June 14, 2022
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

Please join the #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders from Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar on June 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific time.

The webinar will share updates on Palestinian children’s human rights, including updates on Palestinian children who have been detained, killed, used as human shields, and had their homes demolished by Israeli authorities. We’ll also discuss how to approach our advocacy work in the long term to ensure it is sustainable while keeping grassroots supporters and elected officials engaged.

Background

Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.

Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.

Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

Children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived.

Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.

Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude confessions obtained by coercion or torture.

    ABOUT #NOWAYTOTREATACHILD’S WEBINARS AND ZOOM:
    For this webinar, we will be using the Zoom platform. Additional instructions and details for joining the webinar will be shared by email with individuals that have registered.

    WHEN
    June 14, 2022 at 8:00pm – 9pm
    WHERE
    Online via Zoom
    CONTACT
    Brad Parker · info@nowaytotreatachild.org

    Register for the Webinar

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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 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.

March 30, 2022
Caging Childhood: Palestinian Children in Israeli Detention

8:30 pm Central Online

Hosted by Defense for Children International-Palestine; Amnesty International; Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/Okanagan.

An online screening of the film Caging Childhood: Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System followed by a debriefing and question and answer with Shaina Low, the Advocacy Officer with Defense for Children International-Palestine.

Registration and More Info

“In solidarity with the Palestinian detainees, I refuse to show up in court!”

Judge issues an arrest warrant against Israeli anti-Apartheid activist Neta Golan

For Immediate Release
For more information : pressinquiriesantiapartheid@gmail.com, +972-(0)54-2340749

21.2.2022, Ashdod, Israel/Palestine. An arrest warrant was issued by the magistrate court in Ashdod against Neta Golan, an Israeli antizionist activist, following her refusal to appear before the Israeli court in solidarity with Palestinian administrative detainees.

Neta Golan, an Israeli citizen and anti-apartheid activist, wrote a letter to the court in which she stated: “I do not intend to appear at the hearing to which I have been summoned regarding an indictment against me. This act is in solidarity with the 500 Palestinian administrative detainees who are currently detained without a time limit, without an indictment and without their or their lawyer’s access to the suspicions against them, who have not attended the hearings about their cases since January 1st. I join the detainees’ demand that Israel stop its extensive and cynical use of administrative detention against Palestinians. The court that allows me rights as a Jew by virtue of my ethnic origin, and does not offer the same rights to indigenous people of another origin, is part of a discriminatory system that aims to encourage the preservation of a Jewish majority between the river and the sea. The same system commits criminal acts for the purpose of maintaining a regime of control by one racial group over another racial group and their systematic oppression. This is the definition of the crime of apartheid. And I’m not willing to cooperate with this crime.”

The Judge responded by issuing an arrest warrant for Golan’s arrest and set a new hearing date for 30.5.22

“If the court imposes a prison sentence against me, during the imprisonment no physical violence will be used against me and at the end of the detention period I will be released. Even these basic rights are not given to Palestinians; for example, the two million people imprisoned for the last fifteen years in the besieged Gaza Strip, including about a million children under the age of fifteen who were born and have lived all their lives under siege and under constant threat of deadly violence. Tragically, unlike me they cannot expect to be released soon,” Neta Golan wrote.

The court case is following Neta Golan’s peaceful protest at the Gaza border as part of “Return Solidarity”, a group of Israeli anti-Zionist activists that were demonstrating at the barrier fence besieging the Gaza strip in solidarity with the Great March of Return in 2020.

For assistance: info@gush-shalom.org

Breaking the Silence on Omar As’ad’s Autopsy

Breaking the Silence, 1/27/22

An autopsy conducted following the recent death of 78 year old Omar As’ad found “bruises on his head, redness on his wrists from being bound, and bleeding in his eyelids from being tightly blindfolded,” and concluded that the cause of death was a “sudden cessation of the heart muscle caused by psychological tension due to the external violence he was exposed to.”



