| U-Turn: Israel PM halts plans to build settler homes!

Israel PM halts plans to build settler homes ~ Al Jazeera.

Israeli PM says plans caused ‘unnecessary conflict’ with international community and potentially hindered Iran talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a reassessment of plans to build nearly 24,000 settler homes, saying he feared an international outcry that would divert attention from Israel’s lobbying against a nuclear deal with Iran.

The right-wing Israeli leader announced the reversal on Tuesday in the face of stiff US opposition to settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Palestinian anger that threatens three-month-old peace talks brokered by Washington.

Before news of Netanyahu’s change of course, President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the Palestinian leadership to hold “an urgent emergency meeting in the coming hours, with all options on the table,” the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

Peace Now, which monitors settlement activity on occupied land Palestinians seek for a state, said the Housing Ministry had issued tenders late last month for drawing up construction plans, but that no building work was imminent.

Publication of the tenders had gone unnoticed in the media until Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper and Peace Now reported on the potential projects earlier on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, a strong advocate of settlement building, appeared to have been caught unawares by the proposals, which were disclosed only days after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Israel and the West Bank in a bid to salvage peace negotiations that have shown little sign of progress.

‘Bad deal’

Before leaving Israel, amid Netanyahu saying that “a very bad deal” was in the making between world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme, Kerry urged the Jewish state to limit settlement activity.

In a slap down of a key partner in his governing coalition, Netanyahu reprimanded Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the pro-settler Jewish Home party for publishing the tenders “without prior coordination.”

A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office said he ordered Ariel to reassess all of the proposed projects.

Publication of the tenders “created a needless confrontation with the international community just when we are making an effort to persuade (it) to reach a better agreement with Iran,” the statement said.

“World attention must not be diverted from the primary goal – preventing Iran from achieving an agreement that would enable it to continue its nuclear military programme,” Netanyahu’s statement said.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only atomic power, has been pushing for total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear-enrichment capabilities and cautioning against any premature easing of economic sanctions.

Associated Press




| Marwan Barghouti: If Occupation continues, there will be [new] Intifada!

Marwan Barghouti: If Occupation Continues, There will be Intifada ~  Palestine News Network.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper published yesterday, that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said in an interview with channel 10 from his prison cell, that if he were Palestinian Authority president, he wouldn’t be able to promise that there would not be a third intifada, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has done.

Channel 10 aired the interview – jointly conducted with Haaretz – on Wednesday night, marking the first Israeli interview of its kind after the ten years of prison time that the revered Palestinian figure has served.

Barghouti warned that if the occupation continued, there will be a third intifada, but it will be a popular non-violent uprising.

According to the same newspaper, Barghouti said that the conflict would strengthen Hamas and said that the rockets helped the Gaza movement, and “were a good thing.” However, he added that he could not say that it was appropriate to use them in every situation, as Hamas did. Nevertheless, he asserted that the Israelis “only understand force.”

He described Abbas as the most comfortable partner Israel could have, and said he had no choice but to go the United Nations General Assembly with the Palestinian statehood bid, otherwise “he would go home.”

Barghouti recalled when Abbas had said that he would give up any claim to Safed, where he had lived as a child. Abbas said, “Palestine now for me is the ’67 borders; with East Jerusalem as its capital…I believe the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts are Israel.”

Abbas’ statements came during a channel 2 interview in March when he was asked if he would like to return to his birth town of Safed.

Barghouti stressed that he himself would not give up the claim to the right of return, which he called a sacred right of the Palestinians.

He also stated that Israel has proven it does not want peace.

“When I’m president, and Israel agrees to a two-state solution based on the 1967 border with the capital of Palestine as east Jerusalem, I will ensure that Hamas does not carry out attacks,” he said.


Marwan Barghouti, jailed Palestinian leader, makes rare court appearance – video:

[ The Guardian, 

  •  Source: Reuters, Length: 58 sec]

Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli court for the murder of Israeli civilians in 2002, makes a rare court appearance on Wednesday. Barghouti has been politically active while in prison, and was elected to a Fatah leadership role in 2009. Barghouti appeared in court as a witness in another case.




free bird2

| More illegal collective punishment as Israel seizes $120m in Palestinian tax revenue over UN vote!

