ADC Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | May 11, 2022 – Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers. Her brutal murder was caught on video by other journalists accompanying her as they covered Israeli forces attacking Jenin. This is a war crime by international law, and just another instance of Israel using American tax dollars to further censor and oppress Palestinian voices.

Shireen was an iconic voice that covered the occupation for over 20 years. Her name resonates in every Palestinian home, globally. Those in the diaspora looked to her for news of our homeland. An inspiration for women looking to become journalists themselves, she paved the way for so many to follow in her footsteps, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to outshine the occupation which killed her.

On World Kuffiyah Day, we remember Shireen and the many other Palestinian journalists that put their lives on the line to combat the censorship western media routinely propagates when covering the occupation. We remember the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, suffering from forced evictions, ethnic cleansing, and lack of basic human rights.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls on the President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and the entirety of the Biden Administration for a full, independent, and international investigation into the assassination of Shireen. Complete transparency and full accountability for this war crime against an American citizen is necessary. Additionally, as Americans we call on the U.S. Government to stop all military aid to Israel, who uses our tax dollars to perpetrate these atrocities. Now is the time to put pressure on the Israeli government and stand up for Palestinian human rights.

Palestinian-American journalist killed by Israel

CODEPINK, May 11, 2022

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 51-year-old Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Shireen Abu Akleh. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and State Department spokesperson Ned Price called for a thorough and immediate investigation and for those responsible to be held accountable. But, the U.S., including the Biden administration, doesn’t have a record of holding Israel accountable.

U.S. military aid to Israel should be immediately suspended and Israel must not be allowed to investigate itself.

Sign This Petition

Dear Ambassador Tom Nides and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken,

We the undersigned are horrified, saddened, and outraged at the killing of Palestinian-American veteran journalist  Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli military. We call for a thorough investigation — not by Israel — and the immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel. 

Shireen Abu Akleh was covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp when she was shot in the face and killed. She was wearing a blue protective vest and helmet, both clearly marking her as press.

In a video showing the immediate aftermath of Shireen being shot, a man can be heard yelling, “injured! Shireen, Shireen, oh man, Shireen! Ambulance!” Al Jazeera journalist Shatha Hanaysha, also wearing a helmet and vest marked as press, can be seen crouching down trying to reach Shireen but being forced back by Israeli gunfire. The soldiers “did not stop firing even after she collapsed,” Hanaysha said. “I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots. The army was adamant on shooting to kill.”

Following Shireen’s death at their hands, the Israeli military said on Twitter that they were investigating the possibility that Shireen had been killed “by Palestinian armed gunfire.” However, documentation by Israel’s largest human rights organization B’tselem, shows that this was not the case. Israeli military spokesperson Kochav Ran on Army radio accused Shireen and her colleagues of being “ armed with cameras” and Israel’s Foreign Ministry offered to conduct a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority into Shireen’s “sad death.”

We know all too well from previous times the Israeli military has “investigated themselves” that such actions are a farce. We call for the immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel and a thorough and impartial investigation of Shireen’s murder.

Please see that justice is obtained for Shireen Abu Akleh. 

Sincerely,

Add Your Name

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Zoom with Congressional Staff to keep Masafer Yatta and Al Aqaba Standing

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Heartbreak to happiness: the difference is YOU!

I invite you to join a 30-minute Zoom Briefing with your Congressperson or Senator’s office to safeguard

  • 14 Palestinian Massafer Yatta communities in Firing Zone 918 in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills, and
  • 33 families in Al Aqaba village in Firing Zone 900 in the north, Jordan Valley.

To reserve your place on the Zoom briefing call, please

Email Congress Now.

So far, over 50 Congressional offices have written back to schedule. On the Zoom call,

  • Local experts from the region will join us
  • I’ll be calling in from the West Bank where Rebuilding Alliance is hosting a Congressional Staff Delegation in the coming weeks

You as their constituent are the most important person on the call because House and Senate offices only take action when constituents ask.

The largest forced relocation of Palestinians in recent years may soon be underway, but it doesn’t have to be like this. In Firing Zone 900, Al Aqaba Village pioneered a remarkable model of community development with no demolition orders for 12 years — it’s time to grow their model throughout the region. Actual evacuation is subject to the discretion of the Israeli military commander, so

Email now to press Congress to intervene.

Thank you for all that you’re doing.
Sincerely,
Founder and Executive Director

P.S. The clock ran out on the 96-hour appeal deadline for Nedah and his family in their new home, the family in the photo above. Technically, the Israeli Army can demolish any time after the deadline, but because Adv. Netta Amar filed their appeal in time, the Army must wait.

I was there with the family on Friday. If the Israeli Army unit had appeared, I would have been the one to present the appeal docs and explain that Americans are funding this home, along with the family.

