Imprisoned Without Charge or Trial

Free hunger strikers now!

Urgent – Photo of Hisham Abu Hawash at 133 days of hunger strike as of December 27th 2021.

Hisham Abu Hawash is the last prisoner on hunger strike of the group that began in the summer of 2021.  On December 26th he was transferred to an Israeli hospital after a severe deterioration in his health. He has severe mineral deficiencies and is no longer able to talk or move unassisted. 

PLEASE SIGN & SHARE this petition to help free all hunger strikers & other administrative detainees, all imprisoned without charged or trial. 

Palestinian prisoners stage hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention – imprisonment without charges or a trial. Prisoners staging hunger strikes are at risk of serious long-term health affects, as well as sudden death due to dehydration and lack of essential nutrients. Why would they risk their health this way? The answer is clear – according to B’tselem in Israel, “the detainees have no real opportunity to mount a reasonable defense against the allegations” and have little recourse other that striking to gain their freedom under a policy the gives impunity to the Israeli occupation to imprison them indefinitely."

In Israeli occupation military prisons there are a total of 540+ Palestinians who are being held under the pretense of administrative detention. There are many who have been held for years without ever having the opportunity to prove their innocence or view the supposed evidence being used to justify their imprisonment. 

These prisoners often:

  • are denied access to their lawyers
  • are denied access to regular family visits
  • are placed in solitary confinement as punishment for hunger striking

We want to bring them all home!! 


Administrative detention is imprisonment without formal charge or trail, and in the case of how it is used by the Israeli occupation, often of a length of one to six months that is indefinitely renewable. Individuals imprisoned under Administrative Detention by the occupation, almost exclusively Palestinians, can spend years in prison without ever being formally charged, knowing why they were arrested, or ever seeing the supposed evidence being used to justify their imprisonment. Individual are arrested on the orders of the regional military commander and detained under the pretense of security based on supposed secret intelligence which neither the detainee nor their lawyers are allowed to review, verify, or refute to prove their innocence. (B',

According to B’tselem, “Israel also exploits this measure to detain Palestinians for their political opinions and for engaging in non-violent political activity.”

It is clear that Israel’s use of administrative detention does not align with International Humanitarian Law and is more often than not used to target and silence Palestinian activists, protestors or anyone who shows any dissent for the occupation, which is a gross misuse of such an extreme power. We must send a clear message to the Israeli Government that the use of this policy is unjust and not supported by the international community.


By signing this petition, you are part of a worldwide movement to free all hunger strikers, release all administrative detainees and end the mis-use of administrative detention by the Israeli occupation.

We, the undersigned:

  • Demand the immediate release of all Palestinian administrative detainees on hunger strike to avoid serious long-term health complications for detainees or loss of life: Kayed Fasfous, Miqdad Qawasmeh, Alaa Al Raj, Hisham Abu Hawash, Shadi Abu Aker and Ayyad Hraimi
  • Demand the subsequent immediate release of all Palestinians administrative detainees held in occupation prisons, or at the very latest the date of their case review 
  • Demand that Israel ceases the use of administrative detention to arbitrarily imprison Palestinians within the oPt (West Bank) and East Jerusalem
  • Demand that any future arrest of Palestinians (in the oPT or within Israel) follow the protocols of International Humanitarian Law that guarantee individuals know why they are being arrested and are granted proper judicial process (formal charges and trails) where individuals are able to examine the evidence presented against them and prove their innocence

PLEASE SIGN & SHARE the Petition

If you would like to read more about administrative detention under Israeli occupation, please go to:

Hisham Abu Hawash on 138th day of hunger strike

As 2022 dawns, Hisham Abu Hawash — Palestinian prisoner jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention — is on his 138th day of hunger strike.  His life and health are at risk at every moment, and the Israeli occupation bears full responsibility for his survival. Abu Hawash, the father of five, is putting his life on the line in order to put an end to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. 

Abu Hawash is about to be joined on 1 January 2022 by the collective boycott of his fellow administrative detainees. The 500 Palestinians (out of over 4,500 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails) held without charge or trial under administrative detention will refuse to go before the Israeli military courts from this point forward. They demand this sham system come to an end. 

As the world is marking New Year’s Eve, Samidoun Deutschland took to the streets of Berlin, with fireworks all around, to highlight the case of Abu Hawash and demand his immediate release. Watch and share the video here:

All of this points to why organizing is necessary to defend Palestinian prisoners and struggle for the liberation of Palestine. 

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a people-supported movement. As a grassroots organization without foundation funding or full-time staff, your generosity is absolutely critical to continuing to build our work to support Palestinian liberation.  Make your US tax-deductible donation today, or donate safely and securely from around the world. 