Israel seizes $120m in Palestinian tax revenue over UN vote ~  in Jerusalem, guardian.co.uk.

Palestinian official accuses Israel of desperation after second punitive response to UN vote recognising state of Palestine.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas

Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, waves to supporters in Ramallah, West Bank. On Friday, Israel announced a big settlement expansion programme. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images

Israel has seized more than $120m (£75m)in tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to last week’s overwhelming vote at the UN general assembly to recognise the state of Palestine.

The move came as the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, returned to cheering crowds in Ramallah in the West Bank following Thursday’s vote, in which 138 countries backed enhanced “non-member state” status for Palestine. Only nine countries opposed the move and 41 abstained.

The financial sanction is Israel’s second punitive response to the vote. On Friday, it announced a big settlement expansion programme.

An Israeli official said Israel was entitled to deduct the sum from a debt of more than $200m (£125m) owed by the PA to the Israel Electric Corporation. But he conceded that the move was in response to the UN vote, and that it could be repeated next month. “A lot depends on what the Palestinians do or don’t do,” he said.

The Israeli finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio: “I do not intend this month to transfer the funds to the Palestinians. In the coming period I intend to use the money to deduct debts the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation and other bodies.”

A spokeswoman for the PA declined to comment, saying Palestinian officials had not been officially notified of the move. But Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel was guilty of “piracy and theft” by refusing to hand over the funds, according to news agency reports.

Israel had been expected to take punitive measures following the UN vote. A Palestinian official said the withholding of tax revenues was an “act of desperation” in the face of overwhelming international support for a Palestinian state.

In the past, Israel has frozen the monthly revenues as a sanction against the PA, resulting in the late payment of salaries for thousands of public servants in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sunday’s decision followed the announcement – within hours of the UN vote – of a big settlement expansion programme, including the controversial development of highly sensitive land close to Jerusalem.

On Friday, Israel said it would build 3,000 new homes in settlements across the pre-1967 Green Line. It also said it would push ahead with the development of an area known as E1, which would close off East Jerusalem – the intended future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank. The announcement drew condemnation from the US and Britain.

Around 5,000 people gathered near the PA presidential compound in Ramallah on Sunday to greet Abbas on his return from New York. The world had said a loud “yes to the state of Palestine”, he told the crowd. Among the chants from supporters were demands for reconciliation between the dominant and rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, and unity between the West Bank and Gaza.

At the Israeli cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said: “The PA’s one-sided step at the UN constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel; accordingly … Israel rejects the UN general assembly decision.”

The country would “continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that are on the map of the strategic interests of the State of Israel”, he said.





| UN: Palestinian status bid LIVE!

UN: Palestinian status bid LIVE ~ RT.


The UN General Assembly is discussing the Palestinian Authority’s bid for non-member observer status. The Palestinian leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, will voice an official request for the status upgrade, followed by a debate and vote. Many nations, including France, Spain, China, and Russia have pledged to uphold the request. Opponents of the upgrade include the US, Germany and some other countries.


| Pirate Israel pulls back from threat to topple Palestinian leadership over UN vote!

Israel pulls back from threat to topple Palestinian leadership over UN vote ~  in Jerusalem, guardian.co.uk.

Israeli officials change tack after it becomes clear that request for statehood at UN is likely to gather significant support.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, (R) during a meeting with the US deputy secretary of state, William Burns, in New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

After weeks of shrill warnings over Thursday’s United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood, Israel has backed away from threats to cancel the Oslo peace accords and topple the Palestinian leadership.

Israeli officials are now playing down any immediate sanctions against the Palestinians after it became clear that the request for statehood is likely to gather significant support, which has strengthened since the Israeli assault on Gaza. Several European countries, including France, Switzerland and Spain, will back the Palestinian move, in part out of concern that failing to do so will weaken the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to the advantage of Hamas.

The Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, previously drew up proposals saying that if the UN vote went ahead “then Israel must exact a heavy price from Abu Mazen (Abbas), including the possibility of toppling his regime and dismantling the Palestinian Authority“. Israeli officials warned that funding to the PA could be cut, peace accords cancelled in part or in whole, and unrestricted construction of Jewish settlements authorised.

But the threats have not deterred the Palestinians nor a significant number of European countries from supporting their bid for “observer state”, which is on a par with the Vatican’s position at the UN.

