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.

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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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Palestinian Administrative Detainees Boycotting Court Proceedings

Read B’Tselem’s full paper on boycotting military courts

Dear Friends,

It’s a show the Israeli regime has been staging for years, by now casting thousands of Palestinians in it against their will. Week after week, month after month, administrative detainees are led handcuffed into courtrooms and hear what military prosecutors and judges have to say about them – and especially, what they do not say.

Act I: The prosecutor, a uniformed soldier, sternly proclaims that “the detainee is a threat to area security”. The judge, also a uniformed soldier, nods in assent. The defense counsel asks – why? Where is the evidence? Why not indict him? The prosecutor replies that all the answers are in the classified material the Israel Security Agency (ISA) submitted to the court. The judge nods.

Act II: The detainee and his defense counsel are taken out of the courtroom. The judge examines the ISA material alone. It is all classified. The detainee and his counsel are brought back in. The judge nods again and signs off on the detention order, at most shortening it by a few weeks. The detainee is taken back to prison, still handcuffed, still clueless as to why the judge nodded and why did he decide that he should remain in detention.

Act III (a few months later): The detainee has served the time stipulated in the order and is preparing to go home. Just then, the guard hands him another detention order. The show begins again: handcuffs, a court hearing, classified material, a nod from the judge, and back to prison. Still without knowing why, or until when.

And so it goes. One detention follows another, orders are issued and renewed, and the judge approves them based on classified material. Time and time again.

Over the years, administrative detainees have tried to protest these detentions. There were petitions and campaigns, several detainees went on hunger strikes, some of them almost to the point of death. Nothing helped. The Israeli regime carries on with more and more detention orders, and more and more administrative detainees.

Then, the detainees decided to quit the show. Since the beginning of 2022, Palestinian administrative detainees have boycotted the court hearings in their cases. After all, the show was never meant for their benefit, it was only meant to legitimize the detentions and deflect criticism. See, it’s not only the regional military commander who signed the order, but an actual judge!

Over the last four months, Palestinian administrative detainees have not attended court hearings in their cases. One of them explained: “It is my right not to be present in so-called court hearings, which are an arbitrary procedure controlled by the occupation. Administrative detention is unlawful, and the occupation regime’s intelligence services and so-called legal system are illegitimate. I do not recognize the lawfulness of these legal proceedings, of the court and of administrative detention.”

And then it became apparent that despite appearances, the detainees do not play the lead role or even a supporting one in their own hearings. The Israeli regime does not need them to keep the show running. They are silent extras. For four months now, the show has gone on as usual, minus the detainees and their lawyers. The military prosecutor makes his statements, the judge nods and approves the order.

Administrative detention is a cruel, draconian measure. Detainees suffer not only incarceration in rough conditions, cut off from their family, friends and daily life, but also unbearable uncertainty regarding why they are there and for how long. Yet Israel uses this measure extensively against Palestinians, with the ongoing approval of legal advisors, military judges, and the Supreme Court.

All these seals of approval do not render Israel’s use of administrative detention lawful or just. As is the case in a myriad of issues concerning Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy over Palestinians, here too, the Israeli legal system does not serve justice nor seeks to do so. It seeks only to represent the interests of the apartheid regime and to perpetuate it in the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sincerely,
Yael Stein
Director of Research

April 26, 2022: Webinar on the Palestinian Solidarity Movement


Presented by the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) and Mondoweiss.

Bob Herbst is a civil rights lawyer, co-chair of the ICAHD-USA board, and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Westchester, New York, Peace and Action Coalition (WESPAC).

Phil Weiss is a senior editor at a website that covers Israel/Palestine issues and Zionism, Mondoweiss.net. He lives in the Hudson Valley in New York and has long been a writer, working for mainstream news organizations until his opposition to the Iraq war and criticism of Israel made him persona non grata and he began writing on the internet. He is learning music.

April 22, 2022: Earth Day!

In-person activities from 350 Madison

    Friday 5 pm on Library Mall
    Saturday 10 am at the Capitol Square Farmer’s Market

and

Online: Frontline Demands for Climate Justice

Speakers from Palestine, the Philippines and other Indigenous Communities

This Earth Day, speakers from Palestine, the Philippines, and other indigenous and frontline communities will discuss the conditions of climate disaster in the midst of intensifying militarization. Under the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S.-backed Duterte regime in the Philippines, trees and forests are uprooted for settlements and extractive industries while land defenders are harassed and killed. Meanwhile, indigenous people here demand an end to criminalization and the return of their land. Clearly environmental justice means defunding the militarization that destroys both land and life.

Learn about existing legislation that focuses on ending U.S. complicity in human rights abuses supported by our foreign military funding programs, including H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, and H.R. 3884, the Philippine Human Rights Act, as well as other vehicles that advance international climate justice by centering those most impacted by the combination of climate change and U.S. backed administrations.

Hosted jointly by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the Malaya Movement USA, co-sponsored by Adalah Justice Project, Friends of Wadi Foquin, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, NDN Collective, and MADRE.

Carter Center backs six NGOs after ‘baseless’ terrorism ban by Israel

“These organisations are internationally respected because of the vital programmes they carry out to protect Palestinian society”


Addameer’s Sahar Francis read a statement on behalf of the banned NGOs [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty-archive]

The New Arab, 07 April, 2022

The Carter Centre on Wednesday confirmed it would continue to support six Palestinian civil society groups controversially declared terrorist organisations by Israel.

The centre, established by ex-US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, concentrates on human rights and is also well known for monitoring elections.

“These organisations are internationally respected because of the vital programmes they carry out to protect Palestinian society, and the use of their voices to draw attention to human rights violations,” Carter Centre CEO Paige Alexander said at a Ramallah press conference.

She confirmed her organisation continues to fully back the six NGOs, The New Arab’s Arabic sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported.

The six Palestinian NGOs banned by Israel last October strongly deny the Israeli claims against them.

They are Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), prisoners’ rights group Addameer, legal group Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

Alexander added: “More widely, we at the Carter Center recognise that these designations seek to delegitimise human rights organisations.”

“This is a troubling trend that can be noticed in many governments, using counter-terror laws as a guise for shrinking the space available to human rights defenders and civil society.”

She said the move “appears to be part of a broader strategy by the Israeli government to silence voices calling for accountability for the Israeli occupation authorities”.

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April 18, 2022
“Who Speaks for the Jews?” Series

    6 pm Central

Join IfNotNow and the Jewish Liberation Fund for this speaker series addressing the question of who holds the power to shape Jewish communal narratives, how they exercise it, and what we can do.

The Jewish Liberation Fund (JLF) mobilizes resources to sustain and grow a progressive Jewish movement and fund a Jewish future we can believe in. We pursue this mission by cultivating the seeds of the Jewish progressive movement as a grantmaker whose decisions are made by Black and Indigenous Jews, Jews of Color, Sephardim and Mizrahim; designing resources and courses for large funders to critically consider the role of philanthropy in dismantling unjust social systems; and organizing Jewish funders to take collective action to usher in new practices in the Jewish philanthropic space.

April 12, 2022
Webinar: The Israeli Military Detention System

    11 am Central

Palestinian Prisoners Day is April 17 and this month’s No Way to Treat a Child webinar will discuss the current and historical practices used by Israeli forces to detain and imprison Palestinian children. We will also share ways to build support in Congress for Palestinian human rights. 

Joint project of Defense for Children International-Palestine and the American Friends Service Committee.