Thursday, September 5, 2013

Defend Palestinian political prisoners

Since the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, an estimated 650,000 to 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli troops & stuffed into Israeli prisons. That estimate includes 10,000 women jailed since 1967 & 8,000 children arrested since 2000. As of April 1, 2013, there were 4,900 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 236 children.

According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, arrestees in occupied territories must be held in prisons within the occupied territory but since Israel thinks its US-bankrolled tanks & bulldozers put it above the law, only one prison out of 17 is in fact outside Israel.  The result is that many prisoners have trouble meeting with Palestinian defense counsel or cannot get family visits if their relatives are denied permits to enter Israel.

Palestinians are arrested under Israeli military regulations for “hostile terrorist activity” (i.e., rock throwing), disturbance of public order (i.e., protesting land expropriations or even carrying a Palestinian flag), illegal presence in Israel (i.e., trying to find work), or traffic (you go to jail for failing to make a turn signal?) & criminal offenses.

A detainee can be interrogated for up to 90 days & denied lawyer visits for up to 60 days. Interrogation includes physical & psychological torture--beatings, tying prisoners in “stress positions”, sleep & other sensory deprivation, isolation & solitary confinement, & threats against the lives of relatives--all suggesting the Israeli military is well-tutored in the methods used in CIA torture centers. “Confessions” extracted by such methods are admissible in Israeli kangaroo courts even though they flout international law. But of course, the CIA has probably assured Israel that international law is formulated for suckers & there are no consequences to pay for defying them.

This young Palestinian was arrested by Israeli riot cops at a protest outside the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on September 4th. We are told the “disturbances” caused the temporary closure of the mosque. No further explanation is given but it’s likely the Israeli cops were barring entrance to the mosque--not that imams were blocking the doors.

Support Palestinian political prisoners by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729), supporting the cultural boycott of Israel, & demanding “No US aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Marco Longari/AFP)

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