Officials in Jerusalem are now instead seeking to disparage the vote as of no great significance in itself.

“We won’t cancel any of our agreements,” a senior Israeli diplomatic official told reporters. “When we choose to respond, we will carefully weigh our options. We will do everything we can that’s within Israeli law and within the framework of the agreements we signed with the Palestinians.”

The Israeli move also came under US pressure. Haaretz reported that the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, warned the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, during talks in Jerusalem last week not to destabilise the Palestinian Authority.

Israel says the Palestinian leadership will instead be judged on how it uses the new non-member state status at the UN, particularly over asking the international criminal court (ICC) to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes.

Abbas is under considerable pressure from Israel, the US and Britain in particular to renounce the option for the Palestinian Authority to accede to the ICC.

Britain said it would abstain in the UN vote unless it received assurances that the Palestinians would not seek to extend the jurisdiction of the ICC over the occupied territories, and unless the Palestinians committed to an immediate and unconditional return to the negotiating table with Israel.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, in a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, said: “Up until the time of the vote itself, we will remain open to voting in favour of the resolution if we see public assurances by the Palestinians on these points. However, in the absence of these assurances, the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote.”

The draft resolution released by the Palestinians on Wednesday, however, showed that no such concessions had been made.

The Palestinian observer at the UN, Riyad Mansour, told reporters that the PA would neither immediately sign up for the ICC nor renounce its right to do so.

“I don’t believe that we are going to be rushing the second day to join everything related to the United Nations, including the ICC,” he said.

But Mansour said that if Israel continued to violate international law, in particular by continuing Jewish settlement construction in the occupied territories, then the Palestinians would have to consider “what should we do next to bring Israel into compliance?”

“We’re not in the business of trying to prolong this conflict and settle scores,” he said. “But we are not fools nor dummies. If they don’t move in that direction … then all of us should be considering all other possible options in order to bring them into compliance.”

The Israeli move to downplay the vote appears to be an attempt to diminish embarrassment at the failure of its efforts to persuade most European countries to abstain in the hopes of denying the Palestinians the legitimacy garnered from the support of democratic countries.

The motion is virtually assured of passing because a majority of countries in the general assembly have indicated they will back the statehood measure.

A veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, Hanan Ashrawi, called intense pressure from the US and other countries to get Abbas to drop the UN vote “pathetic” and said it harmed Washington’s standing in the Arab world.



| People power trumps political puppets: Palestinian statehood wins European backing!

Palestinian statehood wins European backing ~ The Guardian.

A majority of Europeans want their governments to vote for Palestinian recognition at the UN, latest polls reveal!

Mohamed Mursi and Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, pictured left with Mohamed Mursi of Egypt, said last week he would press ahead with his bid at the UN. Photograph: Reuters

Overwhelming majorities in the UK and other western European countries believe Palestinians should have their own state and want their governments to vote for recognition of Palestine at the United Nations at the end of the month, according to latest polls.

Among Britons questioned, 72% said the Palestinians had a right to statehood, against only 6% who disagreed. When it came to the British vote on recognition at the UN general assembly on 29 November, 58% were in favour of a yes vote, against 8% who said the UK should vote no. Similar widelarge majorities were found in polls in Germany, France and Spain. The online polls were commissioned by Avaaz, the pro-democracy advocacy group, and carried out by YouGov in Britain and Germany, Ifop in France and Metroscopia in Spain. They took place earlier this month, on a sample size of 1,635 adults in the UK, and more than 1,000 in the other countries.

Of the four countries polled, Spain is expected to support Palestinian recognition, France has said it will not rule it out, and UK and Germany have given no clear indication. Israel has been intensively lobbying EU states against recognition and has issued threats against the Palestinian leadership,including saying it will seek to overthrow the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, if the general assembly vote goes ahead.

The Palestinians are expected to win the vote, but Israel is anxious that major European powers do not support the resolution, in an effort to reduce the “moral authority” implied by a United Nations vote.


| Fairness: Time for a new approach to Palestinian aid!

A new approach to Palestinian aid ~  Nadia Hijab, Alaa Tartir, Jeremy Wildeman, The Middle East Channel.

