Forget the empty posturing of world leaders in Paris yesterday. This photo tells us what the Israel-Palestine “conflict” is really about.
Imagine for a second that the little boy – how old is he, eight, nine? – is your son, trying to adjust his keffiyeh because it keeps falling over his eyes and he can’t see anything. Imagine your small son surrounded by masked Israeli “soldiers”, or what looks more like a Jewish militia than an army. Imagine that the boy is likely soon to be bundled into the back of a military van and taken for interrogation without his parents or a lawyer present, or even knowing where he is. That he could end up beaten and tortured, as human rights groups have regularly documented.
Maybe you can’t imagine any of that because you, a responsible parent living in Europe or the United States, would never let your child out to throw stones.
Then you need to know more about the story behind this picture.
This photo was taken in Kfar Qaddum last month. The boy and his friends aren’t there to bait Israeli soldiers or indulge a bout of anti-semitism. Jews from the violent – and illegal – settlement of Kedumim have taken over their farm lands. Kedumim’s expansion has been further used to justify the army closing the access road in and out of Qaddum. The village is being choked off at the throat. In short, these villagers are being ethnically cleansed.
Parents living in such circumstances do not have the privilege of concealing from their children what is happening. Everyone in the village knows their community and its way of life are being extinguished. Israel is determined that they will leave so that the Jewish settlers next door can grab their land. Israel expects these villagers to join the rest of the aid-dependent Palestinian population in one of the ghettoised towns and cities in the bantustans of the West Bank.
Even little boys understand the stakes. And unlike your child, this one knows that, if he doesn’t resist, he will lose everything he holds dear.
Witnesses said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli soldiers broke into AL-Madareb, in Khirbet Abziq, and seized two agricultural tractors belonging to Fayez Nghneghya and Nemr Horoub, and took them to a nearby military camp.
They pointed out that seizures have happened repeatedly, in an attempt to harass citizens and force them to leave Khirbet Abziq.
More than two dozen tractors have been confiscated in different areas of the Jordan Valley, over recent months.
It is noteworthy that dozens of citizens living in Khirbet Abziq, mostly refugees from the pre-1948 occupied territories, are being deprived of many basic essential services under Israeli policies. The tractors are used for agriculture and water transference.
BETHLEHEM – A 16-year-old Palestinian detainee has had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation due to a severe injuries he sustained after an Israeli jeep hit him at an Israeli military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin last week, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.
Addameer wrote in a statement on Tuesday that an attorney representing Sharif Khanfar said the teen was with three of his friends riding a Vespa motorcycle when they were apprehended by Israeli forces for allegedly planning a vehicular attack on soldiers on Jan. 3, and were injured after an Israeli jeep hit them.
The statement contradicted reports from Israeli police at the time of the incident, which did not mention an Israeli vehicle being involved.
Initial reports from Israel media claimed the incident was a deliberate vehicular attack, but Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said later that it was an accident.
The accident occurred at a so-called “flying checkpoint” — a non-temporary Israeli military checkpoint — that had been set up between the city of Jenin and the al-Jalama checkpoint, which Palestinians use to cross into Israel from the northern occupied West Bank.
Al-Samri’s initial statement said that one motorcycle “bumped into” Israeli soldiers who were on foot at a military checkpoint, while three other motorcycles involved in the incident “fled the scene.”
However, she issued a correction later saying only three motorcycles had been involved — one carrying two Palestinians and another carrying one — without elaborating details of how the accident itself occurred.
A second Palestinian was severely injured in the incident, and a third was lightly injured. Two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured under unclear circumstances, though al-Samri seemed to suggest, without saying explicitly, that they were on foot by neglecting to mention the involvement of a military jeep.
Al-Samri also did not mention in her statements that anyone was detained after the accident or accused with wrongdoing. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Wednesday to confirm whether or not the teen was in fact being detained.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said they evacuated the two severely injured Palestinian motorcyclists to Israel’s HaEmek hospital.
However, according to Addameer, Khanfar was being detained by Israeli authorities in the hospital, which is located in the Israeli city of Afula, north of the border with the occupied West Bank.
Addameer’s statement said Khanfar and his family members were “shocked” by the incident that resulted in the loss of a leg, and denied that he and his friends had intended to carry out an attack.