 

Omar As’ad was a casualty of the occupation. He didn’t have to die that night. But he did, because in the eyes of the occupation no Palestinian can be truly innocent. Everyone living under occupation is subject to the IDF’s ‘demonstration of presence’ strategy, and if that means setting up a flying checkpoint, arresting and throwing a 78 year old man into an abandoned building site in the dead of night – so be it. As’ad’s death was a natural consequence of our approach to governing the occupied territories. Tragically, it’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

More: Haaretz Articles on the Killing

Israeli soldiers blindfolded and gagged elderly Palestinian American later found dead

Details of an army investigation obtained by Israeli media indicate troops didn’t seek aid for the unresponsive detainee, but none are likely to be prosecuted.


Mourners attend the funeral of Omar Assad, a 78-year-old Palestinian American who was found dead after being detained and handcuffed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Jiljilya. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Steve Hendrix, The Washington Post, January 23, 2022

JERUSALEM — A leaked summary of an Israeli investigation into the death of a Palestinian American in the West Bank after Israeli troops detained him this month suggested that no soldiers were likely to be prosecuted despite investigators confirming that the man was dragged from his car, blindfolded and handcuffed and then fell silent while being held at a construction site.

The leaks, reported Sunday by Ynet, the online service of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, included findings that the soldiers never sought medical aid for the man, 78-year-old Omar Assad, even though a military medic was at hand. Five soldiers, including a company commander and a platoon commander, told investigators that they thought Assad had simply fallen asleep and that he had demonstrated no signs of being ill. The investigation is being conducted by the Israel Defense Forces.

“We did not identify any signs of distress on him: a cry for help or, for example, the gripping of his hand to his chest,” the soldiers said, according to the report. They also confirmed that Assad was gagged and had his hands tied at the time, the report said.

But two witnesses who were detained at the same time have told The Washington Post that Assad was unconscious and not breathing when the soldiers left them in the courtyard of an under-construction house.

One of the detainees, Mraweh Abdulrahman, said he saw one soldier seem to squat on Assad and check his condition before consulting with other troops. One of the soldiers then cut loose one of the plastic ties on Assad’s wrists before all the troops departed.

Assad, a former Milwaukee grocery store owner, suffered from a coronary condition. He died of an apparent heart attack, according to Islam Abu Zaher, a physician who tried to resuscitate him at the scene almost immediately after the soldiers left. Assad’s face was blue when Zaher arrived, the doctor said, suggesting that he had been without oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes.

Palestinian officials said Sunday that they expect to release the results of an autopsy early next week.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on the leaked summary but denied that any conclusions have been reached.

“It should be clarified that no decisions have yet been made regarding the investigation case,” the IDF said in a WhatsApp message Sunday.

The Ynet report said the final decision on any actions against the soldiers would be up to the chief military prosecutor. But the leaked summary suggested that none of the soldiers or officers “would be indicted, nor have they been suspended.” Ynet did not say how it obtained the information.

The U.S. State Department has called on Israel to conduct a “thorough investigation.” Assad spent most of his life in the American Midwest and raised five children in the United States before moving back to the occupied West Bank about a decade ago.

“We are deeply concerned by media reports of the circumstances surrounding Mr. As’ad’s death and are gathering additional information about the incident,” the U.S. Embassy said last week in an emailed statement.

Military lawyers representing the soldiers said they were not responsible for Assad’s death, Ynet said.

“The Palestinian was lawfully detained during the operation in accordance with procedures,” they said, according to the report. “His death is not related to the conduct of the military force.”
But human rights groups condemned the suggestion that no military members would be held accountable. The Israeli group B’Tselem said the IDF probe was shaping up as a “whitewash.”

“The investigation will be over soon, the army will exonerate the soldiers and say their actions were in line with what’s expected,” B’Tselem said in a statement Sunday.