The U.S. State Department recently warned (again) that any move by the Palestine Liberation Organization to enhance the organization’s status at the United Nations would, among other things, put United States aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) at risk.

That day may not be far off. PA President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade Palestine to non-member state status later this month. But is a U.S. aid cutoff such a bad thing? More voices are questioning international aid to the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, with some even calling for a full boycott of the aid industry.

Palestinians do need international assistance. However, after decades of failure it is well past time to devise an alternative aid agenda that goes beyond just helping Palestinians cope with occupation while Israel pulls their land out from under them. An alternative model that makes aid effective must challenge the status quo and support the quest for freedom, rights, and self-determination.

Before discussing how, it is worth briefly revisiting the problems with international aid. They are best illustrated by the World Bank’s latest growth report for the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The report offers a negative prognosis of the Palestinian economy and, unsurprisingly, it concludes that growth based on foreign aid is unsustainable.

Yet the World Bank’s own policy prescriptions have been a large part of the problem because they heavily influence the way donors design their aid programs. Here are just two examples:

  • Conventional economic theories are applied to the OPTs and, as a result, some policy recommendations are dangerously unrealistic. The growth report actually called on the Palestinians to emulate the Asian tigers by “adopting an outward orientation and integrating into world supply chains” and said the PA should strive for a business environment “that is among the best in the world.” Just how an “authority” that exercises no control over its own land, borders, and natural resources can carry out such export-based private sector growth is not explained.
  • The growth report repeats the dangerous belief that the OPTs’ economy can benefit from deeper integration with the Israeli economy. The fact is Israel has made sure that such “integration” has been one-sided, allowing it to exploit a captive Palestinian market with international aid paying for the large trade deficit with Israel.

An alternative aid model would focus donors on ways to counter dispossession, keep Palestinians on their land, and challenge Israel’s occupation policies and practices without forfeiting the ability to function in the OPTs. Here are three things donors can consider: promoting self-reliance in basic foods and reversing the decline of the agricultural sector; supporting cooperatives and local economic enterprises; and assisting sectors such as information technology that could break through the barriers Israel has erected around the Palestinian economy. Most importantly, they should do no harm.

None of this is impossible. During the first Intifada, and despite Israeli counter-measures, Palestinians in the OPTs reduced their economic dependence on Israel by promoting local consumption and generating local employment. The situation is much more complex today given the far greater fragmentation of the territories and illegal Israeli settlement building. Nevertheless, there is still much that can be done.

The first step must be to reverse the decline in the agricultural sector: Its contribution to GDP fell from around 13.3 percent in 1994 to 5.2 percent in 2010. This was largely due to Israeli colonization practices, particularly in Area C, which constitutes some 62 percent of the West Bank and includes its best land and water resources. However, it is also due to PA and donor neglect that left the sector seriously under-resourced. No more than 1 percent of the total annual budget has been allocated to agriculture sector since the PA was formed (around 85 percent of which goes to staff salaries) and agriculture dropped to around 0.74 percent of international total aid by 2006.

Moreover, the sector was steered from key staples to cash crops for export such as flowers, even though Israel controlled access to and from the OPTs thus reducing self-reliance.

Instead, policies should support low-intensity agriculture, using targeted subsidies to enable farmers to stay on their land and reinforce its productivity, which can also help create jobs. The food produced should be directed primarily to local markets, reducing dependency on food aid and Israeli imports.

Integrated agricultural units can be supported, as Palestinian environment expert George Kurzom suggests. For example, herbs can serve as fodder in winter, trees can provide food as well as animal feed and fuel, with tools and machinery maintained by local mechanics. Other possibilities include urban agriculture, aquaponics, and “vertical gardens” that have been piloted among Palestinian refugees in camps in Lebanon and in the OPTs. Recent youth initiatives to support farmers in their lands and encourage volunteerism, such as Fariq Saned, are inspiring examples. PA departments can assist by providing access to finance, technical assistance, and institutional memory, among other support.

Secondly, it is important to promote cooperatives and local economic enterprises. Cooperatives have also been neglected in the OPTs despite their economic potential in agribusiness, small industry, and crafts production. Cooperatives can help break barriers, overcome geographic isolation, and expand markets — and build social solidarity and self-reliance.