Alternately, checks and money orders may be written and mailed to:

    225 E. 26th St., Ste. 1
    Tucson, A.Z. 85713-2925

Thank you to everyone who has already supported this work — not only with your financial generosity, but with your action, involvement and participation for Palestine. We salute your commitment to the struggle for justice and liberation, in Palestine and around the world. 


As 2022 dawns, Hisham Abu Hawash on 138th day of hunger strike

Hisham Abu Hawash, Palestinian hunger striker detained by the Israeli occupation, is now on his 138th day of hunger strike. As the world prepares to welcome the new year, 2022, Abu Hawash faces a risk of death or permanent organ damage at any moment. His hunger strike continues as his fellow administrative detainees have confirmed they will collectively boycott the Israeli military courts beginning on 1 January 2022.

Abu Hawash, 40, married and the father of five children (Hadi, Mohammed, Izz al-Din, Waqas and Saba), launched his hunger strike on 17 August 2021 to demand an end to his administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial. Throughout his strike, he was repeatedly transferred back and forth between the Ramle prison clinic — notorious among Palestinian prisoners for medical neglect and negligence — and brief visits to civilian hospitals. The Israeli occupation avoided “suspending” his administrative detention until the last possible moment; now, in a very severe health condition, he is continuing his hunger strike while he is held in the Israeli Assaf Harofeh civilian hospital.

He suffers from blurry vision, inability to speak, severe muscle atrophy and cannot move; his awareness and perception of events around him have decreased significantly. He is visibly emaciated and suffering from extreme pain, continuing to refuse food for freedom. The Israeli occupation is entirely responsible for the life and health of Hisham Abu Hawash, now in great danger after nearly four months on hunger strike.

Because his detention was suspended on 26 December 2021, Abu Hawash can receive visitors, including his children and supporters from occupied Palestine ’48. However, he cannot leave the hospital or be transferred to a Palestinian hospital. Therefore, he remains in fact a prisoner and refuses to stop his hunger strike — because, as soon as his health improves, the Israeli occupation authorities will reimpose his administrative detention.

Abu Hawash has been jailed without charge or trial since 27 October 2020, with his detention repeatedly extended. While his legal appeals have been repeatedly dismissed, his detention was once again extended for four months while he was on hunger strike. The Israeli occupation also refused to confirm that it would not be renewed again. In multiple arrests, he has spent 8 years in total in Israeli occupation prisons, 52 months of that time without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Abu Hawash’s case exemplifies exactly why over 500 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention have announced that they will launch a collective boycott of the Israeli military courts and appeals courts beginning on 1 January 2022, as the court system only gives a veneer of legitimacy to an illegitimate regime.

Currently, approximately 500 out of the 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners are jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Administrative detention orders were first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and were later adopted by the Zionist project to target Palestinians. These orders are issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable; consequently, Palestinians are jailed for years at a time without charge, trial or even knowing when or if they will be released.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to save the life of Hisham Abu Hawash and support all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. He is confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, his life and health at risk at every moment, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. Organize actions to support Abu Hawash and his fellow political prisoners, including during the Week of Action to Free Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian Prisoners from 15-22 January 2022. 

Administrative detention — like the entire Israeli prison system — is a colonial weapon intended to target Palestinian resistance and isolate the leaders of the Palestinian people’s struggle. End administrative detention; free all Palestinian prisoners! 

Administrative Detainees on the Boycott of Israeli Occupation Courts

Continuing the determined national efforts to put an end to the unjust practice of administrative detention against the Palestinian people by the occupation forces, and within the framework of intensive consultations conducted by the prisoners’ movement across its full spectrum to organize a large movement, through a program of national struggle in which administrative detainees have participated in all areas, prisons and detention centers,

Continuing the previous steps taken by the administrative detainees to confront this arbitrary policy and unjust detention, and whereas the Israeli military courts are an important part of the occupation’s systemic efforts to suppress all the active forces of our people, to besiege, loot and confiscate every Palestinian right, including the Palestinian right to freedom, these courts are a barbaric racist tool that consumed hundreds of years of the lives of their children. Our people are under the hammer of administrative detention, through farcical sham courts, the results of which have been pre-established by the military commander of the region. This policy is being carried out against children, women, elders, sick and ill people, and the general population.

The cadres and activists of the Palestinian people are imprisoned under flimsy justifications with the goal of breaking the will and consciousness of our people.

Accordingly, we, the Administrative Detainees’ Committee, representing all administrative detainees in the occupation prisons, and in coordination with all of the organizational bodies of the national and Islamic factions, announce the following:

First: Launching our project for a comprehensive boycott of the occupation military courts for administrative detention, starting from the date of 1 January 2022 at all levels (initial, appeal, high court) under the slogan: “We have decided on freedom — no to administrative detention.”

