Committee to Stop FBI Repression | October 23, 2013
She is charged with immigration fraud. Allegedly, in her application for citizenship, she didn’t mention that she was arrested in Palestine 45 years ago by an Israeli military court that detains Palestinians without charge – a court that has over 200 children in prison today and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians to due process.
The arrest today appears to be related to the case of the 23 anti-war activists subpoenaed to a grand jury in 2010. Well-known labor, community and international solidarity activists around the Midwest had their homes raided by the FBI when the U.S. attorney alleged that they had provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations in Palestine and Colombia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas is leading the investigation against the 23. He was at the courtroom in Chicago this morning, consulting with the assistant U.S. attorney who was presenting the indictment to the judge. Jonas was also the prosecutor in the case of the Holy Land Five, the heads of the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. before 9/11. He was successful in getting prison sentences for as long as 65 years for the five men, who provided charity to children in Gaza.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) denounces this attack as another example of the continuing repression of Palestinians and people who stand in solidarity with them. Homeland Security, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office now are carrying out enforcement of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Odeh will appear in court in Detroit on Nov. 1, where she will be represented by Jim Fennerty of the National Lawyers Guild. CSFR urges people to attend the proceedings at the Federal Court in Detroit in her defense.
JERUSALEM – Professor of language and education at Hebrew University Nurit Peled-ElHanan recently released a book analyzing the portrayal of Palestinians in 16 history, civics and geography textbooks authorized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
‘Palestine in Israeli School Books’ argues that the textbooks legitimate Israeli military policy in the eyes of young students, and prepare them for military service upon graduation.
Ma’an spoke to Peled-ElHanan about the ideas behind her latest book.
You write that Palestinians are often portrayed as anonymous, primitive, so-called “third-world” farmers — do you think this imagery functions as a kind of “imperialist nostalgia,” as Renato Rosaldo calls it, a “mourning for what one has destroyed”?
This colonialist idea of the romantic Orient was there in the past, when the Israelis wanted to be “indigenized,” but today I don’t think that is true anymore.
In the textbooks I studied, the Palestinians and Arabs are presented as a problem. It is like Ehud Barak said, “We are a villa in a desert,” so the Palestinians are the desert. They look down on the desert. The desert is an underdeveloped, backward, political mass.
You also see the “Oxfam image” of the Palestinian farmer. These caricatures of the Palestinians do not have any Arab characteristics; they are primarily “non-Jews,” problems or obstacles to progress.
The Palestinian farmer is not presented with a kuffiyeh or anything specifically Arab, just oversized, ratty clothes that evoke imagery of a poor laborer that could be from anywhere. This is a different perspective. There is no more glorification of the kuffiyeh here, or of anything specifically Arab.
In the book, you discuss how Israelis are now presented as “Jews and others,” mainly referring to non-Jewish Russian immigrants. Why do you think Russians have been incorporated like this?
Because they are white, and they are Europeans. This is the complex. For Zionism, if you are white and blonde then you can come here. The Russians are going to help to purify the race. But when you look at the books and you see pictures or drawings, you do not see black Jews.
When you speak about integration of new immigrants, you speak about “Sasha” the Russian girl who was integrated really well. You don’t see the Ethiopians. They are, after the Arabs, the ones who are excluded completely.
If they are going to be mentioned, it is as percentages, as problems to be solved, like the Arabs. They are not going to be solved by being eliminated, because they are important for demography. The way to solve their problem is to ignore them completely.
Do you think Jewish identity has become more racialized than it was in the past?
Of course. I mean, it came with Zionism — they had not conceived of black Jews when they started. But many of the early Zionists came from Eastern Europe, and they were called the “Ost Judden.” They were the “Eastern Jews” and they were inferior to the “Western Jews,” from Western Europe.
So they westernized themselves when they came, toward the other Jews. The funny thing is, those early Zionists said they perpetuated a western culture, but they had never met a western culture until they came here. The only people who came with Western culture were the Jews from Arab countries, because they studied in French and British schools.
