Demand the Release of Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin

A Petition to Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State; the European Union, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Khitam Saafin (left) and Khalida Jarrar (right)


Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association

Addameer calls for the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin, who were arrested in pre-dawn raids by Israeli occupation forces on 2 July 2017.

On 9 July 2017, Saafin was issued a three-month administrative detention order, without charge or trial. On 12 July 2017, Jarrar was issued a six-month administrative order. Saafin and Jarrar’s trials are both based on secret evidence; therefore, their legal representatives are unable to fully address the prosecution’s argument, which asserts that Jarrar and Saafin pose a security threat.

Jarrar is a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member and a member of the Board of Directors of Addameer. She has been the head of the Prisoners Commission of the PLC since 2006, and was appointed to the Palestinian National Committee for the follow-up to the International Criminal Court. Jarrar has been targeted by Israeli forces in recent years. She was released from prison in June 2016 after serving over a year, including one-month under administrative detention.

Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, has spoken internationally and participated in many worldwide events, including the World Social Forum, linking women’s struggles internationally with the struggle of Palestinian women for national and social liberation.

This practice of arbitrary detention is a grave violation of international laws and human rights standards, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention. Both women are prominent civil society leaders and additionally, their work meets the United Nations definition of a human rights defender. It is our belief that Jarrar and Saafin are being illegitimately targeted and punished by Israeli military authorities as a result of their significant human rights work.

Addameer reiterates its call for Jarrar and Saafin’s immediate release, as their detention constitutes an attack on Palestinian civil society leaders. Please take action and sign the petition now!

Delegation on Incarceration, Detention, and Political Prisoners




LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAY 2017 DELEGATION!

May 13 – 26, 2017

Incarceration, Detention, and Political Prisoners
Interfaith Peace-Builders
Co-Sponsored by Defense for Children International – Palestine

This delegation is your chance to explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace with justice and delve deeper into the issues of detention and incarceration, the Israeli military court system, and political prisoners.

Connect with leaders of the No Way To Treat A Child Campaign and gain knowledge and resources to organize against child detention and related issues. As with all IFPB delegations, you will also meet additional Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice as well as visit many impotant historical sites.

Get updates about this delegation, including how to apply to join, financial aid, and how we’ll support your advocacy after this life-changing experience.

SIGN UP TO LEARN MORE at Interfaith Peace-Builders

Founded in 2001, Interfaith Peace-Builders is an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization working to build movements of solidarity with grassroots struggles for justice in Palestine/Israel. IFPB delegates root their activism in the realities of Palestine/Israel. We build bridges and build movements. Join us!

Breaking: Berkeley Divests from G4S


Palestinian Rights Groups Cheer Berkeley’s Decision to Divest from Private Prisons

Friends of Sabeel – North America, FOSNA Voice, July 22, 2016

To see if your city invests or has a contract with G4S, or to launch a campaign, contact Rochelle@fosna.org.

Berkeley, CA, July 19, 2016 — The City of Berkeley will divest from corporations that operate private prisons and will push Wells Fargo and other firms to follow suit, according to a resolution passed unanimously by the City Council Tuesday night.

Enlace, an alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations, and the Afrikan Black Coalition, representing black students in the University of California and California State University systems, brought the issue to Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission in June. The commission found that “private prisons have been linked to numerous cases of violence including sexual abuse, beatings, turning a blind eye to gang violence among inmates, denial of food and medical attention, and atrocious conditions,” and urged the council to divest from corporations including GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and G4S.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) encouraged the inclusion of G4S in the list of companies complicit in the unjust prison system for its role in California prisons and in Israeli prisons and interrogation facilities that incarcerate and torture Palestinian political prisoners, including children. G4S is a target of the international Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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Ben Ehrenreich Writes a Love Letter to Palestine

Next we meet Hani Amer, whose farm lay on the route of the infamous wall. After a long struggle, Amer won the right to have his house and some of his land preserved . . . The Israeli Army built a gate that they opened for 15 minutes every 24 hours. . . Most disturbing is “planet Hebron,” where the list of abuses considered normal includes soldiers firing tear gas at schoolchildren to mark the beginning and end of each day of school.

BEN RAWLENCE, The New York Times, July 14, 2016

Children playing in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in 2007 (Ruth Fremson/The New Yorkr Times)

An intimate, vivid look at daily life in Palestine

THE WAY TO THE SPRING
Life and Death in Palestine
By Ben Ehrenreich
Illustrated. 428 pp. Penguin Press. $28.