This campaign will launch with coordination with the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, the Prisoners’ Society and other relevant institutions, a binding and general step, and we call on all legal institutions and lawyers to support us in our step through boycotting these courts in relation to administrative detention, with reference to the legal front of this framework.

Second: We call upon our free and proud Palestinian people in all areas of their presence, their forces and national and Islamic factions, student, labor and professional unions, and various movements to fully prepare to support our project as a national project that aims to repel the attack of the occupier and lift its oppressive hand of administrative arrest, which now targets any popular movement, expression or position opposing the occupation.

Third: What our people can do through their united struggle, formulating a comprehensive program of support, is what can guarantee victory for any battle, including what can be done through the media and social media, and pursuing all legal and media routes, in addition to highlighting this project in all national and popular movements with your effective support.

Fourth: Our message to all free peoples and democratic forces of the world, to all nations of the world and international and human rights institutions: Support our just cause, stop the guillotine of administrative detention on our necks, and besiege the occupier and its officers and judges of death in its unjust military courts.

Fifth: The project of our comprehensive boycott of the courts begins in a strategic form, in which we will build upon all efforts that have been made over the years and over the coming months, preparing towards a collective open hunger strike in the event that the occupier does not respond to our just demands in accordance with the norms of international law.

Our decision is freedom — no to administrative detention!
Administrative Detainees’ Committee
20 December 2021


Khatib: The PA is attacking the Palestinian prisoners’ movement; the Abbas-Gantz meeting aims to target the resistance

Mohammed Khatib, Europe coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and a member of the Follow-Up Committee of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement (Masar Badil), said that the correct approach for the Palestinian national liberation movement in dealing with Mahmoud Abbas and his cohort can only be to hold them accountable and isolate this defeated group, on the path to overthrowing the project of the “self-rule” Palestinian Authority.

He pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas acts as an agent selected by Zionist colonialism, and his recent meeting with the Zionist war minister Benny Gantz, which took place in Tel Aviv, is a new confirmation of the role of the puppet authority. We consider this a force hostile to the Palestinian people, a tool of liquidation of the Palestinian cause, and an integral part of the Israeli security and economic system.

Khatib said that the Abbas-Gantz meeting comes within the framework of the Zionist enemy and the United States to rescue the Oslo Authority, which has begun to crumble and crack due to the Palestinian popular rejection of the approach of exclusion, oppression and corruption on the one hand, and the escalation of the popular uprising and valiant resistance in the occupied West Bank of Palestine on the other hand, especially after the assassination of the struggler Nizar Banat.

He called upon the leadership of the Palestinian armed resistance forces to establish a unified national front rather than relying on so-called “reconciliation” with the Palestinian Authority, which we consider a waste of blood and time.

Khatib added that the escalating level of repression practiced by the occupation forces and their subordinates from the puppet PA against the strugglers in the West Bank, especially against the freed prisoners, has included the banning of mass gatherings celebrating prisoners’ liberation, the confiscation of resistance banners, a policy of political arrests, targeting of the student movement and other practices that prioritize the concerns and interests of the Zionist project, whose army recently deployed three battalions in the north and center of the occupied West Bank as it summoned Abbas to Tel Aviv.

Khatib emphasized that strengthening this cooperation between the “two parties” means that Gantz wants to facilitate the role of the security forces that play the role of a guard dog protecting the Zionist settlements, working day and night to target the forces and cadres of the resistance. In this context, the Zionist enemy also wants to perpetuate this useful relationship with the Oslo sector and give it some privileges and small bribes so that it can fulfill its role as an agent fully dependent on the decisions of the occupation.

He noted that the escalation of various forms of resistance inside and outside Palestine is a guarantee of achieving national unity in the field of action and popular struggle. This was achieved as a reality in the valiant popular uprising last May, when revolutionary and popular action was integrated throughout occupied Palestine and the diaspora.

Khatib called upon all forces and organizations participating in the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement to redouble their role in the coming year. The mission and role of the Palestinian diaspora in isolating and boycotting the Oslo “Palestinian Authority” and confronting the approach of normalization and corruption cannot be separated from the growing struggle inside occupied Palestine, as our national responsibility requires confronting the Zionist movement and its agents inside and outside Palestine.

He called for wide participation in the Week of Action to free Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners, which will begin on 15 January 2022. In its statement, Samidoun emphasizes the need to confront the path of “security coordination,” which has played a devastating role in the case of Sa’adat and his comrades and for hundreds of Palestinian strugglers.

