American Bar Association questions Israel’s designation of six Palestinian organizations

The ABA schools Israel on international law regarding the military’s decision to silence widely respected Palestinian voices by calling them ‘terrorist’


Sahar Francis, director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners rights group designated “terrorist” by the Israeli government. Francis is pictured in her office in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. December 2021. (Photo: Yumna Patel)

JEFF WRIGHT, Mondoweiss, MAY 5, 2022

In what must have come as a surprise to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the American Bar Association (ABA) has now weighed in on Israel’s designation last year of six Palestinian civil society organizations as “terrorist.” On behalf of the ABA, its president, Reginald M. Turner, wrote in a letter to the prime minister dated April 22, “We request that you review the concerns some in the international community have expressed questioning whether the procedures utilized [in making this designation] inappropriately deprive persons or organizations of their rights.”

The American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary association of attorneys
and legal professionals, “committed to… advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world,” according to its website.

In the ABA’s letter to Bennett, Turner wrote, “Advancing the rule of law is one of the ABA’s four goals, the objectives of which include working for just laws, including human rights and a fair legal process; assuring meaningful access to justice for all persons; preserving the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary; and holding governments accountable under law.”

The six targeted organizations are Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. As Turner wrote, “A number of organizations and officials have expressed concerns that these designations have been made on the basis of vague or uncorroborated allegations and target legitimate human rights activities.”

The ABA letter didn’t address the discovery that mobile phones of some of the Palestinian organization’ staff members had been previously hacked by sophisticated spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group, but a post on the European Union’s website cites a report by Front Line Defenders and charges that Israel’s designation was “premised on ‘secret evidence’ and information obtained using unlawful means… part of an ongoing institutionalised Israeli campaign of persecution and attacks to criminalise the organisations and cut off their sources of funding and support from the international community.”

Israel has provided no public evidence of its charges against the organizations, but has insisted that it has provided such evidence to the White House. When asked about the U.S. response to this attempt on Israel’s part to silence Palestinian human rights organizations, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly equivocated, saying that the State Department is looking into the charges.

The letter calls attention to Israel’s biased court system. The American Bar Association has thus added another respected voice to the growing criticism of Israel’s apartheid laws, policies and practices and, by extension, to the silence of the U.S. State Department on this matter. 


Reginald M. Turner Jr.,
ABA President

While the ABA “takes no position on the ultimate culpability of the designated organizations,” Turner wrote, “procedural rights guaranteed under international law would suggest that authorities should disclose to those organizations or their counsel the evidence on which the allegations are based to permit them to prepare a proper legal defense.”

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May 20, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh on WORT

Esty Dinur discusses Shireen Abu Akleh and related issues with Osama Eliwat of Combatants for Peace in Jericho.

Combatants for Peace is a non-profit organization of ex-combatant Israelis and Palestinians who have laid down their weapons and rejected violence. We are working together to end the occupation of Palestine, bring just peace to the land, and demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians can work and live together.

Israeli police ​attack funeral procession for shot journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh

TV images show Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh’s coffin falling as police grab Palestinian flags from crowd

Sufian Taha, The Guardian, 13 May 2022

Jerusalem — Israeli forces have attacked a funeral procession for a Palestinian American journalist shot dead this week, kicking and hitting people with batons and causing mourners carrying her coffin to lose balance and drop it to the ground.

Police said mourners were “disrupting public order”. Footage showed the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh on mourners’ shoulders outside St Joseph’s hospital in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as police rushed in and attacked people, several of whom held Palestinian flags. The sound of a stun grenade could be heard.

Israel forbids public displays of Palestinian flags and often prevents people from hoisting them at rallies and protests in the city.

A senior Palestinian figure, Hanan Ashrawi, tweeted that “savage Israeli ‘special forces’ viciously attack the funeral procession bearing the coffin” of Abu Aqleh as it left St Joseph’s hospital. “The inhumanity [of] Israel is on full display,” said the former Palestine Liberation Organisation official.

Police said they had held talks with Abu Aqleh’s family in order to “enable a respectable funeral. Unfortunately, under the auspices of the funeral and taking cynical advantage of it, hundreds of people began disrupting public order before [the funeral] even began.

“As the coffin was about to exit the hospital, stones began to be thrown at officers from the hospital’s plaza, and the officers were forced to use riot dispersal means.”

Police released a video in which an officer outside the hospital grounds addresses the crowd. “If you don’t stop these chants and [Palestinian] nationalistic songs we will have to disperse you using force and we won’t let the funeral take place,” the officer says.