Since a wave of unrest began in October 2015– largely marked by small-scale attacks by Palestinians targeting uniformed Israeli soldiers and police with knives or similar weapons — a number of deliberate car ramming attacks have occurred.
However, Israeli authorities’ version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, with officials in some cases later admitting so-called “terror attacks” were actually traffic accidents.
Amid the unrest, Israel has come under widespread condemnation for implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian committing or allegedly committing attacks. Among the more than 100 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers throughout 2016, 33 were minors aged 17 and younger, according to Ma’an documentation.
In addition to lethal shootings of Palestinian children committed by Israeli forces, Palestinian NGO BADIL has warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting Palestinian youth in a deliberate attempt to leave them crippled for life.
Rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, abuse, and torture of Palestinian minors in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
As we enter the last full week of Barack Obama’s eight year tenure as President of the United States of America, dozens of political prisoners still sit in cages across the nation’s prisons, rotting away as Obama consciously chooses not to exercise the power to simply free them with the stroke of a pen. Many activists for Puerto Rican independence, Native American and African American rights, and other causes were targeted by the political police’s illegal COINTELPRO program and convicted in sham trials. Now elderly, some in poor health, they may effectively be facing death sentences unless Obama’s decides within the next two weeks to grant their appeals for clemency.
Among the most well known political prisoners are Oscar López Rivera, Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who have all been locked up for at least three and a half decades. Many others including The Move 9 and The Holy Land Five have spent years or decades in jail for their political action and views. Many, like Chelsea Manning and Jeffrey Sterling, have been denied their freedom for their roles in exposing government crimes and misdeeds.
But you won’t ever hear this in the mainstream media. The corporate media hypocrisy is best demonstrated by the debate regarding political prisoners during Obama’s trip to Cuba in March 2016.
The U.S. government pretends that it always promotes human rights around the world and opposes human rights violations by other countries it considers adversaries. Hence, part of the propaganda narrative on Cuba is that it unjustly holds political prisoners as part of its campaign to repress the Cuban people – something that would never occur in the United States itself.
During a joint press conference with Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Castro why the Cuban government held political prisoners and whether he would release them. Castro responded by asking for the names of people Acosta was referring to, and said that if he was given a list, they would be free by that evening. The headlines from some of the most popular US new organizations declared that Castro “skirts question on political prisoners” and “President Obama and Cuban President Clash on Political Prisoners in Cuba.” The New York Times challenged Castro’s claim by citing Twitter responses naming Cubans purportedly imprisoned for their political beliefs and quoting a U.S. spokesman saying the U.S. had previously shared lists with the Cuban government.
The press coverage treated it as self-evident that only the Cuban government should have to defend itself against allegations of human rights abuses. That the U.S. President would not have to answer the same question was taken for granted.
But by the time the meeting between Obama and Castro took place in Cuba, all prisoners considered by Amnesty International prisoners of conscience had already been released. Meanwhile, Amnesty has directly called on Obama to free Leonard Peltier and produced multiple reports about his case.
However, no news organization questioned why an American reporter who covers the U.S. President every single day had never bothered asking Obama – before or during the press conference in Cuba – about U.S. political prisoners.
When I asked Acosta via Twitter why he was silent about U.S. political prisoners and whether he would call on Obama to free Peltier, he did not respond. In the following months, he has not responded a single time when questioned about his refusal to ask the same questions of his own President that he does of leaders of foreign (enemy) countries. It is easy to see why.
Journalists working in the American mainstream media see themselves as being on the same team as their own government, safely staying on the side of U.S. power by acting as a mouthpiece to promote the government’s own narrative and opposing those countries and leaders that the U.S. government does.
As the American press refuses to acknowledge that the U.S. has political prisoners, it is left to grassroots groups to demand justice. Recently, separate petitions calling for clemency for López and Peltier were created through the White House’s We the People web site, where citizen petitions that receive 100,000 signatures receive a response from the White House.
Both petitions exceeded the threshold and received the same dismissive response, passing the buck to the Department of Justice’s Pardon Attorney and refusing to comment on the individual cases:
“The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation – which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters – the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.”
Translation: The President doesn’t actually respect citizens’ right to participate in decision making, and feels free to ignore them whenever he chooses. The We the People web site is merely a propaganda tool to give the illusion that the president is responsive to the citizens he purportedly serves.