Nedal’s family moved-in fast to save their home. It is cold and windy — they still need doors and windows: Please Give Now

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ENSURE ISRAEL NO LONGER DISCRIMINATES AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS

AJP Action calls on Secretary Blinken to demand Israel end the disparate treatment of American travelers as a non-negotiable condition in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The United States has consistently provided unlimited and unconditional political, economic, and military support to Israel, in violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the laws of the United States. No country, let alone a beneficiary of American taxpayer dollars, should get a free pass for discriminating against American citizens based on their origins and political views. This, alone, MUST immediately and unequivocally disqualify Israel from being admitted to the US Visa Waiver program.

Join us in making this demand by signing our petition!
TAKE ACTION NOW

AJP Action’s stance on Israel’s admittance to the US Visa Waiver program is clear: states that engage in egregious human rights abuses, uphold apartheid, and maintain an occupation cannot and should not participate.

In February 2022, Israel’s Coordinating Office for Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli Defense Ministry’s military administration responsible for issuing orders and policies concerning the entry of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, published a 97-page mandate called “Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area.

Effective May 22, 2022, the mandate complicates and formalizes previous written and unwritten restrictions for entry and requirements for foreigners wanting to visit, do business, reunite and reside with their Palestinian families, work or volunteer in those parts of the occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority (PA) civil and security administration, or study or teach at Palestinian academic institutions.

The new rules represent a clear Israeli intention to restrict, track, and trace the travel of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories, control Palestinian population growth, and keep data on the land claims of Palestinians holding foreign nationality. They blatantly differentiate between Americans of Palestinian origin, those with roots in the occupied Palestinian territories, and other Americans. In addition, they differentiate between travelers visiting Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and those visiting Jewish residents of Israeli illegal settlements there. Most notably, the new rules no longer treat the occupied West Bank as a separate geographic unit from Israel.

Israel’s record of human rights abuses, illegal annexation of lands, and the institutionalization of a system of apartheid are all contrary to the most basic of American values, let alone international law.

Take action now.
Sign AJP Action’s petition
and pass it on!

Speak Out Against Forced Displacement in Masafer Yatta

Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) firmly condemns Israel’s plans to ethnically cleanse the city of Masafer Yatta in the West Bank. We call on Congress to demand the State Department rebuke Israel for the forced displacement of over 1000 Palestinians, a clear and reprehensible violation of international and human rights law.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS. TAKE ACTION!

Capping off a 20-year-long legal battle between Palestinians and Israeli occupation courts, Israel’s high court announced that over 1000 Palestinians can be forcibly displaced from Masafer Yatta, a city in the West Bank. These Palestinians are victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing, displaced from their homes in order for their land to be repurposed for Israeli military use.

The Israeli high court’s decision is one of the biggest forced expulsion rulings since Israel began occupying Palestinian territories in 1967.

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses constitutes a “grave breach” of international humanitarian law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention which cites “extensive destruction and appropriation of property” and “unlawful deportation or transfer” as grave breaches of international law. As a result, Israel’s actions are subject to criminal liability. Moreover, the legal concept of universal jurisdiction obligates State Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to arrest and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.

Thank you for taking action against injustice and standing for Palestine; we won’t stop until it’s free.

Contact Congress Here!

Sincerely,
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action

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High Court Justices Know Israel Won’t Face Sanctions Over Masafer Yatta Evictions

The decision was released on the eve of Independence Day, when the Jews celebrate the founding of the State of Israel and Palestinians grieve for the loss of their homeland


Protesters against the evictions at the High Court building in Jerusalem, March. Credit: Emil Salman

Amira Hass, Haaretz, May 5 2022

Starting this morning, at any given moment, the Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces, the Border Police and the regular police are allowed to send dozens – and if they need to, even more – of soldiers and police officers into eight villages in Masafer Yatta and with their guns trained on them, put on trucks and buses hundreds of their residents – the elderly, the young, women and infants. And this will be done with a seal of approval from Israel’s High Court of Justice.

From today, subcontractors working for the Civil Administration, accompanied by civil servants and soldiers, are free to destroy not just an odd small hut or animal pen, but dozens of homes, including caves that were hewn out of rock to serve as residences long before the establishment of the State of Israel. All this is made possible under a decision by Justices David Mintz, Isaac Amit and Ofer Grosskopf to reject the petitions filed by the residents of Masafer Yatta against thir permanent displacement.

Starting this morning, at any given moment, the Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces, the Border Police and the regular police are allowed to send dozens – and if they need to, even more – of soldiers and police officers into eight villages in Masafer Yatta and with their guns trained on them, put on trucks and buses hundreds of their residents – the elderly, the young, women and infants. And this will be done with a seal of approval from Israel’s High Court of Justice.

From today, subcontractors working for the Civil Administration, accompanied by civil servants and soldiers, are free to destroy not just an odd small hut or animal pen, but dozens of homes, including caves that were hewn out of rock to serve as residences long before the establishment of the State of Israel. All this is made possible under a decision by Justices David Mintz, Isaac Amit and Ofer Grosskopf to reject the petitions filed by the residents of Masafer Yatta against thir permanent displacement.

