UPDATE: Violence and Ethnic Cleansing in South Hebron Hills

One of our members is personally acquainted with these people and provides the following update. Please sign the petition below and consider donating to help both shooting victim Arun Abu Aram and arrested rights activist Sami Huraini.

Palestinian human rights activist Sami Huraini was arrested by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani on January 9, just hours after participating in a nonviolent demonstration in the neighboring village of Al Rakeez, where Israeli soldiers shot an unarmed Palestinian man, Harun Abu Aram, on New Year’s day.

Abu Aram, 24, was shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers who were conducting a raid on what remained of his neighbor’s home after a recent demolition. The soldiers were attempting to steal a generator from the neighbor. Abu Aram is in critical condition, in an induced coma, and is permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

Here is a short video account of the shooting.

Despite a complete lack of evidence and the peaceful nature of the protests, Sami Huraini has been charged with obstructing the peace and assaulting an Israeli soldier. He was conditionally released on January 15 after paying a cash bail of 10,000 shekels, while the prosecution prepares charges. The conditions of release are extremely punitive. In addition to the non-refundable bail, he is required to spend each Friday inside (or more likely waiting for hours outside) an Israeli police station inside a settlement, and is forbidden from planning or participating in any demonstration. He remains under threat of immediate re-arrest and is at risk of being taken into administrative detention.

These restrictions are indefinite, while the prosecution searches for evidence against him, so it is essential to continue to insist that all charges against him be dropped.

Sami Huraini is a leading human rights activist in the Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) area. Residents of At Tuwani believe that his arrest is part of an effort to target him for his effectiveness as a community organizer and his leadership of the nonviolent protests that followed the nearby Abu Aram shooting. His arrest is just another example of the widespread targeting of activists by the Israeli military. The Israeli practice of trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts results in a conviction rate of over 99 percent and cannot be defended as just or democratic.

Sign a petition, addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the incoming United States Secretary of State, asking them to request that Israel drop all charges and restore Sami Huraini’s democratic rights to free speech.

Contribute towards bail and legal expenses for Sami Huraini via Palestine Partners (a non-profit based in Madison to assist women and activists in the South Hebron Hills area.)

Donate to the care of Harun Abu Aram & his family via our friends at The Rebuilding Alliance, see a video of the incident, and read updates on his condition.

Continue reading

Free Sami Huraini

Palestine Partners started this petition to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’.

Palestinian human rights activist Sami Huraini was arrested by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani on January 9.  The arrest occurred just hours after Sami’s participation in a nonviolent demonstration in the neighboring village of Al Rakeez, where Israeli soldiers shot and paralyzed an unarmed Palestinian man on New Year’s day. Despite a complete lack of evidence and the peaceful nature of the protests, Mr Huraini has been charged with obstructing the peace and assaulting an Israeli soldier.  

Mr Huraini is a leading human rights activist in the Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) area. Residents of At Tuwani believe that his arrest is part of an effort to target him for his effectiveness as a community organizer and leadership of the nonviolent protests that have followed the January 1 shooting in nearby Al Rakeez. His arrest is an example of the widespread targeting of activists by the Israeli military courts. The Israeli practice of trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts results a conviction rate of over 99 percent and cannot be defended as just or democratic. 

We ask that you call on the Israeli government to drop the politically-motivated charges against Sami Huraini so that he can continue his work to protect human rights.

Sign this petition

Racism in Policing in the US

BLACK LIVES MATTER RESOURCES

MRSCP supports the Black Lives Matter movement, both because of its inherent demand for justice and also because of the similarities between how the U.S. treats its citizens of color and how Israel treats Palestinians whether they are citizens of Israel, residents of Gaza and the West Bank, or refugees in the Palestinian diaspora.

We see shocking and undemocratic parallels of civilian populations being coerced and controlled by a system in which by intention or default they have little or no representation or power.

This parallel is particularly stark when it comes to the issue of policing, mass incarceration and population control.

So we want to pass on to you this set of resources for understanding the call for radical reforms of the justice and policing system in this country,

In particular, we hope you will check out this slideshow of infographics on visualizing racial disparities in this system.

Israel Sends Maher al-Akhras to Death

Ref: 115/2020, 02 November 2020

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights follows with grave concern the deteriorating health condition of Maher al-Akhras, as he enters the 99th consecutive day of his open hunger strike in protest to his administrative detention by the Israeli occupation authorities without charge or trial.

