Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike, Israeli Administrative TORTURE & US CONGRESS

Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike, Israeli Administrative TORTURE & US CONGRESS
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Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike, Israeli Administrative TORTURE & US CONGRESS

By Eileen Fleming

EXCLUSIVE to The Arab Daily News

“We should begin by refusing to use the phrase administrative detention, rechristening it as ‘administrative torture’ or ‘lawless captivity’Richard Falk said in 2012 while serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

Israel alleges its administrative detention/torture is for SECURITY purposes. 

Israeli prison cell for Palestinians  Photo: IRIN

Typical Israeli prison cell for Palestinians
Photo: IRIN

On 24 April 2014, around 100 Palestinian prisoners launched a peaceful protest-hunger strike and were later joined by more detainees.

The total number of hunger strikers is close to 300 and more are expected to join in the coming weeks.

prisoneraug13

On Thursday, members of the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories wrote:

The Arab Daily News

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It is a desperate plea by these detainees to be afforded a very basic standard of due process: to know what they are accused of and to be able to defend themselves.

International humanitarian law only exceptionally allows for the use of administrative detention, yet the Israeli authorities have detained a large number of Palestinians for reasons not explicitly indicated.

Initial administrative detention orders of six-month periods can be renewed an indefinite number of times without producing charges.

 

The Committee also learned that 11 elected Palestinian Legislators are currently serving prison terms, including 8 held under administrative detention.

The Special Committee was also alarmed over the Israeli Government pushing for an early vote on a bill in the Knesset that would allow the force-feeding of hunger striking detainees.

Force-feeding is in defiance of international human rights law as it violates the rights of the detainees!

The Special Committee also wrote:

 

We have a number of testimonies indicating that medical needs of Palestinian detainees within the Israeli prison system have been neglected, in some cases leading to deaths which might have been avoided with proper care and timely diagnosis.
Given that there are more than 5,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, we strongly appeal to the Israeli authorities to allow all Palestinian detainees, especially women and children, to be periodically seen by Palestinian doctors in order to avoid losing more lives.

 

During its annual mission to the region [June 1-5] the Committee met a number of witnesses, non-governmental organizations, Palestinian government officials, and UN agencies operating in the Occupied State of Palestine and the Occupied Syrian Golan and noted:

 

In all Israeli occupied territories, settlement expansion continues at an alarming pace and scale, with new policies and procedures allowing for the confiscation of Palestinian lands and property.

The Special Committee is also concerned about excavations under the Al-Aqsa holy site.

However, Israel continues to turn a deaf ear to repeated calls by the UN to comply with international law and to halt and dismantle settlements.

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Wall.

Rooftop view from Aida Camp by Eileen Fleming

Rooftop view from Aida Camp by Eileen Fleming

 

 

On 8 December 2003, the General Assembly of the United Nations in its tenth emergency special session adopted resolution ES-10/14, in which the Assembly requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently render an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

 

In 2004, the ICJ ruled Israel’s Wall is ILLEGAL where ever it does NOT follow the Green Line-which is most everywhere.

The ICJ also ruled that ALL of Israel’s settlements are ILLEGAL under International Law.

 

However, in the Wild West Bank, settler violence continues unabated; as does the destruction of Palestinian property, agriculture, livestock, acts of vandalism on religious places of worship including churches and mosques.

Eyewitnesses also briefed the Special Committee on how Bedouin communities are being forced off their land through settler violence, land seizures and demolition orders.

“We have heard troubling personal accounts of excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against Palestinian children, especially in and around refugee camps,” noted the Committee.

The Special Committee raised serious concerns over the detention of over 200 children and the recent killing of two teenagers during Nakba Day demonstrations documented by CCTV footage proved they were no direct threat at the time that they were killed!

The Special Committee also affirmed the obvious:

“It is not a humane existence for these children, women and men to be living under such constant threats”


Committee members also learned that even the limited humanitarian assistance that international donors are allowed to provide to the Palestinian population, was being confiscated, destroyed or transferred to settler communities by Israeli authorities.

In Gaza, the situation has been deemed “dire” and today:

The Arab Daily News photojournalist, Mohammed Asad documented facts on the ground HERE 

 

The UN Special Committee concurred that the current projection that Gaza will be unlivable in 2020 -as too optimistic!

Gaza’s water supply and food crisis and soaring unemployment ALL result from Israel’s land and maritime blockade.

Israel’s enforcement of the Access Restricted Areas further deprives farmers and fishermen of their livelihood and the destruction and confiscation of fishermen’s boats and equipment by Israeli naval forces impose huge financial burdens on the fishing community.

 

The Special Committee also welcomed the resolve of the Palestinian leadership to unify the West Bank and Gaza under one Palestinian Government.

 
The Special Committee will present a full report on its June 1-5 mission and other activities to the sixty-ninth session of the UN General Assembly. The Assembly established the Committee in 1968 to examine the human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

 

On 3 June 2014, Palestinian Mothers & Wives of “Administrative Detainees” appealed to the Chairman and Members of the U.S. Congress:

We, the mothers and wives of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prisons, would like to express our deep concern for the lives of our sons and husbands, who launched open-ended hunger strike since 24 April 2014 in protest of their continued detention under administrative detention.