Indeed, Obama has closed his eyes and ears and shut out the voices of millions of people who have spent his entire presidency calling on him to show basic human decency and stop the perpetration of historic injustices against López, Peltier, Abu-Jamal and the many other political prisoners.
Throughout his term, Obama has been called on by fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates, foreign leaders, Puerto Rican politicians and others to free López Rivera. The case has become perhaps the most important political issue on the island, as well as among Puerto Ricans and allies in the diaspora.
Former President Jimmy Carter, who commuted the prison sentences of four Puerto Rican nationalists, including Lolita Lebron and Rafael Cancel Miranda, who participated in attacks on the Blair House and the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1950s, asked Obama to free López Rivera, as he himself had done for Puerto Rican prisoners convicted of more serious charges. (Carter’s Dec. 13 letter to Obama was not reported in any American corporate media, only in the Puerto Rican press such as the island’s largest newspaper, El Nuevo Dia.)
Despite years of being ignored, the people of Puerto Rico, who are denied their right to self-determination by the U.S. government and relegated to second-class citizenship without the democratic right to representation in federal government, have been unrelenting in continuing to demand Obama grant López Rivera his freedom.
Massive rallies have been held annually in San Juan and across the island on the anniversary of López Rivera’s incarceration each May. The group 35 Mujeres por Oscar (35 Women for Oscar) holds regular gatherings, the most recent on Jan. 6 for López’s birthday.
In a demonstration in October in front of the White House, in which nearly 1,000 people – many who took buses from Philadelphia and New York City – rallied for López Rivera, Puerto Rican recording artist René Pérez (AKA Residente of the band Calle 13), summed up the view of many people that it should be the government of the United States itself that be seeking forgiveness from Oscar López and the people of Puerto Rico. His speech is worth quoting at length:
“We’re here in the United States of America, in front of the government that has enslaved us for more than 100 years. The government that in exchange for a passport took our families to its wars. The government that experimented with our people, since they came implanting its language by force. The government that performed medical experiments on our grandparents injecting them with cancerous cells. The government that experimented with anticonceptive pills on our island. We, who understand [López Rivera’s] fight, are here to tell this government – the only government in the history of humanity to fire atomic bombs – that they have in prison a hero much braver than Washington. That this hero has been imprisoned longer than Mandela. That this hero became a hero without hoping for anything in return. We, who understand the fight of Oscar López are in front of the White House to tell this government that every additional second Oscar López spends in prison converts him in a hero much bigger than any of the heroes the United States has had. We are here to tell this government that even though the history books don’t tell us the real history that includes heroes like Oscar López, we will take charge of telling it. We, who understand the fight of Oscar López, are here to tell this government that we will never ask forgiveness for defending our right to be free. So we don’t ask them to forgive Oscar, but that they recognize the true history of the world, that they recognize the history of Puerto Rico, and maybe some day, after they free Oscar, we will forgive them.”
Obama has chosen to ignore the massive injustice committed against political prisoners in American gulags, likely because he refuses to acknowledge that the system he leads can – and often does – seek to silence and intimidate people into submission, using the legal system as a weapon to destroy the lives of those whose resistance of government power most threatens its perpetuation of the status quo. As Pérez said, perhaps someday people will forgive him.
Trump’s tweets and comments are having a good effect already. An ex-CIA director warns Trump’s Comments Will Lead to ‘Wave’ of Resignations.
Former CIA acting director Michael Morell said President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric will undermine the agency by causing a “wave of resignations” and affecting its ability to work with foreign intelligence services.
“First, expect a wave of resignations. Attrition at the C.I.A., which has been remarkably low since Sept. 11, 2001, will skyrocket,” Morell wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Friday.
CIA Worse Than Useless
The CIA is worse than useless. They did not foresee the fall of the Berlin wall, any number of assassinations, Benghazi, 911, or anything else meaningful.
Worse yet, the CIA spied on allies, helped overthrow democratically elected governments in Iran and Ukraine (with disastrous consequences). The CIA was directly involved in the kidnapping and torture of US citizens, frequently not even getting the right person.
- Guardian : Senate torture report to be kept from public for 12 years after Obama decision
- RT: 10 most shocking facts we found in CIA torture report
- Wikipedia: Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture
From the the first link above.
Barack Obama has agreed to preserve the Senate’s landmark investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11, but his decision ensures that the document remains out of public view for at least 12 years and probably longer.