Although some aid has been directed to cooperatives, there is insufficient donor understanding that this is an economic enterprise albeit with social responsibility. Some aid unwittingly weakens cooperatives by dealing with them as charitable grant-making organizations, feeding into a culture of dependency rather than self-reliance among communities.

Rather, investment should be made in building the capacity of both the government’s cooperative department and existing cooperative associations on sound governance, enterprise development, and cooperation principles. Recent investment in the capacity of women-majority Union of Cooperative Associations for Savings and Credit in the OPTs provide useful lessons.

Indeed, women’s economic activity can be targeted through cooperatives since most women already work in family-based agriculture and in food and handicrafts micro-enterprises. There is in addition a need to identify new niche markets, especially in services, so as to increase both the scope and diversity of women’s work.

Another avenue for donor assistance to the OPTs is to develop sustainable local enterprise networks (SLENs) that promote local market-based approaches. Samer Abdelnour has documented experiences in the Sudan as well as in Lebanon and in the OPTs. Efforts in the OPTs that could be developed among these lines include community permaculture projects in Nablus and Beit Sahour, and the fair trade initiatives Zaytoun and Canaan Fair Trade that reach international markets. Other interventions could include rooftop farming, small-scale health franchises, and certified midwives.

A third promising area for investment is the Palestinian Information Technology (IT) sector, which may be relatively impervious to strict Israeli limitations on Palestinians’ freedom of movement. Investment in the sector during the aid induced upswing of 2008 to 2010 buoyed hopes. Since 2009, $78 million has been invested while IT grew from 0.8 percent to 5 percent of Palestinian GDP from 2008 to 2010 — albeit on modest revenue of $6 million. Still, for the Palestinian economy this is a rare growth area dependent less on foreign aid than it is on private sector investment.

U.S. technology firm CISCO, which invested $15 million in the OPTs, went so far as to say that “Palestine is on the brink of becoming the next high tech global hotspot.” Google’s Gisel Kordestani pointing to Palestinian strengths in education and English-language skills says they could help “build something for the Arab world.”

However, even the IT sector is held hostage to the occupation. For example, Israel impeded the upgrade of Palestinian communications hardware necessary for an IT sector to flourish and does not provide frequencies for 3G services putting them at a great competitive disadvantage. Moreover, there is the danger that Israeli companies will reap the lion’s share of the rewards, reinforcing unjust hierarchies of control that make growth impossible under occupation. A warning sign is that Israel itself is soliciting European donors for this sector.

Finally, there is the issue of doing no harm. Some of the same donors who fund Palestinian development also fund PA security collaboration with Israel and projects aimed at “normalizing” the occupation. They are now being challenged by the youth movement as well as by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Some voices are calling on Palestinians to decline aid from nations that directly support Israeli military activities.

An alternative aid agenda would need political protection by donor agencies and their governments because it would pose a direct challenge to Israel’s colonial enterprise.

Further, an alternative model encompassing the kinds of policies and programs described above would have to be linked to a political process that secures Palestinian rights under international law. Otherwise donors are simply soothing the pain while Israel continues to colonize and dispossess the Palestinian people.

Nadia Hijab, Alaa Tartir, and Jeremy Wildeman are, respectively, Director, Program Director, and Guest Author of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.


| Who cares for Palestinian political prisoner on hunger strike after 53 days of Israeli detention?

Hunger striker Khader Adnan, held by Israel, in “shocking” condition as solidarity grows

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 02/08/2012 – 16:45

Adnan Khader, the head of the Islamic Jihad Movement in the West Bank, talking to the media after a meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Muqata in the West Bank town of Ramallah June 28, 2005.

(Mushir Abdelrahman / Maan Images)

The wife and children of Khader Adnan were allowed to visit him as the husband, father and baker completed 53 continuous days of hunger strike against his detention without charge or trial since Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank arrested him on 17 December.

Randa Adnan told Ma’an News Agency:

“Adnan is being targeted for a slow process of assassination” she said. She says she was “shocked” at her husband’s condition, and that he told her he feels he’s living the last moments of his life, she said.

“A lot of the hair on his face and head has fallen off. He has not been allowed to shower or wash during all his time in detention, nor is he allowed to wear warm clothes in this cold weather.”

She added that “during my visit, my husband’s heart swelled up and a medical crew neglected him for half an hour.”

The Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer added through its Twitter account:

Addameer –الضمير#KhaderAdnan’s wife and daughters were able to see him yesterday. His wife described his shocking appearance.#Dying2Live
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرWhen they saw their father, #KhaderAdnan’s young daughters asked, “Why does he look like this? Why can’t we take him home?”#Dying2Live
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

More than a week ago, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, who examined Adnan, said he could face imminent death due to his deteriorating condition.

Israel continues to obstruct due process

Meanwhile, according to Addameer, Israel continues to obstruct legal challenges to Adnan’s “administrative detention”:

Addameer –الضميرAppeal hearing for #KhaderAdnan was supposed to happen tomorrow morning but was just cancelled by the Israeli military judge #Dying2Live
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرIsraeli authorities are illegally preventing #KhaderAdnan’s lawyer from seeing him. Only one Addameer lawyer is being permitted to visit.
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرCorrection: #KhaderAdnan’s appeal hearing for tomorrow is still up in the air. A Physicians for Human Rights doctor is meeting with him now.
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرWe will know after his examination whether or not the hearing will be cancelled. #KhaderAdnan
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرUpdate: #KhaderAdnan’s appeal hearing will go forward tomorrow at Ofer at 10:30, despite the Israeli Prison Service attempting to cancel it
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Addameer –الضميرThe court refuses to hold the hearing in the hospital, though traveling to Ofer will be very hard on #KhaderAdnan
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Growing solidarity

Khader Adnan’s case has become widely known through social media, as Jalal AbuKhater wrote yesterday, people all over the world tweeted to the #Dying2Live hashtag to draw attention to Adnan’s struggle.

Action alerts have been issued calling on people to contact US or Israeli authorities to call for his release.

Amnesty International had previously issued two action alerts calling on Israel to release or charge Adnan. According to Amnesty, there were 307 Palestinian “administrative detainees” held by Israel as of 31 December, including 21 elected members of the Palestinian legislative council.

Meanwhile, protests and solidarity actions are being planned or staged:

Addameer –الضميرTomorrow at 10:00 there will be a demonstration outside Ofer Prison in support of #KhaderAdnan
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Halla Shoaibi#KhaderAdnan #Dying2Live Washington, DC Silent Peaceful Protest in Dupont Circle at 5 pm today Feb. 8, bring blindfold, wear black
Feb 08 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

GWU SJP“DC Tweeps RT – #KhaderAdnan #Dying2Live Washington, DC Silent Protest in Dupont Circle at 5 pm today Feb. 8, bring blindfold, wear black”
Feb 08 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

If you know of others, please leave a comment below.

“International community” ignores Adnan and other Palestinian prisoners

While grassroots outrage is growing over Adnan’s condition, official voices remain mute. The EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, who frequently called on Palestinians to release the Israeli prisoner of war (POW) held in Gaza until last October, has remained silent.

Meanwhile, as France ignores the fate of Adnan and thousands of other Palestinian prisoners, including almost 200 children in Israeli jails, President Nicholas Sarkozy today met with the former Israeli POW.

Last week, Palestinians in Gaza protested and refused to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon because while the latter also had met with the family of the Israeli ex-POW, he refused requests to meet with families of Palestinian prisoners.

Here is how you can help Khader Adnan:

Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Khader Adnan be released immediately and that his administrative detention not be renewed.

  • Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
    Military Judge Advocate General
    6 David Elazar Street
    Harkiya, Tel Aviv
    Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
    Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il
  • Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi
    OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
    Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
    Fax: +972 2 530 5741
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
    Ministry of Defense
    37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
    Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
    Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
  • Col. Eli Bar On
    Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
    Beth El 90631
    Fax: +972 2 9977326

Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Khader Adnan and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.



| Last chance appeal for near-death Palestinian hunger striker


ADDAMEER (Arabic for consciencePrisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.


| Amnesty to Israel: Release or try Khader Adnan, gravely ill after 51 days hunger strike!

Amnesty to Israel: Release or try Khader Adnan, gravely ill after 51 days hunger strike

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 02/06/2012 – 20:20.

Adnan Khader, the head of the Islamic Jihad Movement in the West Bank, talking to the media after a meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Muqata in the West Bank town of Ramallah June 28, 2005.