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Our Decision is Freedom — ‘No’ to Administrative Detention

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Declare Boycott of Israeli Military Courts

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, January 20, 2022

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Letter [English].pdf

In 2021, the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime deployed extraordinary violence against the Palestinian people, a key feature of which has been the expansion of the mass arbitrary arrests and detention of Palestinian men, women, and children. Under this carceral framework, Israeli occupation authorities have particularly increased their reliance on administrative detention, a procedure in which detainees are held without charge or trial based on “secret information” for an indefinite time. By the end of 2021, the Israeli military commander in the West Bank region issued 1595 administrative detention orders, including the renewal of previous orders and issuing new ones.

The Israeli occupation has increasingly employed administrative detention as an arbitrary, coercive, and punitive measure of torture against hundreds of Palestinian detainees. Such expansion comes amid and in parallel with the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime’s systematic harassment campaign against Palestinian civil society, most recently with the criminalization of six leading Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) in October 2021. Throughout, the Israeli military judicial system plays an integral role in facilitating the expansion of administrative detention, and more broadly, in sustaining and feeding the establishment of a comprehensive Israeli apartheid apparatus over the occupied territories.

Israeli occupation authorities increasingly rely on administrative detention to muzzle Palestinian human rights defenders, student and political activists, and target children. Often, administrative detention is leveraged to punish Palestinians undertaking outstanding hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention, including Hisham Abu Hawash, or to harass further and coerce released Palestinian political prisoners, as is the most recent case with lawyer Bashir Khairi. In 2021, six Palestinian children, three Palestinian women, and eight Palestinian Legislative Council members were held under administrative detention.

On 20 December 2021, Palestinian administrative detainees, 500 in total, announced their collective and comprehensive boycott of Israeli military courts, to begin 1 January 2022, under the campaign ‘Our Decision is Freedom… No to Administrative Detention.[1] This comes in light of the developments mentioned above, which represent a dangerous approach by the Israeli occupation to repress all facets of Palestinian life and struggle for liberty. The boycott includes Israeli military courts at all levels, including courts of first instance, appellate courts, and the Israeli civil High Court. Accordingly, Palestinian administrative detainees will refuse to participate in court procedures and hearings; their legal counsel will no longer attend or participate in the court procedures on their behalf.

In line with the Palestinian administrative detainees’ boycott of Israeli military courts, Addameer echoes the call for solidarity and to demand that local and international human rights institutions and State parties call on the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime to end its policy of administrative detention and release all administrative detainees currently held in Israeli occupation prisons.

The illegality of Israeli military courts goes beyond serious violations of the right to a fair trial—the basis of their establishment and jurisdiction itself is a grave breach of international standards and principles. The Israeli military judicial system is also inherently bound up with the use of ill-treatment and torture against Palestinians, especially during the interrogation process.

Seeking to better the fair trial standards in Israeli military courts is redundant; all efforts should be made to end the trial of Palestinian civilians in Israeli military courts and abolish the Israeli occupation itself. The international community must end its continuous silence and hold the Israeli occupation accountable for the various grave breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law. Such actions are imperative to maintain international peace and justice for the sake of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian political prisoners, the quest for liberty, justice, and dignity.


[1] The letter and call to action written by Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli occupation prisons is attached above.

BREAKING: HISHAM WILL BE RELEASED IN FEBRUARY!

Jewish Voice for Peace, January 4, 2022

We are overjoyed that he will return to his family and moved by his courage and perseverance in the face of unjust detention. He is continuing his hunger strike until he sees the signature of release on his documents. Hopefully, he can end the strike soon and make a full and swift recovery 🙏

Hisham abu Hawash began striking 141 days ago to protest his indefinite detention by Israel without charge or trial. His resistance is testimony to Israel’s failure to break Palestinians’ will and to suppress their struggle for freedom and justice.

We will continue to fight for the end of administrative detention and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners. #FreeThemAll