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Israel's Persecution of Ameer Makhoul
Friday, 8 October 2010
Israel, like America, flouts the rule of law. As a result, Palestinians have been victimized for over six decades, denied any measure of justice and freedom.
At any time, from 7,000 - 12,000 or more Palestinians are politically persecuted and imprisoned, including young children. The Addameer Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association explains that for over 43 years under military occupation, over 650,000 Palestinians have been illegally detained for wanting freedom on their own land in their own country, what Israel won't tolerate, nor have its leaders ever wanted peace. Saying so is a lie.
What Avi Shlaim once said about Ariel Sharon, applies to virtually all other Israeli leaders, past and present; namely, that "Bargaining, accommodation, and compromise (were) alien to his whole way of thinking."
Sharon earlier, and Netanyahu today, share like-minded views; namely, that "relations with the Palestinians (are) a zero-sum game" in which Israel intends to gain at their expense, including its own Arab citizens. Both leaders spurn concessions, Sharon once saying, "This is our land, and we'll settle it and build on it in order to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. We'll never give up this area." As a result, Palestinians have been ruthlessly persecuted, imprisoned, or slaughtered in gross violation of international laws.
Ameer Makoul is one of many victims, just click here.
An Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO for Palestinian empowerment, he also chairs the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel. Besides championing human rights, he also supports the global BDS movement, what many believe is perhaps the most effective nonviolent tactic against Israeli lawlessness, and another reason for his targeting. (Reference an earlier article on Palestinian Political Prisoners.)
In May, Makhoul was arrested on spurious charges of spying for Hezbollah, Israel's way to silence a respected Palestinian. At the time, attorney Hussein Abu Hasin said accusations were so vague and wide-ranging that emails, Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything could be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with a "state enemy," whether or not true and regardless of the right to speak freely with anyone.
At the time, Mohammed Zeidan, head of the Human Rights Association of Nazareth said:
Zeidan believes that persecution of Israeli Arab society is the best way to expose Israeli racism and discrimination against anyone not Jewish. "Markhoul's arrest should be understood in that light."
On May 6, his ordeal began when about 20 Israeli police and security forces arrested him at 3:10AM, ransacked his apartment, confiscated his computers, cell phones, various documents, maps, and other possessions. At the same time, his Haifa office was also raided for other potentially "incriminating" evidence, a Shin Bet warrant saying only that "secret information" justified it for "security reasons," when, in fact, none whatsoever existed.
On May 9, Ynetnews.com writer Sharon Roffe-Ofir headlined, "Security scandal angers Arab sector," saying:
Mossawa's director, Jafar Farah, called "the steps taken by (Israel's) security establishment....an extreme right wing policy. In democratic countries," this type lawlessness is prohibited. The Popular Committee for the Defense of Freedoms said Israel's attack on freedom "is at its height." MK Masud Ganaim (of United Arab List-Ta'al) sent thousands of emails calling the affair:
Makhoul was detained incommunicado at Petah Tikva for interrogation. Under gag order (now lifted), the Israeli media couldn't write or discuss anything about his case.
He endured 12 days of brutal interrogation, including torture and sleep deprivation. After three weeks, he was charged with espionage, helping an enemy (Hezbollah) in time of war, contact with a foreign agent, and other spurious charges, all of which he denied.
On June 14, prosecutors claimed "secret evidence" against him, withheld from his lawyers for "security reasons." In addition, all attorney conversations were wiretapped, and despite requesting medical help from the Association of Physicians for Human Rights, it was repeatedly denied.
He remains imprisoned, a Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul established on September 8 to defend him. Comprised of dozens of Jewish and Arab figures, it took collective responsibility because:
He's represented them globally as an internationally recognized human rights advocate, and as a member of world and regional coalitions and networks. Speaking publicly or in any other way to anyone is protected speech, yet accusations against him violate his legitimate right to communicate freely with Arab colleagues.
On September 16, he was charged in Haifa District Court, even though Israeli prosecutors said his home and office computers, cell phones, other possessions, and transcripts of about 30,000 wiretapped phone conversations revealed no evidence of espionage.
On September 14, his lawyers got the Nazareth District Court to uphold his right to direct and confidential counsel access, what he previously was denied in violation of Israeli and international law. Earlier in 2009, Shin Bet said they'd "tailor a file for this disappearance and prolonged separation from his family" unless he softened his outspoken activism, including his denunciation of Cast Lead war crimes.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International have been outspoken for him, AI signaling it may declare him a "prisoner of conscience" because his arrest "smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work."
Ahead, the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul needs help to raise funds, mobilize international legal and medical help as well as observers for his trial. Some tactical victories have been won, however, including disseminating information globally on his case and defeating Israel's gag order. Remaining tasks include building a solid defense team, challenging prosecutorial use of "secret evidence" unavailable to counsel, as well as bogusly incriminating anyone for using protected speech to communicate freely with anyone.
A Final Comment
Ahmad Sa'adat is another prominent Israeli political prisoner, here's an earlier article on him.
He's the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), sentenced in 2002 to 30 years imprisonment for supporting Palestinian liberation heroically.
On October 4, an International Campaign for the Release of Kidnapped Palestinian Legislators press release said he's spent over "500 days in solitary confinement under the most inhumane conditions....to break (his) will and steadfastness."
Brutal torture, abuse and humiliation are longstanding Israeli longstanding practices, including against children. In mid-October, Sa'adat will challenge his isolation in court, as well as his overall inhumane treatment, denying his basic rights, including:
Israel, like America, flouts the rule of law. As a result, Palestinians have been victimized for over six decades, denied any measure of justice and freedom. Makhoul and Sa'adat are two of thousands enduring Israeli savagery, its longstanding practice against Muslim Arabs.
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Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on October 8, 2010.