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Israel’s detention of Palestinian human rights defenders condemned

Israeli security forces take positions outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison, in the West Bank city [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer has condemned Israel’s detention of three human rights defenders, in a statement issued following dawn raids yesterday.

Israeli forces arrested Khaled Zabarqah from Al-Lydd, Eyad Messk, who is the head of the legal unit at the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs, and Feras Al-Sabbah, the director of Al-Meethaq for Human Rights organisation in Jerusalem, in the raids yesterday.

All three are “lawyers involved with the defence of Palestinian prisoners”.

After being detained, “the three human rights defenders were taken from their homes to an interrogation centre in Petah Tikva, and are awaiting a detention extension hearing.”

“The detention extension hearings are a policy used by the Israeli forces to either start or extend the period of interrogation, or to buy time for the military prosecutor to file charges against Palestinians,” Addameer notes.

According to the organisation, “Israeli forces routinely target human rights defenders as part of a recently intensifying campaign against dissent”, citing the detention of Abdallah Abu Rahma from Beli’n, near Ramallah, on 20 November.

Read: Israel issues 40 administrative detention in 10 days

Abdallah is the coordinator of the Public Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements” in his village. He faces a hearing tomorrow but has not been given a list of charges.

Citing the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Addameer condemned Israeli measures taken against such individuals, who “organise and participate in protests and demonstrations against the Separation Wall and settlements”, exercising their “right to resist an occupying force”.

“Human rights defenders face ongoing forms of indiscriminate and arbitrary punishment long after they have been released. Requests from them and their families for permits from the Israeli authorities are consistently denied, they face targeted persecution and intimidation, detention and questioning at checkpoints, defamation, and, in some cases, re-arrest,” Addameer said.

“As the occupation attempts to silence voices of resistance, and to pacify an occupied population, Addameer calls on the immediate release of the three lawyers from the interrogation centre, also on the occupying forces to cease its attack on human rights defenders.”

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  • ricck lineheart

    Remember Rachel Corrie ? These defenders of Human Rights are lucky to be alive !…Israel is a racist and apartheid regime that lives on handouts as much as any welfare state , what a disgrace !

    • kirby1

      Israel is one of the most open societies in the world. Out of 5.6 million people, nearly 1.1 million-19 percent of the population-are non­Jews (815,000 Muslims, 163,000 Christians and 96,000 Druze).
      Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Today women hold 9 of the 120 Knesset seats. Eleven Arabs and one Druze are in the current Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s Consul­General in Atlanta. Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel.
      Today, more than 200,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel’s founding, there was but a single Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools.
      The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This was to spare Arab citizens the need to take up arms against their brethren. Nevertheless, Bedouins have served in paratroop units and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty. Compulsory military service is applied to the Druze and Circassian communities at their own request.

    • kirby1

      As far as you false claim of an apartheid Israel:
      – I could see the your point if you were directing your fury at any of the 22 apartheid Arab states that sponsor global terrorism but not Israel the only democratic country in the a Middle East.
      Arab apartheid / Muslim apartheid are the largest ‘apartheid systems’, that exist today.
      Virtually all non-Arabs and/or non-Muslims are second class citizens. Among minorities that feel the wrath of the bigoted Arab-Muslim world are:
      * Berbers (native N. African)
      * Copts (indigenous Egyptians suffer from both: Arab racism and Islamic bigotry).
      * Kurds (Examples include: [Saddam’s] Iraq and Syria.
      * Blacks, in Arab lands or in Arab ruled Africa like the genocide in the Sudan and slavery in both Sudan and in Mauritania.
      * Asians, particularly in the Gulf Arab states.
      * Maronites-Christians [Native Lebanese] suffer from both Arab ethnic racism and religious bigotry, like the massacres in the 1970s by local Muslims and by Palestinian/Syrian forces.
      * Assyrians, are/have been persecuted both racially and religiously. Still very much marginalized in Iraq, for example.
      * Iran is not an Arab country but racism is huge against Kurds, Jews, Turkmens, etc. So is anti-non-Muslim bigotry against Christians, Bahai, Zoroastrians and other in the Islamic republic.
      Unlike Israel with has an Israeli Arab judge on the High Court; an Arab judge who presided over the trial at which a former president of Israel was convicted; the Druze, Majali Wahabi, who was former acting president of Israel; the Arab captain of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team; another Arab as a member of the Israeli National Football Team; the former Miss Israel, an Arab women named Yityish Aynaur; the Druze historian and poet who was Israel’s ambassador to Ecuador; the Arab director of the Emergency Medicine Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem; the popular Bedouin pop singer who is at the top of the charts; the Miss Israel Universe, half-Arab and half-Russian Christian; the top model Niral Karantinji; the Druze major-general in the IDF; the Arab Christian woman who is the “Voice of Israel” competition winner; the Arab Muslim female runner-up in the Master Chef competition last year; the trio, composed of an Arab Israeli woman, a male German convert to Judaism, and a Jewish Orthodox woman, competing in 2014 to be Master Chef.