Samidoun’s 2021 Year in Review

Have you seen our 2021 Year in Review? If not, please check it out — and these additional summaries, including a full report from Samidoun Spain — below :

And here are some new media reports: 


Samidoun chapters, affiliates and links around the world:

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has chapters and affiliates in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Palestine and Lebanon and we work with groups around the world. Would you like to form a local chapter or become an affiliate? Contact us at

Click here to support Samidoun’s work with a donation. 

Alternately, checks and money orders may be written and mailed to:

    225 E. 26th St., Ste. 1
    Tucson, A.Z. 85713-2925

Click here to donate to support Samidoun!

Urgent Letter to UN Concerning Detainee Hisham Abu Hawash

Ref: 61/2021
Date: 30 December 2021

Due to the serious deterioration in the health condition of administrative detainee, Hisham Abu Hawash, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) sent an urgent letter to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 30 December 2021, calling for an immediate intervention and pressuring the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to release Abu Hawash immediately and unconditionally.

PCHR indicated in the letter that Abu Hawash (39), from Dura city in Hebron, has been on hunger strike for 137 days in protest to his administrative detention. Abu-Hawash is fighting for his life despite the serious deterioration of his health. On 23 December 2021, the Israeli Prison Service ordered to transfer him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tel Aviv, as he became immobile and unable to speak or hear, and he is in a semicoma. On 26 December 2021, due to the serious deterioration of Abu Haawash’s health condition, his administrative detention was frozen, and his family was allowed visitation, but under the surveillance of hospital guards.

Israeli occupation’s practices against Abu Hawash constitutes a clear violation of the international humanitarian and human rights laws, and a flagrant violation of his right to a fair trial, including his right to receive a proper defense and be informed of any charges against him, which is guaranteed in article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This also violates the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
PCHR stresses that Israeli occupation’s practices against the detainees on hunger-strike reflect its racism and flagrant breaches of human principles and values, particularly as hunger strikes are considered the most difficult choice for prisoners to regain their basic human rights which are guaranteed in all international laws and standards.
PCHR points out that more than 500 Palestinians are currently placed under the illegal administrative detention, which falls under political detention.

New Film on Hebron at the New York Times

Mission: Hebron by Israeli filmmaker Rona Segal was published recently in the opinion section of the New York Times website, and can be watched there (with a subscription) or on YouTube.

Mission: Hebron is a short documentary based on interviews conducted by the director with Breaking the Silence testifiers about their service in Hebron. Describing a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, and violently dispersing protests, they paint a picture of what serving in the second largest Palestinian city in the occupied territories requires, the atmosphere in the city, their interaction with the local population, both Palestinians and settlers, and how they felt about it all.

Screened around the world at international film festivals, the film won the Shagrir Prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival and is now long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

November 20, 2021
Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System

Israeli soldiers knelt on top of 16-year-old Osama while holding him at gunpoint, arrested 17-year-old Qusai in his home at three in the morning, and forced 17-year-old Islam to sleep outside in the cold overnight.

On November 20, Universal Children’s Day, join us for the global premiere of Caging Childhood: Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System, a new short documentary produced by Defense for Children International – Palestine.

October 12, 2021
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

On Tuesday, October 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific, please join the No Way to Treat a Child campaign for a webinar to unpack U.S. military funding to Israel. We’ll discuss the different kinds of military funding that the U.S. sends to Israel, share updates from Capitol Hill that affect Palestinians and our advocacy efforts, and hear from grassroots activists working to advance Palestinian human rights.

Sign up for the webinar

Between the Iron Dome supplemental funding vote and the new Two-State Solution Act, it was a busy September with lots to track for Palestinian human rights activists. We’ll go into depth explaining how the recent events in Congress relate back to H.R. 2590 and how you can continue organizing in support of this bill and rights-based policy supporting Palestinian rights.

Everyone who registers will be sent information for how to join via Zoom. If you aren’t able to attend live, please register and I’ll send you the recording a few days after the webinar.

In solidarity,

Miranda Cleland
Digital Communications Manager
Defense for Children International – Palestine

Israeli Prison Denies Release For Daughter’s Funeral

Addameer, July 13, 2021

On 12 July 2021, following several communications submitted to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) for the temporary humanitarian release of Palestinian political prisoner Khalida Jarrar to attend her recently deceased daughter’s funeral, the Israeli Prison Service denied Khalida’s release on political grounds, citing the alleged “security threat” she poses due to her “[negative] leadership role” inside and out of prison. The denial of Khalida Jarrar’s release to mourn the sudden death of her daughter and participate in burial rights stands in stark violation of protected recognition of human dignity and family rights under international law.