The full Senate torture report, which documented brutality by the CIA against at least 119 detained terrorism suspects, will be held out of public view at Obama’s presidential library.
I also strongly encourage you to read ‘A constitutional crisis’: the CIA turns on the Senate
Liars, Torturers, Murderers
The best possible news would be resignation of the entire CIA.
Israeli navy ships attacked, several Palestinian fishing boats in the Sudaniyya Sea, northwest of Gaza city, on Thursday morning, causing one boat to capsize while a fisherman went missing in the aftermath of the assault.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said the fisherman, identified as Mohammad Ahmad al-Hassi, went missing after the navy sank his boat, and that Palestinian search and rescue teams are trying to locate him.
The ministry added that the navy fired live rounds at the boats, then flooded them with high-pressure water cannons.
One of the fishers said several navy ships attacked the Palestinian boats less than four nautical miles from the Gaza shore, causing excessive damage to several boats, including the boat that sank.
The attack is part of repeated Israeli violations against the fishers on Palestinian territorial waters, in the besieged and impoverished coastal region, and have led to many abductions of fishers, and scores of casualties, including several fatalities.
Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and Member of Knesset, is currently being held by Israeli forces on charges of attempting to bring cellphones to imprisoned Palestinians denied the ability to communicate with their families or political organizations. Ghattas has frequently visited with imprisoned Palestinians, including Palestinians from ’48, long-time prisoners held since the pre-Oslo era, and Palestinian political leaders.
Palestinian prisoners are routinely denied access to communications, whether with their families or their colleagues and comrades. Unlike Israeli criminal prisoners, they are denied access to telephone calls with their family members and can only receive short visits through a glass wall. Family visits are regularly denied under a pretext of “security.” In addition, many Palestinian political prisoners are leaders of the Palestinian movement, targeted for their leadership and political role. The denial of their communications and isolation of these prisoners is an Israeli attempt to silence and disrupt the Palestinian national liberation movement.
On Thursday, 22 December, Israeli authorities announced that Ghattas was being stripped of his parliamentary immunity and had been detained; his arrest was extended until four days until Monday, 26 December on the grounds of “security of the state.” The further extension of his detention will be considered at the Rishon Letzion court at 4:00 pm, while a protest will gather outside organized by Palestinian political groups in ’48 Palestine demanding his immediate release.
Ghattas emphasized following a three-hour interrogation session – before his arrest – that the Palestinian prisoners are human beings first and foremost and that he has always acted to support the prisoners as a humanitarian and moral manner, emphasizing the suffering and isolation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the importance of highlighting the cause of the prisoners.
Ghattas’ detention is being pursued on the pretext that he “poses a risk to the security” of the state or its citizens. His political party, Balad or the National Democratic Aliance (NDA), has engaged in a series of protests demanding Ghattas’ freedom from this “political targeting.” Awad Abdel Fattah said that “This arrest is a continuation of the political persecution of our leadership, our people in general, and the national movement.” MK Jamal Zahalka said that “Despite all borders and laws, he has acted only to help his imprisoned people. We refuse to take the issue of prisoners for granted.”
Ghattas visited Palestinian prisoners Walid Daqqa and Basel al-Bisra in the Ketziot Negev prison last week; he is accused of bringing them several cell phones. While Israeli officials also claimed that he had brought “encrypted messages” to the prisoners, Ghattas and his lawyer Lea Tsemel noted – as was confirmed even by the judge in the case on Friday, 23 December – that these were the political documents and publications of the Balad party and “not a security matter.” Daqqa has spent over 30 years in Israeli prison.
Ghattas noted that the decision to pursue him and strip his immunity was clearly a political action, as other members of Knesset had not had their immunity stripped despite charges of rape, harassment, theft, embezzlement and bribery, including people who were later convicted and sentenced.
In addition to the arrest of Ghattas – which follows on a series of arrests and raids that targeted the NDA’s political activities – and the repression of Palestinian organizing in Palestine ’48, the Israeli state is also attempting to further isolate Palestinian prisoners. On Tuesday, 20 December, the Knesset approved a bill by Internal Security minister Gilad Erdan to prevent MKs from visiting Palestinian security prisoners, obviously targeting MKs who are Palestinian citizens of Israel. Erdan openly spoke to his motivations, saying that “these visits provide a popular platform for the prisoners… and thus impact the security of the state.”