But when Jews came from Arab countries, they had to give up their Arabness — to give up their culture, their music, their habits, their clothes, their accent. They really worked on that. It is all part of the same racism. It is white supremacy.
Your book discusses Israeli textbooks up until 2009. What has changed in the last two years?
In 2010, when Gideon Saar became Minister of Education, things became much worse. There is a new subject now called “Israeli culture” that everybody has to study. There are about 15 to 20 new textbooks on the subject and they are compulsory.
And there are no Arabs there at all. Even when they say “Jerusalem, the city of three religions,” you see “Christians and Jews,” you do not see Arabs. They all deal with democracy, human rights, and peace all over the world — Chinese, and Indian and African rituals of peace — but it is an Arab-less world.
They are nonexistent. One geography book that talks about refugees used to have a picture of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, and they spoke about Palestinian refugees a little bit. “Jewish and Arab refugees as a result of the wars,” something like that. Now they changed it, and they speak about Darfur instead. This is the way to completely de-Arabize the area.
Is it possible to make a textbook in Israel that actually presents the Palestinian narrative without refuting or marginalizing it, and allows Israeli students to question the military and state’s narrative?
I tried with a Palestinian colleague to form a group, and write an alternative book. But then the Gaza raid started and it fell apart. Now I got an email from someone saying they want to revive it, and they want my consultation. Of course it’s possible.
What would such a book look like?
The book should be the history of the place. Here, students do not learn about the Middle East at all. They learn about Europe because we are supposedly part of Europe. I want to teach what happened here in the last one hundred years, from all points of view.
Because today, it is only about wars — how many we killed of them, how many they killed of us. But literature, culture, customs, history — they do not know anything. Palestinians do not know their own because they are not allowed to learn their own, and Israelis do not know theirs.
Something has to be done. There are several books that give the two narratives of this place. One of the prominent ones is called “Learning the Narrative of the Other.” In that book, they show the Palestinian narrative on one side, the Israeli narrative on the other side, and the students can write whatever they think in the middle.
They study that book all over the world. In France, 22,000 copies were sold to schools after being published. It is a wonderful example of conflict resolution. The UN gives a lot of money to schools that study conflict resolution. Here they never heard of it.
When I teach about this, my students say once they know they cannot un-know. But work has to start from the bottom.
- Do Israelis Teach Their Children To Hate? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian cemetery destroyed for new TAU dorms, shopping center (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Haneen Zoabi, an MK from the Balad party, speaks to Elsa Rassbach about Land Day and her relationship as a Palestinian to Zionism and citizenship.
Since the 1980s, Palestinians have marked every March 30 with protests to celebrate Land Day. The day commemorates the first widespread struggle of Arab Israelis against processes of land confiscation intended to create Jewish majorities in certain communities. The marches and general strikes began in the Galilee in 1976, and resulted in the killings of six unarmed Arab citizens of Israel. Solidarity protests spread to the occupied West Bank, Gaza and the refugee camps in Lebanon. Since then, the day has marked the first common struggle for a Palestinian national cause following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, an event Palestinians call the Nakba. This year on Land Day, worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities will take place against Israeli policies, as well as the Global March to Jerusalem, which will call attention to the continuing Judaization and ethnic cleansing in the city that was supposed to be the multi-ethnic, multi-religious capital of a future Palestinian state.
Haneen Zoabi, 43, became a Knesset member in 2009, as the first Palestinian woman elected on an Arab party’s list. She is a member of the Balad party, which seeks to transform Israel into a democracy for all of its citizens, irrespective of national, ethnic or religious identity. Zoabi was born in Nazareth to a Muslim family. In 2010, she participated in the Gaza flotilla on board the Mavi Marmara. I spoke with her recently by Skype.
What does Land Day mean to you?