The decision was released on the Supreme Court website on Memorial Day, the eve of Independence Day, when the Jews celebrate the founding of the State of Israel and Palestinians grieve for the loss of their homeland, their expulsion and being made refugees. The High Court justices couldn’t have timed any better the release of their ruling countenancing an expulsion and ending a way of life for these Palestinians – one that developed over more than 100 years and is characterized by family, economic, social and cultural interconnections and dependencies among the villages and between them and the nearest urban center. The destruction of eight of some 14 villages will destroy the historic and geographical fabric of life in the area.

In the historiographical debate about whether Israel is in its essence and character a colonial-settler entity, the justices have expressed a firm stance: Most certainly, it is. Because the essence of settler colonialism is the taking over of land by an immigrant population while expelling its indigenous (in the most extreme case by committing genocide), denying their linkage to the land and totally excluding them from the new political order that the immigrants have created. In this order, in which the indigenous population has no say or any rights, it’s natural for the new rulers to decide that a particular piece of land is needed for its army. Or maybe more settlers. Or maybe both. Masafer Yatta’s transformation into Firing Zone 918 is but another tier in a process that has been going on between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean for more than a century, and serves as an illustration of the continuity of Israeli policy.

The justices dismissed disparagingly the evidence provided by the residents – oral testimony, documents and physical evidence from the actual area – attesting to their connection to the place, past and present. And indeed, rejection of the historical and family memory of the indigenous population is an essential part of a settler-colonial political order, in which no consideration is given to its voice or past. The justices adopted with enthusiasm the position of the state, which held that the residents of Masafer Yatta had invaded the area only after the army declared it a training zone in 1980. In other words, according to the State Prosecutor’s Office and the High Court, a population of farmers and herders, who lead very simple lives, plotted in bad faith to prevent the area from being turned into a military training ground, choosing to live in a place without running water, electricity or paved access roads, without the right to build.

The justices chose to ignore the ways in which Palestinian villages and hamlets have sprung up and been created over the centuries. When the population grows and the number of sheep and goats multiplies, some of the residents of a village will move to other pastures and water sources, and gradually expand the lands they work, known and accepted to be their village’s. Caves might initially serve as homes and over time, as the population increases in those extensions, and as the needs change, more simple constructions are built – including public ones, such as schools and access roads. The original village becomes a town, or even a city.

After 1967, Israel acted determinedly to put a stop to these evolutionary processes in the West Bank. Declaring areas firing zones was one way to achieve this. Establishing settlements and the grab of more land and water resources was another. The High Court chose to feign ignorance and belittle the historical significance of a document submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel: a recommendation by Ariel Sharon, when he was agriculture minister in 1981 and chairman of the ministerial settlements committee, that the army sought to expand the firing zone declared in Masafer Yatta in order to prevent “the spread of the rural Arabs of the mountain down the side of the mountain facing the desert … and to keep these area in our hands.”

The attorneys representing the villages – Shlomo Lecker and the lawyers for ACRI, Dan Yakir and Roni Pelli – relied on Article 49 of the Geneva Convention: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

The justices rejected the claims of the plaintiffs that the court must honor this clause. Justice Mintz even asserted that Section 49 applied by “agreement” and not by “custom” – in other words, that it was the result of an agreement between countries and not one that a court inside any one state must necessarily honor. Attorneys Michael Sfard and Netta Amar-Shiff (whose amicus curiae brief she filed at the behest of the Masafer Yatta community council, was rejected by the court) said on Thursday that Mintz’s arguments were unfounded; as Sfard said, “This is nothing less than an embarrassing basic legal error.”

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Rights groups slam Israeli ruling that allows razing of villages

Israel’s top court rejects the petition against the expulsion of Palestinian residents from villages in the West Bank.


A demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag gestures as he stands next to Israeli forces [File: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters]

Al Jazeera, 5 May 2022

Rights groups have decried a decision by an Israeli court that paves the way for Israeli forces to forcibly expel Palestinian Bedouin communities in Masafer Yatta, an area in the southern occupied West Bank.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called on the international community on Thursday to prevent the transfer from happening, in what would be one of the largest single displacements of Palestinians in decades.

The call came a day after Israel’s high court rejected a petition against the forcible displacement of more than 1,000 Palestinians who reside in the area.

“The justices have thus proved once again that the occupied cannot expect justice from the occupier’s court,” the group said in a statement.

“The decision, weaving baseless legal interpretation with decontextualised facts, makes it clear that there is no crime which the high court justices will not find a way to legitimise.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has described the development as “dangerous”.

“The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” Caroline Ort, NRC’s country director for Palestine, said in a statement on Thursday.

“This is a dangerous step that must be reversed. If followed through, it would constitute a violation of international law which prohibits Israel as an occupying power from transferring members of the occupied population from their existing communities against their will,” Ort added.

Masafer Yatta spans some 36km (22 miles) and is comprised of 19 Palestinian villages that are home to more than 2,000 people.

The Israeli military designated part of the area a closed military zone for training in the 1980s, and “they have sought to remove the communities on this basis”, according to the United Nations.

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