Khalida Jarrar’s daughter, Suha Jarrar, was unexpectedly found dead in her apartment in Ramallah on 11 July 2021. Suha, a 30-year-old human rights defender, served as a Research and Advocacy officer for Al-Haq, working with United Nations treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council, specializing in gender, environment, and climate change. In response to Suha’s sudden and tragic death, regional human rights organizations began mobilizing international instruments and advocacy, calling for Khalida’s immediate and unconditional release, on humanitarian grounds, to attend her daughter’s funeral, scheduled for 13 June 2021, and mourn in human dignity. Addameer’s lawyers, representing Khalida, sent forth legal communications with the relevant local occupation authorities appealing for her temporary release. Nevertheless, the Israeli Prison Service responded to the communication, firmly denying the request and any possibility of further entreaty with an index of justifications that allegedly mark Khalida as a “security threat” ineligible for humanitarian considerations.

On 31 October 2019, Khalida Jarrar was detained once again by IOF and held in detention for months before her sentence on 1 March 2021 to 24 months in prison and a fine of 4,000 NIS. During the hearing session, the military prosecutor amended Khalida’s indictment, limiting it solely to her political role and work with the Palestinian Authority, thus establishing no charges against her in affiliation with any military, financial nor organizational activities.[1] Despite the sentence relating to her political activities, the IPS characterized Khalida Jarrar as a “security inmate,” thus falling under a category prohibited from temporary humanitarian release under the Israeli Prison Ordinance No. 03.02.00. In establishing her as a “security inmate”—constituting a “security threat” to the region, the IPS explicitly notes Khalida’s leadership role as a Palestinian Legislative Council member and former director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Her classification as a “security inmate” automatically sets her under more stringent rules and allows for greater violations and restrictions on her basic rights. Moreover, the IPS notes Khalida Jarrar’s “negative influence” inside and outside of prison, coupled with her previous arrests and administrative detention, further confirming the “security threat” she poses if temporarily released. In a base “humanitarian” gesture, the IPS allowed for one short phone call between Khalida Jarrar and her bereaved family.

In listing the purported grounds for the denial of the request for Khalida Jarrar’s humanitarian release to bury her daughter, the Israeli occupation regime explicitly relies on criminalizing Khalida’s political work and human rights activism as a means of establishing her “security threat,” thus depriving her of any inherent human dignity and humanitarian considerations. Furthermore, Israeli occupation authorities cement their determinations by citing her previous arrests and administrative detention, her systematic harassment and targeting by the Israeli occupation regime, never minding the lack of evidentiary grounds for her administrative detention or her most recent sentencing solely addressing her political activities.

Throughout Khalida’s work as a Palestinian civil society leader, former General Director of Addameer, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member, and role in the formulation of Palestine’s application to the ICC, she has been systematically harassed and targeted by the Israeli occupation regime. These efforts come as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinians’ exercise of political sovereignty and self-determination. Khalida has been detained by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) three times between 2015 and 2019 for an accumulated period of 59 months. Furthermore, Khalida was issued a travel ban in 1998, which was only lifted once in 2010 to receive medical treatment.

The denial of the humanitarian request by the Israeli occupation regime violates the essence of human dignity and family rights protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Fourth Geneva Conventions mandated upon Israel as the Occupying Power. The act confirms the retaliatory and punitive nature of the occupation regime, which denies the most basic humanity to Palestinians and where political activities, affiliation, and leadership are prohibitively taken against their rights and dignity.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association mourns the sudden death of Suha Jarrar and the tragic reality of Israeli military occupation that denies a mother the chance to mourn her daughter and participate in her burial. Notwithstanding, Addameer will continue to call for the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar and is committed to advocating for the actualization of the dignity and rights of Palestinian prisoners.

[1] Addameer, “Continued Targeting of PLC Member Khalida Jarrar,” 1 March 2021, available at: 

ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.

US congresswoman denounces ‘disturbing’ arrests of Palestinian children

Betty McCollum vows to push that US military aid to Israel is not ‘used in any way that violates the rights of any Palestinian’

B’Tselem says Israeli forces arrested five Palestinian children in the West Bank on Wednesday (B’Tselem)

Ali Harb, Middle East Eye, 11 March 2021

US Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democrat who has led efforts in Congress to hold Israel accountable for human rights abuses against Palestinians, denounced the arrest of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. 

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem had reported that five Palestinians aged 8 to 12 had been detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank near the settlement of Havat Maon south of Hebron for picking wild vegetables. 

The group shared video footage of Israeli troops in combat gear pushing visibly terrified Palestinian children into military vehicles. 

At one point, an older child tried to rescue another minor who was being escorted by a soldier only to be yanked away by another officer.

“Seeing the images of heavily armed Israeli soldiers manhandling and detaining these five preteen Palestinian children is extremely disturbing,” McCollum told MEE in an email. 

