Israeli Court Rules to Keep Palestinian Clown in Jail Without Trial

Mohammed Abu Saha’s arrest sparked an international campaign by circus performers for his release. Though no charges have been filed against him, Shin Bet claims he’s a member of the PFLP terrorist group.

Haaretz, Jun 13, 2016


Mohammed Abu Saha, a circus performer and teacher, has been under administrative detention since December 14, 2015

  • IN PHOTOS: Palestinians take protesting to the circus

  • Israel holding Palestinian circus performer in detention without trial for three months

  • Mohammed Abu Saha, a Palestinian circus clown and trainer will be held without trial for another six months, the Palestinian Circus School near Ramallah in the West Bank reported on its Facebook page on Monday.

    Circus performers around the world have mobilized in support of Abu Saha, 24, who has been in an Israeli jail under administrative detention since December 14, 2015. His original six month detention was to have expired on Monday, if it was not renewed. 

    “No freedom for Abu Saha. Administrative detention order extended with another 6 months. Our hearts are heavy. May Abu Saha be granted the strength to endure this big injustice,” reads the Facebook post.

    The IDF has yet to comment on the matter.

    The Shin Bet security service has said Abu Saha is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, and constitutes a security risk that could not be addressed any other way other than through administrative detention.

    Over the past six months, protests have been held around the world over Abu Saha’s detention without trial. Circus groups, including those in Spain, France, Denmark, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, have posted pictures of themselves on social media holding signs calling for his release. Activists have held small demonstrations and posted videos, including songs specially composed as part of the effort, on the matter. More than 12,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Abu Saha’s release. Amnesty International also called for his release.

    In response to an inquiry on the matter, the spokesman’s office at the Shin Bet told Haaretz in March: “Abu Saha was arrested on December 14, 2015 due to information regarding his recent activity in the Popular Front organization. In light of the danger that Abu Saha poses to the security of the region, and in the absence of an alternative, a Shin Bet recommendation was sent to the military commander to order his administrative detention.”

    Thank Rep. Mark Pocan for Speaking Up for Palestinian Children

    Just Foreign Policy, June 21, 2016

    Your Representative, Mark Pocan, was one of 20 signers of the Congressional letter to President Obama urging his administration to take steps to “address serious human rights abuses against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.” The letter, organized by Rep. Betty McCollum, calls for a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to work with human rights organizations, the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the rights of children are protected.

    According to a report from Defense of Children International-Palestine, three-quarters of detained Palestinian children suffer physical violence. As the lawmakers note, an ever-present fear of arrest, detention, and violence for Palestinian children both violates their human rights and serves to fuel the conflict.

    Please call Rep. Mark Pocan at (202) 225-2906. When you reach a staffer, mention that you are a constituent and thank them for using their power to uplift the human rights of the most vulnerable.

    And please share this video highlighting the human rights abuses Palestinian children face by the Israeli military occupation using the hashtags #700ChildPrisoners and #NoWayToTreatAChild.

    Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just,

    Avram Reisman, Robert Naiman, and Sarah Burns
    Just Foreign Policy

    Help support our work!
    If you think our work is important, support us with a $15 donation.
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    More information on the “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign
    Please support our work. Donate for a Just Foreign Policy
    © 2016 Just Foreign Policy

    Landmark G4S Boycott Victory

    As anti-BDS forces are trying to get various levels of government to “outlaw” BDS, it appears that some corporations are getting the message.

    Landmark boycott victory as G4S says it is leaving Israel

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 March 2016

    G4S has been protested by Palestine solidarity campaigners worldwide.G4S, one of the world’s biggest security and imprisonment firms, has announced it plans to end all its business with Israel within the next 12 to 24 months. (Anne Paq, ActiveStills)

    Palestinians are welcoming the news as a major victory and a sign of the powerful impact of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

    But they also warn that pressure on the company must continue until it has actually ended its role in Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinians, especially thousands languishing in Israel’s prisons.