PCHR holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for al-Akhras’ life and stresses that his continued detention is effectively a death sentence, with the collaboration of the Supreme Court of Israel which has, to date, refused four petitions for his release.

PCHR reiterates that al-Akhras was forced to practice his right to go on hunger strike in rejection to the injustice practiced against him, and because he was stripped of all means to access justice within the Israeli authorities, except his own flesh to receive his right to a free and fair trial. Hence, PCHR expresses its concern for the suspicious international silence over al-Akhras’ continued detention, particularly by the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Al-Akhras was arrested on 27 July 2020, and immediately decided to go on an open hunger strike in objection to his administrative detention. He was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center in Israel on 23 September 2020, due to his critically deteriorating health as he began to lose consciousness and develop serious complications. The Israeli occupation offered him demeaning compromises, but he refused them all maintaining his position, “Either freedom or martyrdom.” In the past few days, al-Akhras’ condition got more complicated as he suffers seizures, and severe aches across his body, blurry vision and a severe headache.

On 27 October 2020, the Supreme Court of Israel refused al-Akhras’ lawyer’s latest petition for his release and transfer for treatment at a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank. The Court had previously refused petitions for al-Akhras’ release, the first of which was on 23 September 2020, the second was on 01 October 2020, and they were both denied for trivial reasons. On 12 October 2020, the Court refused the petition, adding conditions for the non-renewal of al-Akhras’ administrative detention. This was a crucially serious precedent, which set the automatic renewal of administrative decisions as the norm, as the Court decision stated that: “We suggested that the current administrative detention order be effective from 27 July 2020 – 26 November 2020 without renewal, provided that the petitioner immediately ends his hunger strike, unless new information on the expected danger of the petitioner is presented, or if changes occur in a manner that intensifies the threat of releasing the petitioner.”

Administrative detention is practiced by the Israeli occupation authorities under Article (273) of Military Order No. 1651. According to the Military Order, which is based on the 1945 British Mandate-era Emergency Regulations, occupation authorities may arrest whoever they want without charge or trial. The detention is based on information provided by an Israeli intelligence officer in the area, and it is not disclosed in the court, nor is it given to the detainee or their lawyer under pretext that is it confidential. The Israeli Military Judge is the only person who can view this information. Consequently, the defendant is effectively denied their right to defense, since there is no charge to refute, and the lawyer cannot provide counter arguments.

PCHR notes here that it has sent an urgent appeal to Mr. Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967; and Prof. Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to demand their immediate and urgent intervention for al-Akhras’ release.

PCHR expresses its grave concern over the continued administrative detention of al-Akhras and the suspicious international silence and holds Israel fully responsible for his life and safety. PCHR reiterates that the Israeli occupation’s policy and systematic disregard for international law shall only reap shame, whether with its continued adoption of the administrative detention policy or for al-Akhras’ particular case, especially under wide international condemnation for his continued detention by the majority of United Nations and international organizations.

PCHR condemns the Israeli authorities’ continued detention of al-Akhras despite his frail health and recalls its call upon the international community and the free people of the world and all UN human rights bodies and mechanisms to work for the immediate release of Palestinian detainee, Maher al-Akhras.

Lastly, PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to end the use of administrative detention and abolish it from its legislations and to release all administrative detainees in Israeli prisons.

To Prison, Again, for Protesting Against Israel’s Colonial Rule

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack pens a powerful Op-Ed in Haaretz on his arrest, putting into context his act of solidarity with Palestinians who face altogether different circumstances than his own.

The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009.
The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Jonathan Pollak, Haaretz, Jan 07, 2020

I am currently detained in an Israeli jail, the result of refusing to attend or cooperate with criminal charges laid against me and two others for joining Palestinian protests in the West Bank against Israel’s colonial rule. Because I am an Israeli citizen, the proceedings in the case are held in an Israeli court in Jerusalem and not at the military court, where Palestinians are tried.

>> Police arrest left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak in Haaretz building

It has been almost nine years since the last time I was incarcerated for more than a day or two. Much has changed since. Politically, reality does not even resemble that of a decade ago, and none of the changes were for the better.

Politically, the world seems to have lost much of its interest in the Palestinian struggle for liberation, placing Israel at one of the historical peaks of its political strength. I am in no position to discuss the profound changes within Israeli society and how even farther to the right it has drifted. Israeli liberals are much better suited for such a task, because they hold their country dear and feel a sense of belonging that I cannot feel and do not want to feel.