“Using Israeli soldiers to capture little boys who were reportedly ‘gathering wild vegetables’ in occupied Palestinian land is wrong.”

In 2019, McCollum introduced legislation to prevent US aid to Israel from contributing to the detention of Palestinian children, but the bill never received a hearing to debate it, and it did not advance out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“I intend to continue to work as hard as I can to ensure US taxpayer dollars provided as military aid to Israel are not being used in any way that violates the rights of any Palestinian, especially children,” the congresswoman said.

Israel arrests hundreds of children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem annually. A recent report by B’Tselem said 157 Palestinians under the age of 18 were in Israeli custody by the end of September 2020.

Last year, the United Nations called on Israel to release detained Palestinian minors amid the outbreak of Covid-19.

“The best way to uphold the rights of detained children amidst a dangerous pandemic, in any country, is to release them from detention and to put a moratorium on new admissions into detention facilities,” several UN officials said in a joint statement last May. 

“We call on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to do so immediately.”

Late in 2020, Israeli forces fatally shot Ali Abu Aalya, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy who was protesting against the occupation in the West Bank.

Unicef, the UN agency concerned with the well-being of children, condemned the killing of Abu Aalya, highlighting abuses against Palestinian minors in the occupied territories, including “232 incidents involved the injury of Palestinian children”.

“From January to September this year, according to UN data to date, 232 incidents involved the injury of Palestinian children, some of whom sustained long-term damage,” Ted Chaiban, Unicef Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement in December 2020.

“Unicef urges the Israeli authorities to fully respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of all children and refrain from using violence against children, in accordance with international law.”

‘Unshakable commitment’

At the time, McCollum denounced the shooting of Abu Aalya as a “grotesque state-sponsored killing”, calling on then-incoming Biden administration to investigate the incident.

“This senseless incident must be condemned as a direct result of Israel’s permanent military occupation of Palestine,” McCollum told MEE after the shooting.

“I urge the incoming Biden administration to fully investigate and verify to the American people that no US taxpayer-funded military aid to Israel provided material assistance enabling this taking of a child’s life.”

But almost 50 days into the tenure of President Joe Biden, his administration has been reluctant to voice any criticism of the Israeli government.

Biden has refused to move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv, cementing the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump. US Secretary of State Tony Blinken has also rebuked the International Criminal Court for deciding to investigate alleged war crimes committed in Palestine.

Speaking at a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Blinken reiterated the administration’s commitment to preserving Washington’s alliance with Israel.

“We have an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, and it starts with the president of the United States, who has been a long and strong supporter of Israel, its security and the relationship with the United States,” he said.

UPDATE: Violence and Ethnic Cleansing in South Hebron Hills

One of our members is personally acquainted with these people and provides the following update. Please sign the petition below and consider donating to help both shooting victim Arun Abu Aram and arrested rights activist Sami Huraini.

Palestinian human rights activist Sami Huraini was arrested by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani on January 9, just hours after participating in a nonviolent demonstration in the neighboring village of Al Rakeez, where Israeli soldiers shot an unarmed Palestinian man, Harun Abu Aram, on New Year’s day.

Abu Aram, 24, was shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers who were conducting a raid on what remained of his neighbor’s home after a recent demolition. The soldiers were attempting to steal a generator from the neighbor. Abu Aram is in critical condition, in an induced coma, and is permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

Here is a short video account of the shooting.

Despite a complete lack of evidence and the peaceful nature of the protests, Sami Huraini has been charged with obstructing the peace and assaulting an Israeli soldier. He was conditionally released on January 15 after paying a cash bail of 10,000 shekels, while the prosecution prepares charges. The conditions of release are extremely punitive. In addition to the non-refundable bail, he is required to spend each Friday inside (or more likely waiting for hours outside) an Israeli police station inside a settlement, and is forbidden from planning or participating in any demonstration. He remains under threat of immediate re-arrest and is at risk of being taken into administrative detention.

These restrictions are indefinite, while the prosecution searches for evidence against him, so it is essential to continue to insist that all charges against him be dropped.

Sami Huraini is a leading human rights activist in the Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) area. Residents of At Tuwani believe that his arrest is part of an effort to target him for his effectiveness as a community organizer and his leadership of the nonviolent protests that followed the nearby Abu Aram shooting. His arrest is just another example of the widespread targeting of activists by the Israeli military. The Israeli practice of trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts results in a conviction rate of over 99 percent and cannot be defended as just or democratic.

Sign a petition, addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the incoming United States Secretary of State, asking them to request that Israel drop all charges and restore Sami Huraini’s democratic rights to free speech.

Contribute towards bail and legal expenses for Sami Huraini via Palestine Partners (a non-profit based in Madison to assist women and activists in the South Hebron Hills area.)