Abu Aqleh’s coffin left the hospital grounds by vehicle and arrived at a Jerusalem church for her funeral.

The 51-year-old reporter was shot in the head on Wednesday morning in the West Bank city of Jenin during what her colleagues at the scene said was a burst of Israeli fire on a small group of journalists covering an expected Israeli military raid.

The Israeli military said its troops shot back after coming under “massive fire” in Jenin and that “there is a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit – possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen”. However, the Israeli military chief, Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi, later appeared to back away from those assertions, saying: “At this stage we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death.”

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The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh was fatally shot while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Credit: Al Jazeera, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Video broadcast by Al Jazeera, Shireen Abu Akleh’s employer, captures the sound of gunfire and yelling as Ms. Abu Akleh and her colleagues came under fire while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

The footage does not show the moment when Ms. Abu Akleh was shot, but after audible gunfire in the first few seconds, a man can be heard yelling: “Ambulance! Ambulance!”

The filmer moves closer, and Ms. Abu Akleh is seen lying motionless face down as a man and another journalist, identified by the network as Shatha Hanaysha, try to reach Ms. Abu Akleh but are forced back by gunfire.

In the footage, both women are wearing protective vests marked “Press” and helmets.

Another Al Jazeera journalist in the group, Ali Samoudi, was shot in the back. From the hospital, he said that they were clearly identified as journalists before the attack. “We were obvious,” he said.

— Sarah Kerr, New York Times

Shireen

Amer Zahr, The Civil Arab, May 11, 2022

Today, Israel assassinated Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Shireen is the face of Palestine for Al-Jazeera, the world’s most-watched Arabic-language media outlet.

 

Early this morning, she dressed in her press vest and helmet to once again cover the everyday horrors of Palestinian life under brutal occupation.

 

To be clear, Shireen was not simply executed by a single bullet precisely delivered by a single sniper. She was executed by a racist apartheid movement built on the notion that Palestinians are foreigners in our own land. Based on the belief that we don’t deserve life. And if you’re American, like I am, like Shireen is, that sniper’s bullet, and his elite training, were paid for by you and me, with the full support of our leaders.

 

Shireen is a daughter of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. She is a voice for the voiceless. An example. She is every Palestinian’s sister. She has told the truth about Palestine for over twenty years. And today, Israel decided that she had said enough.

 

And yes, I will keeping talking about Shireen in the present tense. I will never say “was” about her. That’s what they want. But they don’t get to steal her from us.

 

And they don’t get to steal her truth either. As if on cue, Israel immediately started telling everyone she was shot by Palestinians, while a number of Palestinian eyewitnesses and fellow journalists all told the same story: There were no Palestinians, only Israeli military, in the area.

 

But see, this has been Israel’s game for 74 years. They have always tried to convince you that we Palestinians have all been telling the same, unchanged, coordinated lies since 1948.

 

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Tell NYT: Israel killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh



MD2Palestine


May 12, 2022

Since Israeli snipers brutally killed renowned Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin yesterday, I—and many other Palestinian people around the world—cannot stop thinking of her.

Shireen is a legendary voice exposing Israeli war crimes against her people, and the Israeli state murdered her for it. Multiple eyewitness journalists report that Israeli snipers targeted Shireen in her press vest and shot her in the head, near the ear where her helmet didn’t protect her. This is not an accident. It is a targeted assassination by the same Israeli regime that our tax dollars fund by the billions.

Yet the media headlines covering Shireen’s killing have been shamefully inaccurate.

“Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Dies at 51,” reads the original headline in the New York Times, as if she had died a peaceful death. Such passive voice headlines completely fail to name the Israeli regime as the actor responsible for killing Shireen, whitewashing state violence. The NYT article quoted Israeli spokespeople’s lies early on without question, while burying statements from eyewitnesses and human rights group B’Tselem.

The result of this harmful reporting is devastating, because it gives the Israeli regime a free pass to continue murdering journalists and the Palestinian people with impunity.

We must hold media outlets accountable to telling the truth. Email the New York Times now using this JVP Action tool:

 
Shireen’s killing comes as we honor the 74th anniversary of the Nakba—Israel’s mass ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people in 1948 that continues to this day—and the first anniversary of the Unity Intifada.

This weekend, you can join protesters around the world taking to the streets. Find actions here, and carry these posters honoring Shireen and demanding justice for Palestine, from Jenin to Gaza to Masafer Yatta.

We resist until liberation and return. Thank you for taking action in the streets and by holding media outlets accountable.

In solidarity,

CAT KNARR
Communications Director

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