    The announcement makes G4S the latest multinational company – following transport and municipal services firm Veolia, telecom giant Orange and construction materials conglomerate CRH – to head for the exits in the wake of sustained campaigns by the BDS movement.

    “Reputationally damaging work”

    G4S announced on Wednesday that it plans to “exit a number of businesses,” including G4S Israel, US “youth justice services” and UK “children’s services.”

    The Financial Times said that by ending these businesses, the company would be “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”

    Since 2010, G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars as a direct result of activist campaigns.

    Stop G4S, a global campaign endorsed by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, aims to hold the company accountable for providing equipment and services to Israeli prisons in which thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, children and administrative detainees are subjected to inhumane treatment.

    G4S also provides equipment for checkpoints along Israel’s wall annexing Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and for its settlements built in violation of international law.

    The firm also co-manages the Israeli police academy in Jerusalem.

    Lost contracts

    In recent months, G4S has lost contracts with two UN agencies in Jordan and with an international Colombia-based restaurant chain.

    Other lost clients include universities and trade unions. The Bill Gates Foundation and the United Methodist Church in the US divested major shareholdings from G4S.

    “As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said in a statement.

    “Investment fund managers are increasingly recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from Israeli banks and companies that are implicated in Israel’s serious human rights violations, such as G4S and HP, because of the high risk entailed. We are starting to notice a domino effect,” he added.

    But the BNC also sounded a note of caution, pointing out that G4S announced in 2013 that it would end its role in illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and one Israeli prison by 2015, but failed to implement the withdrawal.

    In 2014, G4S announced it would not renew its contract with the Israel Prison Service, set to expire in 2017, but is yet to implement that decision, the BNC also noted.

    “G4S has a track record of breaking pledges to end its participation in Israel’s crimes so BDS campaign pressure on G4S will continue until it actually sells its Israeli subsidiary,” Nawajaa stated.

    “No immediate effect”

    Continue reading

    John Quinlan Interviews Sahar Abbasi Baidon

    John Quinlan, Forward Forum
    KSUN Channel 983, November 2, 2015

    John Quinlan talks with Sahar Abbasi Baidon, a mother of four and Women and Children Activities Coordinator at the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in East Jerusalem.

    Sahar came to Madison on a national tour of Room Number 4, a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem.

    She shares stories from her experience and the importance of improving the life of children and women. Kathy Walsh from Madison-Rafah Sister City Project also joins the show to build awareness of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and help bring understanding between the two communities.

    November 1, 2015
    Room No. 4 Photos and Speaker

    room no. 4 handcuffed

    Sunday, November 1, 2015
    First Unitarian Society
    900 University Bay Drive, Madison
    1:00 – 2:30 pm

    “They left me in the room for 5 hours with my hands tied behind my back and my legs tied to each other. When I refused to confess, they slapped me and tightened the hand ties more and more.” 15-year-old boy

    Room No. 4 is a photographic campaign prepared by the Madaa Silwan Center and War Child Holland to illustrate the violations of Palestinian children’s rights in East Jerusalem. The 12 staged photos are accompanied by written testimonies from the children themselves. Room No. 4 is the name of the Israeli interrogation room at the Russian Compound Detention Center in Jerusalem. An additional 10 documentary photos of life in occupied East Jerusalem taken by Majd Ghaith will further demonstrate the violations of children’s rights from home demolitions to settler violence.

    Come hear from Sahar Abbasi Baidon – Direct from Palestine! Sahar is a mother of four and the deputy director of MECA’s partner, Madaa Silwan Creative Center, in East Jerusalem. Born and raised in Silwan, Sahar and has worked at Madaa focusing on projects to improve life for children and women. She works directly with children who are arrested, and her interviews and research (“The Impact of Child Arrest”, a study published by Sahar and Dr. Kasahun) are the basis for the Room Number 4 photo exhibit.

    Free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Madaa Silwan Creative Center in hiring a psychologist to help these children.

    Sponsored by Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison. For more information visit MECA or contact rafahsistercity (at) yahoo.com.