Donate to the care of Harun Abu Aram & his family via our friends at The Rebuilding Alliance, see a video of the incident, and read updates on his condition.

Free Sami Huraini

Palestine Partners started this petition to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’.

Palestinian human rights activist Sami Huraini was arrested by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani on January 9.  The arrest occurred just hours after Sami’s participation in a nonviolent demonstration in the neighboring village of Al Rakeez, where Israeli soldiers shot and paralyzed an unarmed Palestinian man on New Year’s day. Despite a complete lack of evidence and the peaceful nature of the protests, Mr Huraini has been charged with obstructing the peace and assaulting an Israeli soldier.  

Mr Huraini is a leading human rights activist in the Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) area. Residents of At Tuwani believe that his arrest is part of an effort to target him for his effectiveness as a community organizer and leadership of the nonviolent protests that have followed the January 1 shooting in nearby Al Rakeez. His arrest is an example of the widespread targeting of activists by the Israeli military courts. The Israeli practice of trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts results a conviction rate of over 99 percent and cannot be defended as just or democratic. 

We ask that you call on the Israeli government to drop the politically-motivated charges against Sami Huraini so that he can continue his work to protect human rights.

Sign this petition

Racism in Policing in the US


MRSCP supports the Black Lives Matter movement, both because of its inherent demand for justice and also because of the similarities between how the U.S. treats its citizens of color and how Israel treats Palestinians whether they are citizens of Israel, residents of Gaza and the West Bank, or refugees in the Palestinian diaspora.

We see shocking and undemocratic parallels of civilian populations being coerced and controlled by a system in which by intention or default they have little or no representation or power.

This parallel is particularly stark when it comes to the issue of policing, mass incarceration and population control.

So we want to pass on to you this set of resources for understanding the call for radical reforms of the justice and policing system in this country,

In particular, we hope you will check out this slideshow of infographics on visualizing racial disparities in this system.

Israel Sends Maher al-Akhras to Death

Ref: 115/2020, 02 November 2020

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights follows with grave concern the deteriorating health condition of Maher al-Akhras, as he enters the 99th consecutive day of his open hunger strike in protest to his administrative detention by the Israeli occupation authorities without charge or trial.

PCHR holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for al-Akhras’ life and stresses that his continued detention is effectively a death sentence, with the collaboration of the Supreme Court of Israel which has, to date, refused four petitions for his release.

PCHR reiterates that al-Akhras was forced to practice his right to go on hunger strike in rejection to the injustice practiced against him, and because he was stripped of all means to access justice within the Israeli authorities, except his own flesh to receive his right to a free and fair trial. Hence, PCHR expresses its concern for the suspicious international silence over al-Akhras’ continued detention, particularly by the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Al-Akhras was arrested on 27 July 2020, and immediately decided to go on an open hunger strike in objection to his administrative detention. He was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center in Israel on 23 September 2020, due to his critically deteriorating health as he began to lose consciousness and develop serious complications. The Israeli occupation offered him demeaning compromises, but he refused them all maintaining his position, “Either freedom or martyrdom.” In the past few days, al-Akhras’ condition got more complicated as he suffers seizures, and severe aches across his body, blurry vision and a severe headache.

On 27 October 2020, the Supreme Court of Israel refused al-Akhras’ lawyer’s latest petition for his release and transfer for treatment at a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank. The Court had previously refused petitions for al-Akhras’ release, the first of which was on 23 September 2020, the second was on 01 October 2020, and they were both denied for trivial reasons. On 12 October 2020, the Court refused the petition, adding conditions for the non-renewal of al-Akhras’ administrative detention. This was a crucially serious precedent, which set the automatic renewal of administrative decisions as the norm, as the Court decision stated that: “We suggested that the current administrative detention order be effective from 27 July 2020 – 26 November 2020 without renewal, provided that the petitioner immediately ends his hunger strike, unless new information on the expected danger of the petitioner is presented, or if changes occur in a manner that intensifies the threat of releasing the petitioner.”

Administrative detention is practiced by the Israeli occupation authorities under Article (273) of Military Order No. 1651. According to the Military Order, which is based on the 1945 British Mandate-era Emergency Regulations, occupation authorities may arrest whoever they want without charge or trial. The detention is based on information provided by an Israeli intelligence officer in the area, and it is not disclosed in the court, nor is it given to the detainee or their lawyer under pretext that is it confidential. The Israeli Military Judge is the only person who can view this information. Consequently, the defendant is effectively denied their right to defense, since there is no charge to refute, and the lawyer cannot provide counter arguments.

PCHR notes here that it has sent an urgent appeal to Mr. Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967; and Prof. Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to demand their immediate and urgent intervention for al-Akhras’ release.