Jonathan Pollak at Hermon Prison in 2011. (Yaron Kaminsky)

Personally, I am older, more tired and, mostly, not as healthy as I was. Of course, the price I have paid for my part in the struggle is a fraction of that paid by Palestinian comrades, but I cannot deny its subjective weight on me: from physical injuries, some irreversible, through sporadic despair, anxiety and sense of helplessness, to the encumbering sensation of loss and the presence of death – and the grip all these have on my day-to-day life. And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Right now, just as it was back then, sitting in prison is better than any other alternative available to me.

The legal fallacies that riddle the case against us are of little significance. While it is fair to assume that had I agreed to cooperate, the trial would have ended up with an acquittal, my refusal to recognize the court’s legitimacy is based on two main grounds.

The first is that my Palestinian comrades do not enjoy the luxury of being tried in the relatively comfortable conditions of the Israeli courts. Rather, they are tried as subjects in the parody of a legal system that are Israel’s military courts. Unlike me, Palestinians do not have the option of refusing to cooperate with their captors, since the vast majority of them are tried while remanded into custody for the duration of their proceedings.

Additionally, the punishment Palestinians are faced with is significantly harsher than that specified in Israeli law. Thus, in this regard as well, despite refusing to recognize the court’s legitimacy, the price I am likely to pay is significantly lower than that paid by my comrades.

The second, more fundamental ground to refuse to cooperate is that all Israeli courts, military or otherwise, lack any legitimacy to preside over matters of resisting Israeli colonial rule, which employs a hybrid regime, ranging between a distorted and racially discriminatory democracy in its sovereign territory and a flat-out military dictatorship in the occupied territories.

Faced with the tremendous shift to the right in Israeli politics, the shrinking remnants of the Zionist left – once the country’s dominant elite group – are consumed by lamenting the decline of Israeli democracy. But what democracy is it they wish to defend? The one that has dispossessed its Palestinian citizens of their lands and their rights? The one that, at best, views these Palestinian citizens as second-class? Perhaps it is the democracy that governs the Gaza Strip through vicious siege while it reigns as a military dictatorship in the West Bank?

Continue reading

October 27, 2019
DREAMING OF FREEDOM Update



Palestinian Youth Under Siege and Occupation
with Yousef Aljamal, Gaza Writer and Activist

Sunday, October 27, 2019
2-4 pm
Christ Presbyterian Church,
944 E Gorham St, Madison, WI

Meet Yousef Aljamal, a young writer who grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza and lived through the three devastating Israeli military assaults between 2008 and 2014. He will share his experiences and insights about the lives of youth there and elsewhere in Palestine, including tens of thousands imprisoned by Israel’s military regime in the West Bank since 1967.

A contributor to the anthology Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza Palestine, Aljamal has recently translated into English the book Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak.

Both books will be available for purchase at the event. Yousef’s talk will be preceded by brief remarks from Rep. Mark Pocan.

Refreshments including baklawa will be served, and Fair Trade Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap and crafts will be sold. This event is free and open to the public, but donations will be gratefully accepted to fund another clean water project for Gaza kids.

Local Sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison, UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine, and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison. This is a national tour sponsored by Just World Educational.


Welcomed by WORT Radio. More information here and on Facebook. Listen to Yousef on WORT’s A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff:


Yousef Aljamal to speak on Gaza, detention of Palestinian kids, in USA, October

Just World Admin Anti-imperialism, Blog, Gaza, JWE news, Palestine

Just World Ed is delighted that October 13-29 we will be hosting Palestinian rights activist Yousef Aljamal on a speaking tour that will take him to the Greater NYC area, the Washington DC area, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Madison (WI), and Portland (OR). From Portland he’ll travel to Honolulu where he has another whole program arranged.

Continue reading

Act now to free Heba Al-Labadi

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Oct 28, 2019

Please take a moment to sign our latest petition demanding progressive U.S. presidential candidates speak out for Heba Al-Labadi, a 24-year-old Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship now hospitalized on her 35th day of an open hunger strike against her “administrative detention,” imprisonment by Israel without charge or trial.

Then comment on the petition – your statements will go to each of their Congressional offices and presidential campaigns! – and ask your friends to join you through the buttons on the site or links from Samidoun’s Facebook page and Twitter account.