 

Our sons and husbands are suffering from grave health consequences as a result of their prolonged hunger strikes, as well as from cruel punishments perpetrated by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), including strip searches; solitary confinement; beating, insults and humiliation during daily cell raids; denial of visits from their families; and restricted access to their legal counsel.

 

Israel exercises military law in the West Bank, which is used to hold Palestinians without charge or trial on the basis of evidence that is not accessible either to the detainees or their lawyers, a process called administrative detention. According to article 285, Israeli Military Order 1651, these administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely every one to six months. Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank within Israeli borders violates articles 49 and 76 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit an occupying power from detaining members of the occupied population outside the occupied territory.

 

In its concluding observations on Israel in 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, criticized Israel’s “frequent and extensive use of administrative detention,” and called on Israel to “refrain from using [it]” and to “complete as soon as possible” a review of relevant legislation.

 

The laws of occupation, which Israel is bound to respect as the occupying power in the West Bank, permits the use of administrative detention only in exceptional circumstances. Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides that an occupying power may legitimately order the detention of an individual only “for imperative reasons of security.”

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross, in its “Commentary” to article 78, stresses that the “exceptional character” of such measures “must be preserved.”

Sarah Leah Whitson , Middle East director at Human Rights Watch stated “It is outrageous that Israel has locked these men up for months without either charging them with crimes or allowing them to see the evidence it says it has against them…

 

The detainees evidently feel they have to put their lives in jeopardy through hunger strikes so that Israel will end these unlawful practices…Israel’s regular use of administrative detention, at the least, inverts international law and turns the exception into the norm, at the cost of the fundamental right to due process.”[1]

 

Both the UN Committee Against Torture and the UN Human Rights Committee have criticized the way Israel uses administrative detention orders and called on it to review its use[2].

In a Joint report published in October 2009 by two Israeli organizations; Hmoked and B’Tselem called on the government of Israel to release the administrative detainees or prosecute them in accordance with the due-process standards set forth in international law.

So long as Israel continues to administratively detain Palestinians, it must use this means in a way that complies with international law. Within the above-mentioned report the following paragraph was included:

“Under international law, a state may detain a resident of occupied territory without trial to prevent danger only in extremely exceptional cases. Israel, however, holds hundreds of Palestinians for months and years under administrative orders, without prosecuting them. By doing so, it denies them rights to which ordinary detainees in criminal proceedings are entitled: they do not know why they are detained, when they will go free and what evidence exists against them, and are not given an opportunity to refute this evidence. As with many patterns of its activity in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, Israel cites what it defines as “security needs” to explain its policy of detention without trial. Yet these needs, assuming they indeed exist in every case of administrative detention, cannot justify such grave infringement of human rights, in breach of international humanitarian law[3] .”

 

The international community in general – and particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which include the U.S., has a direct responsibility to ensure that international law is not violated. For decades numerous articles of the Convention have been breached by the Israeli authorities on a daily basis, but as yet, no genuine pressure has been applied.

Israel should immediately charge or release our sons and husbands who are detained without charge or trial. It has not charged any of them with any crime, and never allowed them to see or contest any evidence against them, instead placing them in administrative detention for renewed periods, which Israel contends is a preventive rather than punitive form of detention.

Israel should be forced to respect International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law, by the brave and honest leaders in the world, such as you. Your vital role is crucially needed, in ending the policy of administrative detention forever, as this abusive and unlawful practice severely affects the administrative detainees and their families, especially their children.

We, the mothers and wives, believe that your urgent and brave response to our appeal, will save the lives of our sons and husbands, and will end the suffering of hundreds of Palestinian families. We hope that your kind efforts, will contribute in achieving justice, and peace in the world for all peoples, and especially for the oppressed Palestinian people.

 

Jonathan Ben Artzi is a nephew of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spent eighteen months in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli Occupying Forces has pleaded:

Sometimes it takes a good friend to tell you when enough is enough.

As they did with South Africa two decades ago, concerned citizens across the US can make a difference by encouraging Washington to get the message to Israel that this cannot continue.

If Americans truly are our friends, they should shake us up and take away the keys, because right now we are driving drunk, and without this wake-up call, we will soon find ourselves in the ditch of an undemocratic, doomed state.

 

[1]www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/23/israel_end_abusive_detention_practices
[2] UN Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations (Israel), 14 May 2009, paragraph 17 – CAT/C/ISR/CO/4; and UN Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations (Israel), 29 July 2010, paragraph 7 – CCPR/C/ISR/CO/3.
[3]http://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/200910_without_trial

 

Eileen Fleming founded WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in 2005. She is the Administrator of FREE VANUNU at Facebook and TNT/Telling Nuclear Truths. Follow her at TWITTER

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This post has been viewed 3610 times.

Eileen Fleming

Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for TADN at The Arab Daily News
Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" who founded WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel.
In 2012, Eileen ran for US House of Representatives District 5, in Fl.
Read her FREE eBooks and more at:http://www.eileenfleming.org/
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