To me, Land Day is a day of ongoing and a continuous struggle around the issue of “land property.” This is still the crucial issue between us and the state. The core of the Zionist project is a continuous stealing of land from the Palestinians and transferring it to the Israeli Jews. Renaming the places, the junctions, the villages, the streets, and giving Jewish names to the landscape is part of this “confiscation.” It’s a way to steal from us and confiscate our historical relation with our homeland. This is the meaning of Ariel Sharon’s famous statement in the Knesset in 2002 when he said that the Palestinians inside Israel, whom he called “Israeli Arabs,” in effect have only temporary “rights in the land,” the land not yet confiscated, but “all the rights over the Land of Israel are Jewish rights.”
During the 63 years since 1948, Israel has confiscated 85 percent of our land and turned it over to the exclusive use of the Jews. It has developed and built 1,000 towns, cities and villages, all of them only for the Jews. And zero for the Palestinians. We live now on 2 percent of our land. We don’t even have permission to build our own houses on our own land and thus have no rights to use our land that hasn’t been confiscated.
How does Israel’s definition of itself as a “Jewish state” affect the Palestinian citizens of Israel?
The “Jewish state” is a state that has been established by Jews and is run by the Jews for the sake of the Jews – all at the expense of the Palestinians. It’s a racist definition. The state declares me to be an outsider in this land, though I’m the opposite. I’m the indigenous people. I didn’t immigrate to Israel; it was Israel that immigrated to me.
The State of Israel claims that it can be Jewish and democratic at the same time, as if there were no contradiction between the two. Any debate within Israel regarding the inherent contradiction between being a Jewish state and being a democratic state is considered no less than a “strategic threat.” If we are not Jewish and refuse to give up our rights, then obviously we present not just an alternative view, but something that contradicts the state’s very legitimacy: Zionism.
How you define your struggle as Palestinian citizens of Israel in relation to the struggle of the rest of the Palestinian people?
Our struggle has two components, as citizens and also as Palestinians. And unlike the state, we don’t see why both components — our citizenship and our nationality – should clash.
On the contrary, citizenship should be inclusive. We are fighting for normal citizenship with full recognition of our national rights as indigenous people that would include our history, our identity, our culture and our nationality.
My citizenship is conditioned by the Jews’ privileges. It’s even conditioned to my loyalty to these privileges! Therefore, there is no way to struggle for full equality and full citizenship without challenging the concept of “Jewish state.” To struggle for democracy in Israel is to struggle against Zionism. And this is what unifies our struggle with the wider Palestinian struggle. Racism, Oppression, Judaisation, Apartheid and Undemocracy inside Israel; Apartheid, Occupation, Oppression, and Judaisation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and the denial of the right of return – all of these mechanisms of control serve the same ideological project: Zionism.
Nakba Day, the first intifada, the second intifada – all of these days are days of unity. But still our struggle is not united, because it lacks a unifying vision and a unifying framework of legitimacy. The Palestinian issue did not begin in 1967 and does not only concern the territories occupied in 1967. It concerns the entire Palestinian people, and even the wider Arab region.
After the Oslo Accords of 1993 defined the Palestinians inside Israel as an internal Israeli matter, we reformulated our national project in a manner that secures our reintegration into the Palestinian people and guarantees our place as an integral part of the Palestinian issue, both as part of the conflict and as part of the solution. Our demand for a “state of all its citizens” has put the Palestinians in Israel at the heart of the direct confrontation with the Zionist enterprise and has forced the “Jewish state” to admit the primacy that it grants to Jewish-Zionist values over democratic values, and to recognixe the impossibility of coexistence between the two.
This is the role we play.
Elsa Rassbach is a filmmaker and journalist from the United States, now based in Berlin. Her award-winning film, ”The Killing Floor,” an historical dramatic film about a union’s struggle against racism in the Chicago Stockyards, will be re-released this year.
- On the eve of Land Day: Al Quds anticipates the Global March (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Scores Injured as Israeli Troops Attack West Bank land Day Protests (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian lawmaker wounded in Land Day protest (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinians in Israel – Book Review (alethonews.wordpress.com)
By porterspeakman | March 20, 2012
A Short film by Porter Speakman, Jr. (@porterspeakman) for the “Christ at the Checkpoint Conference 2012”. “The Checkpoint” looks at the system of Israeli checkpoints in the West Banks and the daily routine Palestinians must face going through the Bethlehem Checkpoint.