Palestinian lawyer Jehad Abu Raya wrote that “The detentions and harassment of Palestinians and their leaders in 1948 Palestine, including the Knesset member Basel Ghattas, are part of a strategy which Israel has pursed against its Arab citizens since the Nakba. This strategy is aimed at domesticating and defeating Palestinians and at punishing whomever is tempted to challenge the Jewish state.” He noted the ongoing imprisonment of Palestinians in ’48, including Sheikh Raed Salah and former MK Said Nafaa.
Ghattas also participated in the third Freedom Flotilla to break the siege on Gaza. In response to the arrest of Ghattas, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition issued a statement highlighting the isolation and silencing of Palestinian prisoners and calling for phones to be distributed to Palestinian prisoners. “The Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails… are entitled to their basic right of communication with their loved ones. If the system does not allow it, civil disobedience is the only route.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Basel Ghattas and all Palestinian political prisoners. The political persecution of Ghattas is another attempt to suppress Palestinian organizing and existence in Palestine ’48 and to isolate and cut the communications of Palestinian political prisoners. It is part and parcel of the campaign of isolation and silence waged by the Israeli occupation against over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners.
In another example of the lengthy sentencing practices especially targeting Palestinian youth and women in Jerusalem, Shorouq Dwayyat was sentenced to 16 years in Israeli prison by a Jerusalem court on Sunday, 25 December. Dwayyat, 19, from the village of Sur Baher, was also fined 80,000 NIS (approximately $21,000.) She was shot by an Israeli settler and seized by occupation forces on 7 October 2015 in eastern Jerusalem and accused of attempting to stab an Israeli settler. Witnesses reported that she was harassed by the settler prior to the alleged incident.
Dwayyat is a student at Bethlehem University who was studying history and geography. She graduated from high school, achieving a result of 90% in the national secondary Tawjihi examinations in 2015.
Classes at the university were cancelled for two days after her shooting and arrest in October 2015.
Dwayyat was severely injured by the four bullets lodged within her body, unlike the Israeli man she was accused of attempting to stab, who suffered no serious injuries. Following the court’s ruling, the Israeli Interior Ministry stripped the imprisoned Dwayyat of her Jerusalem residency, claiming “breach of trust,” using the case as a mechanism to further the Israeli state policy of attacking Palestinian existence in Jerusalem. Amjad Abu Assab of the Prisoners’ Committee in Jerusalem said that “this is a racist policy… with the aim of killing the spirit of challenge by Jerusalemites and preventing any manifestation of rejection of occupation in the occupied city of Jerusalem.”
She is one of 52 Palestinian women – including 12 minor girls – imprisoned in HaSharon and Damon Israeli prisons and now is serving one of the longest sentences. The longest-held Palestinian woman prisoner, Lena Jarbouni, is serving a 17-year sentence in Israeli prison. The recent trend of particularly elevated sentences include those against Maysoon Musa (15 years), Nurhan Awad (13.5 years) and Israa Jaabis (11 years).
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the child has been identified as Ward Abdul-Qader Hamed, 15, and that he was abducted after the soldiers stopped him at the western entrance of the town.
It is worth mentioning that the abducted child is the son of Qaddoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
Omar Nazzal and Adib Al-Atrash: Palestinian journalists ordered to further imprisonment without charge or trial
Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal was ordered to three more months in administrative detention on Monday, 12 December. This marked the third renewal of his administrative detention order since he was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 23 April 2016 as he sought to cross the bridge to Jordan in order to travel to the European Federation of Journalists’ conference in Sarajevo. Nazzal is a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and president of the Democratic Journalists’ Assembly.
At a previous hearing on 22 November, Nazzal’s administrative detention was limited to a one and a half month extension; he was told he would be released on 24 December. Instead, however, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association reported that the extension of his detention was for a full three months.
On Wednesday, 15 December, fellow journalist Adib al-Atrash was also ordered to another three months in administrative detention without charge or trial. Arrested in June, this marks the third consecutive time al-Atrash has received an order for three months of imprisonment without charge or trial.
Tens of Palestinian journalists are imprisoned in Israeli jails, several in administrative detention without charge or trial, including Addameer media officer Hasan Safadi whose own detention was just extended for six months. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable by Israeli military order and Palestinians can spend years at a time imprisoned without charge or trial.
