France calls jailed Palestinian activist ‘human rights defender’

Posted: December 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, unarmed protest | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

In a letter to the French-Palestine Solidarity Association, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé slams Israel for arresting and trying Bassem Tamimi in military court. Mr. Juppé states that “an official demarche has recently been delivered on his behalf to the Israeli authorities by the chief representative of the European Union delegation in Tel Aviv”

Bassem Tamimi at Ofer military court, West Bank (image: activestills.org)

Palestinian protest organizer Bassem Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli army last March, and has been in prison ever since. Tamimi, a father of four from Nabi Saleh, has been the target of the Israeli security forces since the beginning of the unarmed protest in his village a couple of years ago. The Palestinians in Nabi Saleh are demanding the return of the lands that were taken from them by the army and settlers of nearby Halamish. The regular protests erupted after the settlers took over a pond used by the village’s people. you can read more about the protest in Nabi Saleh here.

Last week, Alain Juppé, the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, sent a letter to the French-Palestine Solidarity Association, in which he expressed his deep concern over the indictment and incarceration of Bassem Tamimi.

“Tamimi’s situation is just as much of a concern to me as it is to you,” Mr. Juppé wrote, “The European Union has taken this case and considers Mr. Tamimi a human rights defender and a non-violent demonstrator.”

Tamimi doesn’t stand a real chance in court: The conviction rate for Palestinians in Israeli military courts is a stunning 99.74 percent, and previous unarmed protest organizers – like those from the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin – have been sentenced to long prison terms, despite international protest.

Here is Mr. Juppé’s letter (translation from a press release by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee; French original can be read here).

MINISTRY
OF FOREIGN  AND
EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
REPUBLIC OF FRANCE

Paris, November 25th, 2011 – 010286CM

The Minister of State

Mister President [of AFPS],

You have brought to my attention the case of Mr. Bassem Tamimi, coordinator of the popular committee of Nabi Saleh, for which I thank you.

Mr. Tamimi who was arrested on March 24th has been charged of five offenses. Three of these charges are based on a military edict which amounts to a denial of the right to demonstrate of all Palestinians under military occupation, a right which is nevertheless universally recognized.

Tamimi’s situation is just as much of a concern to me as it is to you.  The European Union has taken this case and considers Mr. Tamimi a human rights defender and a non-violent demonstrator. An official demarche has recently been delivered on his behalf to the Israeli authorities by the chief representative of the European Union delegation in Tel Aviv.  The aforementioned intervention also denoted  the European support for the right to demonstrate non-violently in the Palestinian territories.

Regarding the issue of colonization, that Mr. Tamimi denounces, I remind you the firm position that France has taken in condemning this type enterprise, which we have recently qualified as “provocation”. Colonization is contrary to international law and is an impediment to peace.

I thank you, Mr. President, and you have my deepest consideration.

Alain JUPPÉ

It is worth reading Bassem Tamimi’s statement before the military court (here).

More on this issue:
Palestinian protest organizer stands no chance in army court
Conviction rate for Palestinians in Israel’s military courts: 99.74%
UN special rapporteur on torture to address Nabi Saleh trial
Nabi Saleh: A tiny village’s struggle againt the occupation


Conviction rate for Palestinians in Israel’s military courts: 99.74%

Posted: November 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, unarmed protest | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Unlike Jews, Palestinians under Israeli control in the West Bank are tried in military courts, where the rights of defendants rights are minimal, and the prosecution enjoys a low burden of proof and – most importantly – wears the same uniforms as the judges – IDF uniforms. In a military court, the testimony of a soldier who arrested a Palestinian can be enough to send a minor to prison. The results are staggering: Palestinians have no chance to walk free from an Israeli trial.

A new internal IDF document revealed today by Haaretz shows that in 2010, 99.74 percent of the trials of Palestinians  in Israeli military courts ended in convictions. That’s 25 acquittals, out of 9,542 cases.

It seems that the system is getting better: In 2006, a report by Human Rights NGO Yesh Din showed that 99.71 percent of Palestinian defendants in Israeli military courts were convicted. That’s 26 acquittals out of 8,854.

Between 2005-2010, 835 Palestinian minors were accused of stone-throwing in Israeli military courts. One was acquitted.

Military justice is to justice as military music is to music, the saying goes. The system that Israel employs to arrest, prosecute and punish Palestinians over the last almost half century is the best proof of that.

Read more on the Israeli military court system:
Hope ends here: The children’s court at Ofer Military Prison
In the West Bank, there is no justice, even for children
New film tackles military justice system in the West Bank


Hebron “water thieve” fined, sentenced for 3 months in Israeli prison

Posted: August 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Settlements | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Palestinian News Agency: Father in “crying boy” video convicted of assaulting soldiers by IDF military court

Palestinian news agency Maan reports that Fadel Jaberi, the father of little Khaled Jaberi, was sentenced to three months in Israeli prison. The video of Fadel’s arrest in front of the sobbing four year old Khaled received considerable media attention outside Israel in the past few weeks.

Fadel and his brother Wadee were arrested during a military raid on the Jaberi farm, after the head of the family, Badran Jaberi, connected his water system to a pipe running through his fields to a nearby settlement. Palestinian farmers don’t receive water from Israel in the Hebron area.

This is form Maan (h/t Apartheid Watch):

HEBRON (Ma’an) — The father of a recently spotlighted child who was filmed begging Israeli forces to release his dad from detention has been sentenced to three months in prison plus a fine, relatives said Wednesday.

Footage of Fadil Al-Jabari’s four-year-old son Khalid sobbing at the sight of his father being dragged away sparked outrage. “You dog, give me my dad. I want daddy. I want daddy. Give me my dad,” Khalid cried.

Fadil was charged with obstructing an arrest and striking an officer, both charges that he denied. Khalid’s uncle was sentenced along with his father, also for three months, family members told Ma’an.

Last week I posted here Haaretz’s Gidoen Levy’s account of the arrest, as it was told to him by the Jaberi family.

Notice that both Fadel and Wadee were sentenced for assaulting the soldiers, a very common charge in Israeli military courts, and one that it’s almost impossible to defend.

All Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military rule, and are tried in military courts, where suspects’ rights are limited and the burden on the prosecution is practically non-existing. The result – an astonishing 99.7 conviction rate, with most suspects signing a plea bargain, since they know they don’t stand any real chance of walking away free. The average hearing of a Palestinian in an Israeli military court takes two minutes.

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More on Hebron water wars: Here is a very recent vidoe from South Hebron area. It’s in Hebrew, but you can clearly see the Palestinians and Israeli activists confronting the settlers who are trying to prevent them from filling a water hole (2:27 min). The soldiers try to separate the two sides, but they end up declaring the entire area a “closed militry zone” (6:50), so the Palestinians and activists are forced to leave.

Military Courts: You can read more about the Israeli military courts in the West Bank on Yesh Din’s 2008 report, a part of the organization’s ongoing Military Courts Project.