“It is perhaps unavoidable and surely unfortunate that any book about the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea requires introduction, and some small degree of defensiveness on the part of the author.” So writes Ben Ehrenreich, a journalist and novelist, in the (avoidable) introduction to his love letter to Palestine, “The Way to the Spring.”

I say avoidable because, as Ehren­reich acknowledges on the same page, the current debate about Israel-Palestine is virulently partisan. His exposition of the politics of storytelling (“choosing certain stories and not others means taking a side”) and the task of the writer (“to battle untruth”) is eloquent, though I fear more likely to deter than move those who have already made up their minds on the issue. His cause would be better served by letting his stories do the talking, for they are both heartbreaking and eye-opening.

The book begins with Bassem Tamimi, whom Ehrenreich met in 2011. Bassem is a resident of the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, which had been holding weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation — protesting the grabbing of the village spring (its water supply) and the arrest and detention of villagers, as well as the death of one of them, a 13-year-old boy. The intimacy of Ehrenreich’s reporting domesticates the violence and injustice, thus rendering it more shocking: A fragment of a tear gas grenade and broken lawn furniture mingle beneath a fruiting mulberry tree in the garden. Children proudly show where an Israeli bullet scarred one of the rooms. Bassem’s wife, Nariman, reads Dan Brown in Arabic translation outside, at night, watching the brake lights of cars at the checkpoint down the hill.

The people of Nabi Saleh are among the few who still regularly protest and resist the occupation, and Ehrenreich accompanies them on marches, getting tear-gassed more times than I can count. But this is not the story he has come for, not the only one he is interested in. He spends enough time among the family of Bassem and others to realize that “the people of Nabi Saleh were crafting a narrative of their own struggle.” They needed “to see themselves a certain way.” And this is the heart of the book: the stories people tell themselves to survive.

Next we meet Hani Amer, whose farm lay on the route of the infamous wall. After a long struggle, Amer won the right to have his house and some of his land preserved but enclosed like a bubble with the wall divided into two loops. The Israeli Army built a gate that they opened for 15 minutes every 24 hours. Nonetheless, within the space, he has planted olive, fig, apple, peach and plum trees, vegetables of all kinds. “Instead of seeing the wall,” he says, “I try to see the garden.”

The narrative doesn’t linger for long with any one character. Like an over­eager tour guide, Ehrenreich has too much to show us and too much to say. He pulls us back to Ramallah to see the incremental theft that is the process of a new settlement going up. Then to the refurbished muqata’a, the official residence of the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to illustrate how the building works as a “palimpsest of 80 years of colonial and now neocolonial rule,” designed to create the impression of a state without the substance. Most disturbing is “planet Hebron,” where the list of abuses considered normal includes soldiers firing tear gas at schoolchildren to mark the beginning and end of each day of school.

We meet a new cast of characters in Hebron, and another in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Kheir, including the unforgettable vegetarian pastoralist Eid Suleiman ­al-­Hathalin, who makes model bulldozers out of scrap and whose ambition is to have one of them exhibited at the Caterpillar company’s museum in Peoria, Ill. In between are set-piece “interludes” examining the mechanics of the occupation — the “humiliation machine” of the checkpoint at Qalandia, the apartment blocks of Rawabi, near Ramallah, not, as the promotional materials and newspaper reports would have you believe, a “city of hope,” but in fact a tangle of financial interests tying Palestinian elites to Israeli developers and Qatari ­financiers.

Ehrenreich’s vivid, lyrical, sometimes snarling prose overwhelms the attempt at formal structure, however. The reportage motors forward, propelled by Ehrenreich’s wonder at the outrageous curiosities of the occupation. In Umm al-Kheir the Israeli Army dispatches a platoon to confiscate a portable toilet and demolish a bread oven. In Hebron, a settler scales a wall and snares himself in barbed wire to request that his Palestinian neighbor remove a Palestinian flag. “The citizens of each city are trained from infancy to unsee the other city and its residents,” Ehren­reich writes, citing a work of science fiction.

The book is not a polemic, Ehrenreich says in the introduction. This is argument by way of anecdote. The French writer Jean Genet also wrote a passionate homage to Palestine (“Prisoner of Love”) and also pondered the question of how the battle for truth is waged: “It’s not enough just to write a few anecdotes,” he warned. “What one has to do is create and develop an image or a profusion of images.” In those terms, Ehrenreich’s haunting, poignant and memorable stories add up to a weighty contribution to the Palestinian side of the scales of history.

Ben Rawlence is the author of “Radio Congo” and “City of Thorns.”

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