- Qalandia Checkpoint – December 2011 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel student society attacks peaceful Palestine protest with water bombs at London School of Economics (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli police escort Harvard tour from Bethlehem village (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Introduction by Consortium News:
Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich seems to be laying the groundwork for ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Greater Israel, calling them “an invented people” who “had a chance to go many places.” But an Israeli scholar offered a contrary view, as Morgan Strong reported in 2009.
The founding narrative of the modern State of Israel was born from the words in the Torah (or Old Testament), that God granted Abraham’s descendants the land of Israel and that Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt to conquer it.
A second part of the narrative was the story of the Diaspora – that after Jewish uprisings against the Romans in the First and Second centuries A.D., the Jews were exiled from the land of Israel and dispersed throughout the Western world. They often were isolated from European populations, suffered persecution, and ultimately were marked for extermination in the Nazi Holocaust.
Finally after centuries of praying for a return to Israel, the Jews achieved this goal by defeating the Arab armies in Palestine and establishing Israel in 1948. This narrative – spanning more than three millennia – is the singular, elemental and sustaining claim of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation.
But a recent book by Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand challenges this narrative, claiming that – beyond the religious question of whether God really spoke to Abraham and Moses – the Roman-era Diaspora did not happen at all or at least not as commonly understood.
In When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? [published in English as The Invention of the Jewish People], Dr. Sand, an expert on European history at the University of Tel Aviv, says the Diaspora was largely a myth – that the Jews were never exiled en masse from the Holy Land and that many European Jewish populations converted to the faith centuries later.
Thus, Sand argues, many of today’s Israelis who emigrated from Europe after World War II have little or no genealogical connection to the land. According to Sand’s historical analysis, they are descendents of European converts, principally from the Kingdom of the Khazars in eastern Russia, who embraced Judaism in the Eighth Century, A.D.
The descendants of the Khazars then were driven from their native lands by invasion and conquest and – through migration – created the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe, Sands writes. Similarly, he argues that the Jews of Spain came from the conversion of Berber tribes from northern Africa that later migrated into Europe.
The Zionist Narrative
Sand, himself a European Jew born in 1946 to Holocaust survivors in Austria, argues that until little more than a century ago, Jews thought of themselves as Jews because they shared a common religion, not because they possessed a direct lineage to the ancient tribes of Israel.
However, at the turn of the 20th Century, Sand asserts, Zionist Jews began assembling a national history to justify creation of a Jewish state by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion and that they had primogeniture over the territory that had become known as Palestine.
The Zionists also invented the idea that Jews living in exile were obligated to return to the Promised Land, a concept that had been foreign to Judaism, Sand states.
Like almost everything in the Middle East, Sand’s scholarship is fraught with powerful religious, historical and political implications. If Sand’s thesis is correct, it would suggest that many of the Palestinian Arabs have a far more substantial claim to the lands of Israel than do many European Jews who arrived there asserting a God-given claim.
Indeed, Sand theorizes that many Jews, who remained in Judea after Roman legions crushed the last uprising in 136 A.D., eventually converted to Christianity or Islam, meaning that the Palestinians who have been crowded into Gaza or concentrated in the West Bank might be direct descendants of Jews from the Roman era.
Despite the political implications of Sand’s book, it has not faced what might be expected: a withering assault from right-wing Israelis. The criticism has focused mostly on Sand’s credentials as an expert on European history, not ancient Middle Eastern history, a point that Sand readily acknowledges.
One critic, Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University, attacked Sand’s credentials and called Sand’s thesis “baseless,” but disagreed mostly over Sand’s assertion that the Diaspora story was created as an intentional myth by Zionists seeking to fabricate a direct genealogical connection between many of the world’s Jews and Israel.
“Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions,” Bartal wrote in the newspaper Haaretz. “Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely. …
“The kind of political intervention Sand is talking about, namely, a deliberate program designed to make Israelis forget the true biological origins of the Jews of Poland and Russia or a directive for the promotion of the story of the Jews’ exile from their homeland is pure fantasy.”
