late, the women of the Arab world are being actively pursued by journalists, media figures and political commentators as sort of stock characters to be featured in their next editorial or television broadcast.

Those usually courted by the media are there to reassert Orientalist theories, for a Western audience to relish in sheer amusement, because for many an outspoken and visible Arab woman is an alluring token.

This has much to do with the current state of the Middle East and North Africa, specifically the uprisings that have captured the hearts and minds of many across world.

Prior to the deposing of Tunisia’s Zine el Abidine Ben Ali there was little or no media attention given to Arab women in respect to what role they played in the region, besides being propagandized as second-class to their more aggressive male counterparts.

Although the media claims to be on a scavenger-hunt of sorts, in search of the dauntless women of the Middle East, there has always been little talk of female Palestinian heroines and their struggle against Israel’s brutal system of apartheid and occupation of their native land.

The Palestinian village of Bilin has hosted weekly unarmed demonstrations against the occupation of its land since 2005. For nearly 7 years, numerous men and women courageously have faced Israeli forces in order to prevent further colonization of their villages, the destruction of their resources and the subjugation of their people.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, one of many women Palestinian protesters, was killed by Israeli forces after inhaling extensive amounts of tear gas during a demonstration in Bilin in 2011; she suffered from severe asphyxiation and poisoning caused by chemicals in the tear gas.

Abu Rahmah’s brother Bassem was killed in 2009 after a tear-gas canister was fired at his chest by an Israeli soldier during a similar village demonstration.

And today, Hana al-Shalabi, a 30-year-old Palestinian woman from Jenin, is on hunger strike to protest her administrative detention without charge by Israel.

Al-Shalabi has been subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment by Israeli forces and, despite having had her detention recently reduced from 6 months to four months since her hunger strike began three weeks ago, she has declared that her hunger strike will continue until her demand for freedom is met.

Womens’ compelling strength

The archetypal Arab women most often approved of, for the viewing pleasure of television audiences, is one which is confined to a subservient role: a coy, bashful creature whose raison d’etre is based on approval from a domineering male society.

This decayed misconception branding every aspect of Middle Eastern and North African society a homogeneous stereotype has long been refuted by women like Hana al-Shalabi and Jawaher Abu Rahmah, and a great number of others who are deliberately ignored by the mainstream media.

Women of the Middle East and North Africa are of compelling strength, doubtless courage and incorruptible dignity. History is laden with prominent female activists, poets, authors and political figures from this region who have long existed, despite the deliberate evasion of their stories and in the printing their names, and they will continue to exist.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a US-based Lebanese-American journalist, commentator and activist.

Eve Coulon commented:

“Yeah, but they don’t seem to have capitalize on their participation, especially in Egypt and Libya. To always look out how the west wrongly portrays middle eastern women is again to be fighting the wrong enemy.
Why should the women care what the west think of them? Do I care about how some arab media portray western women (and that’s also often full of sweeping generalisations and misconceptions)?
Why write an article about that and not give a voice to these women and their struggle, write about what matters to them.
That’s the problem with the whole usual “foreign invisible hand” /anti western discourse since the beginning of the Arab uprising.  Not that it isn’t completely untrue, but it seems to be taking so much space in what is written from the middle east by middle eastern people, it just ends up perpetuating the same clichés and borrows from that very orientalist narrative that they want to denounce, of the indigenous people as being passive by-standers, victims of greater forces, victims of the foreign media, incapable of fending for themselves, incapable of writing their own history and so on….
Why lament about how others write about you, write your own histories, I personally would love to read about these female heroes.


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