Israel: Plea deal “only option” for Palestinian political prisoner Ameer Makhoul

[False confessions are so commonly forced from Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons that no one gives them, or the pretense of a “judicial system” in Israel,  any credence.–Frontlines ed.]

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Electronic Intifada, 5 November 2010

Ameer Makhoul (Adri Nieuwhof)

After spending nearly six months in jail, Palestinian political prisoner Ameer Makhoul signed a plea agreement with Israeli state prosecutors on 27 October. The deal involves a reduced list of charges, including contact with a foreign agent and spying for the Lebanese resistance movement Hizballah. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of seven to ten years.

Makhoul is the Coordinator of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Associations and a leader in the movement for the proection of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The initial indictment against Makhoul submitted before the Haifa District Court included: assistance to the enemy in a time of war, conspiracy to assist an enemy, aggravated espionage and contact with a foreign agent. Makhoul vehemently denied the charges.

As a result of the plea deal, the charge of assistance to the enemy in a time of war, which carries with it a life sentence, was dropped. The next court session, during which the exact terms of the plea agreement will be outlined, is scheduled for 5 December.

According to Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, Chairperson of the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul, while the decision to plead guilty to reduced charges was extremely difficult for Makhoul, his family and the defense team, the reality of life for Palestinian citizens of Israel made it the only option. Continue reading

Protests in West Bank, Jordan, and Syria against brutal repression of Palestinians in Israeli jails

A Palestinian woman holds a picture of her jailed son as she leaves a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, in Gaza City, Saturday (Reuters photo)

CAPITALS, Sept 25 (Saba) — Several Palestinian factions and Arab trade unions and non-government organizations staged Saturday demonstrations in the West Bank, Amman and Damascus in protest against the escalating aggressions by the Israeli prison authorities on the Palestinian prisoners, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

The protests followed revelations that the guards of Ramon and Ofer prison and Hadarim Detention Center attacked, and used tear gas against, Palestinian prisoners, injuring 15 of them.

In Ramallah relatives of the detainees and sympathizers from the Palestinian political forces and human rights institutions staged a sit-in front of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

They raised banners, showing solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and urging for putting the prisoners’ release high on the agenda of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Continue reading

Israel’s Palestinian Political Prisoners Start Hunger Strike

Friday September 24, 2010
by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

Approximately 7,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel will start, on Saturday September 25, a hunger strike demanding that Israel halt its violations and attacks against them, and to improve their living conditions.

File - Wissam Nassar/MaanImagesRiyadh al-Ashqar, head of the Media Department at the Ministry of Detainees in Gaza, called on the Palestinian people to act in solidarity with the detainees and to form a lobbying power that boosts the detainees in achieving their legitimate rights.

Al-Ashqar said that the detainees face unimaginable suffering in Israeli prisons, detention camps and interrogation centers, and added that Israel is readying to use ultimate force against the detainees should they hold a strike.

He held Israel and the Israeli Prison Administration (IPA) fully responsible for the lives of the detainees and added that dozens of detainees were recently wounded after being attacked by the soldiers who broke into their rooms and searched them.

Al-Ashqar demanded international human rights groups, mainly the International Red Cross, to intervene and to send probe committees that would observe the illegal Israeli measures and attacks against the detainees. Furthermore, al-Ashqar called on the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, to withdrew from the talks with Israel as, according to him, such talks provide Israel with legitimacy to continue its crimes against the Palestinian detainees.

Ismail al-Thawabta, head of the Palestinian Center for Defending the Detainees, said that, through their strike, the detainees want to send a message to the world to inform the International Community that they are deprived of their basic rights guaranteed by international law.

Palestine Behind Bars

Palestinian Prisoners: A Symbol Of Resistance,
Steadfastness And Pride

By Reham Alhelsi

12 August, 2010, My Palestine

A couple of days ago I read the following tweet on twitter:
“Too many long days and night passed since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas 1501 days ago is beyond comprehension.”

Shalit, as any human being with a conscience would admit, is an Israeli occupation soldier whose mission was to kill Palestinians. He is no “kidnapped civilian” whose release conscientious people should demand for he is an occupation soldier. Conscientious Israelis are those who refuse to serve in a terrorist army, not those who go on missions to kills unarmed civilians and when they are stopped and held “captive” they become suddenly the victim. Israeli occupation forces raid Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps on a daily basis, during which children, women and men are beaten, property destroyed before kidnapping several Palestinians from their homes in the middle of the night.

According to latest reports on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails there are over 7200 Palestinian prisoners, including 291 children, 36 women and 203 administrative detainees. Since the beginning of this year 4140 cases of Israeli raids on Palestinians homes were registered. These raids are accompanied by shooting, using fierce dogs, destroying properties and beating children. According to “Palestine Behind Bars”: 2340 cases of detention have been recorded since the beginning of the year, with an average of 11 detention /day. These were distributed as follows: January: 377, February: 322, March: 478, April: 274, May: 292, June: 314, July: 283. Among those detained in this period were 19 women and 150 children[1]. Continue reading