Fayez Sharary, a British citizen of Palestinian descent, has now been held in Israeli prisons for nearly three months. He traveled with his wife Laila and their daughter, Aya, 3, to Palestine, to visit Laila’s widowed mother and to mark Eid al-Adha in Jerusalem, reports Inminds, the British organization currently leading a campaign to free Sharary. As the family attempted to leave Palestine on 15 September at the bridge to Jordan, they were stopped by Israeli forces; they had a flight scheduled for 17 September to return to the UK.
Sharary was separated from his wife and daughter, while he was interrogated for five hours while his daugher was refused access to a toilet. Laila’s mobile phone was confiscated and Sharary was detained; when she attempted to refuse to leave and stay with her husband, Israeli soldiers screamed at her.
Sharary was held for three weeks in Petah Tikva interrogation center and subject to ill-treatment, abuse and torture throughout that time. He was denied access to a lawyer until he signed a forced confession on 6 October and was moved to Ofer prison. Sharary’s torture by Israeli forces was further substantiated by Judge Azriel Levi, who ordered his release in a hearing in Ofer military court on 26 October, citing his confession as a result of “the method of interrogation, which included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant’s demonstrated weakness.” The military judge further said that the confession had a value of “less than zero” and that some of the allegations against Sharary were not prosecutable in the military courts.
However, as is frequently the case when on the rare occasion a military judge orders the release of a detainee, the Israeli military prosecution appealed and Sharary has remained imprisoned ever since.
Daniel Zeichner, the British Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Transport, raised a parliamentary question regarding the involvement of the British consulate in providing support for Sharary’s case; Tobias Ellwood, under-secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, replied that “Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised, and continues to raise, the detention of Mr Sharary with the Israeli authorities, most recently on 15 November. Consular officials continue to provide consular support to Mr Sharary and his family.”
Laila Sharary has participated in several protests in London demanding that the UK government act to free her imprisoned husband, 49, who has lived in the UK for 23 years. Sharary is allegedly accused of “contact with an enemy organization,” “services to an illegal organization,” and “bringing money into the region from an enemy.” Part of these allegations allegedly relate to Sharary’s time in Lebanon in 1993 or earlier; Sharary is not a resident of Palestine. The initial judge in the case who ordered Sharary released also dismissed the allegations of financial involvement due to irrelevant claims by the military prosecutor.
Despite these flimsy charges and his experience of torture – all too common, but publicly confirmed in this case by an Israeli military judge – Sharary remains imprisoned and will face a military court in Ofer on Wednesday, 14 December.
Please take action to urge the UK government to intervene and pressure Israel to release torture victim Fayez Sharary. This includes asking for UK representatives to attend the hearing in Sharary’s case at Ofer Military Court.
Email the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at firstname.lastname@example.org and the British Consulate in Jerusalem at email@example.com to express your concern about the case of Fayez Sharary.
You can use the sample letter below or write your own letter:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing in regard to the urgent case of Fayez Sharary, a British citizen currently imprisoned by Israel in its military court system for the occupied Palestinian territories. Sharary, 49, was previously ordered released due to the torture he experienced under interrogation.
Nonetheless, he remains imprisoned and will once again face a military court at Ofer prison on Wednesday, 14 December from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
It is critical that the British government support its citizen Fayez Sharary by pressuring Israel for his immediate release. It is particularly critical that there is a British official presence at the military court hearing on 14 December.
Israeli military trials do not meet international standards for fair trials and can rely on evidence obtained through torture. Please act to release Fayez Sharary and reunite him with his wife and family in Britain.
Hundreds of complaints of torture against Shin Bet agents have produced not a single criminal investigation, according to a report in Haaretz.
Of the 598 complaints filed between 2001 and 2008, every single case was closed by the Israeli authorities without a criminal investigation.
A department within the Ministry of Justice, Mivtan, is responsible for handling such complaints, yet employs just one investigator.
According to Haaretz, “the unit does not interfere with the Shin Bet’s work, even though complainants have reported harsh and prohibited forms of torture – including severe beatings and extensive sleep deprivation.”
The paper adds that while “Mivtan does not reveal how many complaints it receives, only how many inquiries it conducts; however, attorney Efrat Bergman-Sapir of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel said her organisation had submitted more than 1,000 complaints since 2001.”