PCHR expresses its grave concern over the continued administrative detention of al-Akhras and the suspicious international silence and holds Israel fully responsible for his life and safety. PCHR reiterates that the Israeli occupation’s policy and systematic disregard for international law shall only reap shame, whether with its continued adoption of the administrative detention policy or for al-Akhras’ particular case, especially under wide international condemnation for his continued detention by the majority of United Nations and international organizations.

PCHR condemns the Israeli authorities’ continued detention of al-Akhras despite his frail health and recalls its call upon the international community and the free people of the world and all UN human rights bodies and mechanisms to work for the immediate release of Palestinian detainee, Maher al-Akhras.

Lastly, PCHR calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to end the use of administrative detention and abolish it from its legislations and to release all administrative detainees in Israeli prisons.

To Prison, Again, for Protesting Against Israel’s Colonial Rule

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack pens a powerful Op-Ed in Haaretz on his arrest, putting into context his act of solidarity with Palestinians who face altogether different circumstances than his own.

The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009.
The Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 2, 2009. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Jonathan Pollak, Haaretz, Jan 07, 2020

I am currently detained in an Israeli jail, the result of refusing to attend or cooperate with criminal charges laid against me and two others for joining Palestinian protests in the West Bank against Israel’s colonial rule. Because I am an Israeli citizen, the proceedings in the case are held in an Israeli court in Jerusalem and not at the military court, where Palestinians are tried.

>> Police arrest left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak in Haaretz building

It has been almost nine years since the last time I was incarcerated for more than a day or two. Much has changed since. Politically, reality does not even resemble that of a decade ago, and none of the changes were for the better.

Politically, the world seems to have lost much of its interest in the Palestinian struggle for liberation, placing Israel at one of the historical peaks of its political strength. I am in no position to discuss the profound changes within Israeli society and how even farther to the right it has drifted. Israeli liberals are much better suited for such a task, because they hold their country dear and feel a sense of belonging that I cannot feel and do not want to feel.

Jonathan Pollak at Hermon Prison in 2011. (Yaron Kaminsky)

Personally, I am older, more tired and, mostly, not as healthy as I was. Of course, the price I have paid for my part in the struggle is a fraction of that paid by Palestinian comrades, but I cannot deny its subjective weight on me: from physical injuries, some irreversible, through sporadic despair, anxiety and sense of helplessness, to the encumbering sensation of loss and the presence of death – and the grip all these have on my day-to-day life. And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Right now, just as it was back then, sitting in prison is better than any other alternative available to me.

The legal fallacies that riddle the case against us are of little significance. While it is fair to assume that had I agreed to cooperate, the trial would have ended up with an acquittal, my refusal to recognize the court’s legitimacy is based on two main grounds.

The first is that my Palestinian comrades do not enjoy the luxury of being tried in the relatively comfortable conditions of the Israeli courts. Rather, they are tried as subjects in the parody of a legal system that are Israel’s military courts. Unlike me, Palestinians do not have the option of refusing to cooperate with their captors, since the vast majority of them are tried while remanded into custody for the duration of their proceedings.

Additionally, the punishment Palestinians are faced with is significantly harsher than that specified in Israeli law. Thus, in this regard as well, despite refusing to recognize the court’s legitimacy, the price I am likely to pay is significantly lower than that paid by my comrades.

The second, more fundamental ground to refuse to cooperate is that all Israeli courts, military or otherwise, lack any legitimacy to preside over matters of resisting Israeli colonial rule, which employs a hybrid regime, ranging between a distorted and racially discriminatory democracy in its sovereign territory and a flat-out military dictatorship in the occupied territories.

Faced with the tremendous shift to the right in Israeli politics, the shrinking remnants of the Zionist left – once the country’s dominant elite group – are consumed by lamenting the decline of Israeli democracy. But what democracy is it they wish to defend? The one that has dispossessed its Palestinian citizens of their lands and their rights? The one that, at best, views these Palestinian citizens as second-class? Perhaps it is the democracy that governs the Gaza Strip through vicious siege while it reigns as a military dictatorship in the West Bank?

Despite the obvious nature of the Israeli regime, Israeli liberals are not willing to contest the fundamental premise of internal Israeli discourse and acknowledge that the State of Israel simply is not a democracy. Never was.

To join the fight to topple Israeli apartheid, the few Jewish citizens of Israel willing to do so will first have to recognize that they are overprivileged and be willing to pay the price of relinquishing that status. An open rebellion against the regime has been taking place for decades, carried out by the Palestinian resistance movement. The price paid by those involved in it is immense. Jewish citizens of Israel must cross over and walk in their footsteps.

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