In other words, Bartal, like some other critics, is not so much disputing Sand’s historical claims about the Diaspora or the origins of Eastern European Jews, as he is contesting Sand’s notion that Zionists concocted a false history for a cynical political purpose.
But there can be no doubt that the story of the Diaspora has played a key role in the founding of Israel and that the appeal of this powerful narrative has helped the Jewish state generate sympathy around the world, especially in the United States.
“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom,” reads the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
Reality from Mythology
In January 2009, as the Israeli army bombarded Palestinians in Gaza in retaliation for rockets fired into southern Israel, the world got an ugly glimpse of what can result when historical myths are allowed to drive wedges between people who otherwise might have a great deal in common.
After the conflict ended – with some 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many children and other non-combatants – the Israeli government investigated alleged war crimes by its army and heard testimony from Israeli troops that extremist Rabbis had proclaimed the invasion a holy war.
The troops said the Rabbis brought them booklets and articles declaring: “We are the Jewish people. We came to this land by a miracle. God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”
In his book – and in an interview with Haaretz about his book – Sand challenged this core myth. In the interview, he said:
“I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land – a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country.
“The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th Century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”
The True Descendants
Asked if he was saying that the true descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians, Sand responded:
“No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents.
“The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-1939], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don’t leave until they are expelled.
“Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, ‘the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.’”
Sand argues further that the Jewish people never existed as a “nation race” but were rather an ethnic mix of disparate peoples who adopted the Jewish religion over a great period of time. Sand dismisses the Zionist argument that the Jews were an isolated and seminal ethnic group that was targeted for dispersal by the Romans.
Although ruthless in putting down challenges to their rule, the Romans allowed subjects in their occupied territories a great many freedoms, including freedom to practice religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.
Thousands of Jews served in the Roman legions, and there was a sizable Jewish community in Rome itself. Three Jewish descendants of Herod the Great, the Jewish Emperor of Jerusalem, served in the Roman Senate.
Jewish dietary laws were respected under Roman law, as well as the right not to work on the Sabbath. Jewish slaves – 1,000 carried to Italy by Emperor Titus after crushing the first Jewish rebellion in 70 A.D. – were bought and set free by Jewish families already long settled into Roman society.
After the final Jewish rebellion, the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136 A.D., historians say the Romans placed restrictions on Jews entering Jerusalem, which caused other areas, such as Galilee in northern Palestine, to become centers of Jewish learning. But there is little or no evidence of a mass forced relocation.
Sand says the Diaspora was originally a Christian myth that depicted the event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.
There has been no serious rebuttal to Sand’s book, which has been a bestseller in Israel and Europe. But there were earlier genetic studies attempting to demonstrate an unbroken line of descent among Ashkenazi Jews in Europe from the Hebrew tribes of Israel.
In a genetic study published by the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi, Roman, North African, Kurdish, Near Eastern, Yemenite, and Ethiopian Jews were compared with 16 non-Jewish groups from similar geographic locations. It found that despite long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level.
Although the study also demonstrated that 20 percent of the Ashkenazim carry Eastern European gene markers consistent with the Khazars, the results seemed to show that the Ashkenazim were descended from a common Mid-Eastern population and suggested that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the supposed Diaspora.
However, a monumental genetic study entitled, “The Journey of Man,” undertaken in 2002 by Dr. Spencer Wells, a geneticist from Stanford University, demonstrated that virtually all European males carry the same genetic markers found within the male population of the Middle East on the Y chromosomes.
That is simply because the migration of human beings began in Africa and coursed its way through the Middle East and onward, stretching over many thousands of years. In short, we are all pretty much the same.
Despite the lack of conclusive scientific or historical evidence, the Diaspora narrative proved to be a compelling story, much like the Biblical rendition of the Exodus from Egypt, which historians and archeologists also have questioned in recent years.
It is certainly true that all nations use myths and legend for sustenance; some tales are based on fact, others are convenient self-serving contrivances.