(Mushir Abdelrahman / Maan Images)

Amnesty International today told Israel to release or try Khader Adnan, the gravely ill Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 51 continuous days, ever since his arrest by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank on 17 December.

Amnesty’s demand came as Musa Adnan, Khader’s elderly father, announced that he was going on hunger strike too in solidarity with his son – whom doctors said is at risk of imminent death.

Adnan’s hunger strike is to protest the fact that he has been held by Israel without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention, and mistreatment by Israeli interrogators.

About 300 Palestinian prisoners, including 21 elected members of the Palestinian legislative council, are currently in administrative detention according to today’s statement from Amnesty.

The statements adds:

“For years Israel has been using administrative detention to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial, said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East.

“Military commanders can renew the detention orders repeatedly, so in effect detainees can be held indefinitely. The process violates their right to a fair trial which is guaranteed by international law Israel is obliged to uphold.”

Yet even if Israel does heed Amnesty’s call to charge and try Adnan, he’d hardly be likely to get a fair trial. Like thousands of other Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails, he would be subjected to Israel’s military occupation courts in which all the prosecutors and judges are officers in the Israeli occupation army.

Text of Amnesty statement

Israel must release or try Palestinian detainee on prolonged hunger strike

6 February 2012

The Israeli authorities must release a Palestinian detainee or charge him with a recognizable criminal offence and promptly try him, Amnesty International said today amid fears the man could die in detention after more than 50 days on hunger strike.

Khader Adnan, 33, was arrested on 17 December 2011 at his home in the village of Arrabe near Jenin in the occupied West Bank, after Israeli security forces burst into his home in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Adnan, a baker, is allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement.

On Wednesday a military court conducted a review of Khader Adnan’s case but the judge has yet to announce the outcome – release, his detention shortened or the order confirmed.

“For years Israel has been using administrative detention to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial, said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East.

“Military commanders can renew the detention orders repeatedly, so in effect detainees can be held indefinitely. The process violates their right to a fair trial which is guaranteed by international law Israel is obliged to uphold.”

Khader Adnan, who is also a post-graduate student, has been on hunger strike since 18 December in protest against his ill-treatment, the conditions of his detention, and the policy of administrative detention.

The Israeli military commander in the West Bank imposed a four-month administrative detention order on him last month.

The baker has been hospitalized since 30 December as his health deteriorated. He has not been allowed any family visits and the Israeli authorities have since moved him to various different hospitals around the country.

He was transferred to Ziv hospital in northern Israel on Sunday, in a move which his lawyers believe is intended to add further pressure on him, including by making it harder for his lawyers and family to visit him.

“The Israeli authorities must release Khader Adnan and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards,” Ann Harrison added.

He has reportedly lost more than 20 kilos since he began his hunger strike, and his health has reached a critical stage. On 29 January, he was visited by doctors from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, who gave him a medical check and warned that his life is at risk. He has since been denied further examination by independent doctors.

His hunger strike has prompted demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and last week other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails announced a hunger strike in solidarity.

Administrative detention, a procedure under which detainees considered a threat to Israeli security are held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, can be renewed indefinitely.

No criminal charges are filed against administrative detainees and there is no intention of bringing them to trial.

Detainees are held on the basis of “secret evidence” which the Israeli military authorities claim cannot be revealed for security reasons.

The “secret evidence” on which the military authorities base their decision to issue an administrative detention order is not made available to detainees or their lawyers, and detainees cannot challenge the reasons for their detention.

According to Israel’s prison service some 307 Palestinians were being held in administrative detention on 31 December last year, but this number may have since increased.

Twenty-one members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are currently being held in administrative detention.

Amnesty International believes that the practice of administrative detention in Israel and the Occupied Territories violates the internationally recognized right to a fair trial which must be upheld for all detainees, even during states of emergency.

“Israeli military law applied in the Occupied Palestinian Territories gives the authorities wide latitude to charge and try in military courts those individuals who they believe threaten Israeli security,” said Ann Harrison.

“Despite this, the Israeli authorities continue to use administrative detention to detain Palestinians without any charges whatsoever. These have included individuals who should not have been arrested at all and were prisoners of conscience.

“Anyone now held solely for the non-violent exercise of their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly must be released immediately and unconditionally.”