Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory Updates September 2017

Israel/Occupied territories report August 2017 for St Albans group.

 Israel's Military Order 101 - 27

 August marked 50 years since Israel issued Military Order 101, a law that punishes Palestinians for peaceful political expression. Anyone breaching the order faces imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a hefty fine. 50 years on, Military Order 101, which is almost as old as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, continues to apply to Palestinians in the West Bank, and may be enforced at any time. The Order governs how Palestinians may express their opinions through assembly, emblems, publications or verbal statement and explains the potential 10 years imprisonment which can follow any breach of the Order.

Actions / Individuals at Risk - Two Palestinian Women in Administrative Detention

Palestinian civil society leaders Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin (left and right respectively in photo) have been held without charge or trial since 2 July. According to Addameer Association’s lawyers who represent both women, the Israel military commander issued a threemonth administrative detention order against Khitam Saafin on 9 July. The decision was confirmed by a military judge on 12 July. Khalida Jarrar, who is an elected parliamentarian, was given a six-month administrative detention order on 12 July and a military judge confirmed the decision on 18 July. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely.

Farid al-Atrash and Issa Amro – New IAR and ‘Write for Rights’ case

A new casefile has been set up on the International Secretariat intranet for Palestinian human rights defenders Farid al-Atrash and Issa Amro. (We wrote several letters about them earlier this year). Their case is being featured in this year's Write for Rights campaign, and their case is being linked to the Occupation @ 50 campaign. Issa Amro and Farid al-Atrash are Palestinian human rights defenders facing charges in an Israeli military court for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Both risk being sentenced to prison, if found guilty. Amnesty International would consider them prisoners of conscience if they are convicted. Issa Amro is an engineer by trade, and founder and coordinator of the Youth Against Settlements (YAS) group in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Farid al-Atrash is a lawyer and head of the southern districts of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the State of Palestine’s national human rights institution whose primary role is to scrutinize the Palestinian authorities.

Success! Ahmed Qatamesh release

The Israeli authorities released Ahmad Qatamesh, 67, on 13 August after the expiration of his administrative detention order. The former prisoner of conscience was detained without charge or trial in Ofer prison, near Ramallah, for three months. While Ahmad Qatamesh explains that he did not face direct violence during his detention, he told Amnesty International: “The system of administrative detention is itself inherently violent in nature. It is a tool to silence and isolate one and steals a person’s life. It is a system that denies people the right to defend themselves, to even know what the charges are against them. Its use is purely political.'' “Thank you to all those who sent appeals”. (We wrote in July)

Another success

But this young man has lost nearly two years in prison since Dec 2015; Mohamed Faisal Abu Sakha (Detained circus performer) –Mohamed has been released as of 30.8.17, so many thanks to all those who worke on this case. (More information will be sent as it is received).

Atalya Ben-Abba (Conscience Objector) (Now released)

 Amnesty International Israel, and the family of conscientious objector Atalya Ben-Abba, wish to gather information in regards to which international Sections have taken action on her case. If your Group did any action on Atalya’s case, (May Review - she was not a formal Section case) could you please give me a brief summary of what those actions were? This information will be fed back to the family in order to give them an update. . (In June we sent a letter to the authorities, posted Atalya a card.

General News on Israel/Palestine topics Aug. 2017

The US is pushing to quash U.N. ‘blacklist’ of firms doing business in Israeli settlements - The Trump administration is urging the United Nations not to publish what it calls a “blacklist” of international firms that do business in Israeli settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, diplomats and others said. The U.N. Human Rights Council voted to approve the database of companies last year, over objections from the United States and Israel, which describe the list as a prelude to anti-Israel boycotts. American companies on the list drawn up by the Geneva-based council include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com, Airbnb and others, according to people familiar with it. It is not clear whether the list has been finalized. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has told U.S. officials he plans to publish the list by the end of the year and has asked for comments by Sept. 1 from countries where affected firms are headquartered, diplomats said. “The United States has been adamantly opposed to this resolution from the start” and has fought against it before several U.N. bodies, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “These types of resolutions are counterproductive and do nothing to advance IsraeliPalestinian issues.” August 2017 - State of Palestine: Alarming attack on Freedom of Expression - Since the start of 2017, Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza have carried out scores of attacks against journalists and activists, subjecting them to arbitrary arrests, violent interrogations, confiscation of equipment, physical assaults and bans on reporting. In July 2017, a new Palestinian electronic law was adopted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by presidential decree. Amnesty contends that many articles in this new law – which was drafted and passed without the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and without consultations with the civil society or the public – breach the State of Palestine’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In light of this crackdown on freedom of expression. Amnesty International has released a Press Release about the situation and also a Public Statement, titled, “State of Palestine: Alarming attack on Freedom of Expression."

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