However, when myth and legend argue for excess, when they demand a racial, ethnic or religious purity to the exclusion of others – so that some prophecy can be fulfilled or some national goal achieved – reason and justice can give way to extremism and cruelty.
The motive for creating the state of Israel was to provide respite for the Jews of Europe after World War II, but that worthy cause has now been contorted into an obsessive delusion about an Israeli right to mistreat and persecute Palestinians.
When right-wing Israeli Rabbis speak of driving non-Jews out of the land that God supposedly gave to the Israelites and their descendants, these Rabbis may be speaking with full faith, but faith is by definition an unshakable belief in something that taken by itself cannot be proven.
This faith – or delusion – also is drawing in the rest of the world. The bloody war in Iraq was an appendage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as is the dangerous rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the region. There is also now the irony that modern Israel was established by Jews of European origin, many of whom may be ethnically unconnected to Palestine.
Another cruel aspect of this irony is that the descendants of the ancient Israelites may include many Palestinians, who are genetically indistinct from the Sephardic Jews who were, like the Palestinians, original and indigenous inhabitants of this ancient land.
Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern history, and was an advisor to CBS News “60 Minutes” on the Middle East.
- Newt Unleashes His Tetrodotoxin at the Palestinians (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Invention of the Jewish People (middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com)
NABLUS – Sewage from Israeli settlements near Salfit in the northern West Bank is flowing into nearby Palestinian communities and causing serious disease, a health ministry official said Tuesday.
Speaking at an environmental conference in Salfit, the head of Salfit’s ministry of health office said the situation had become “intolerable” for communities affected by disease from the sewage, including cases of cholera.
Waste from factories in an industrial zone inside an Israeli settlement is threatening Salfit’s agriculture, the Salfit governor said.
Barqan settlement, near Salfit’s Qana Valley, has the largest industrial complex of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Gov. Isam Abu Bakr said.
He warned that the dumping of waste in 11 sites surrounding Salfit had become a major cause of cancer in the area.
All Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.
- Israel to Take Over Land near Salfit (altahrir.wordpress.com)
Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, called for the boycotting of all Israeli military courts for their repeated rulings that confine thousands of detainees under administrative orders without filing any official indictments against them.
His statements came during a visit to the family of detainee, Ahmad Nabhan Saqer, aged 47, at the Askar refugee camp, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Saqer has been imprisoned under administrative detention for over three years, since he was abducted in November 2008, and Israeli military courts have repeatedly issued administrative detention orders against him, without filing any formal charges.
Saqer was arrested three times before, and has spent a total of twelve years and counting, behind bars.
The Palestinian Minister said that administrative detention is an illegal and unconstitutional form of imprisonment, as military courts do not have to file charges or reveal the cause of arrest.
Detainees held under administrative detention do not know for sure when, or if, they will be released, as Israel often continues to renew these orders without any prior notice. In some isolated cases, the detainees have been told that they will be released, taken to the main prison gate, and are then informed that a new order was issued against them, usually for three or six months each time.
Qaraqe’ voiced an appeal to human rights groups to apply pressure on Israel and oblige it to end its administrative detention laws as they are arbitrary, unconstitutional, and violate International Law.
He said that all military courts must be boycotted as they base their rulings on “secret files” that even defense attorneys do not have access to.
The wife of Saqer stated that the extended imprisonment of her husband, and the uncertainty of when or if he will be released, directly impacts the family, particularly his children who can’t know for sure when their father will be able to return home.
On January 20, 2012, Saqer declared that he will be boycotting military courts, and stated that appearing in front of military courts and judges provides them with the legitimacy they do not have.
There are 280 Palestinians who are currently imprisoned under administrative detention orders; Israel has issued more than 20,000 administrative detention orders since the year 2000. These orders have also been issued against children and elected legislators.
- Speaker Of Palestine Parliament Receives Six Months Administrative Detention (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Khader Adnan, a Palestinian political detainee in isolation, ACT NOW (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Arbitrary Detention and Detention of Children as Adults (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israel extends journalist’s detention without trial (alethonews.wordpress.com)