Amnesty Says, ‘Hands Off Ameer Makhoul!’
Amnesty International released a statement today threatening to make Ameer Makhoul a prisoner of conscience unless Israel stopped its harassment of him:
Amnesty International has called on the Israeli authorities to end their harassment of a human rights activist whose week-long detention by the Israeli authorities was extended today.
…”Ameer Makhoul is a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“His arrest and continued detention smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work. If this is the case, we would regard him as a prisoner of conscience call for his immediate and unconditional release.”
This is precisely the type of outside pressure which may get the bullies in the Shin Bet to back off. The other type of pressure is exposing as much of the so-called secret evidence that is still under wraps. I welcome any sources coming forward with tips or credible information about what is still under seal in this case. As I noted earlier today, Haaretz apparently inadvertently broke the gag by revealing that at least one of the “forbidden” contacts Makhoul and Said had was with Hassan Jaja, who the S.B. strangely claims is a Hezbollah agent despite the fact that he lives in Amman and has no affiliation with the group. So much for the S.B. creating a credible narrative for Makhoul’s alleged spying.
An Ittijah staff member told Ynetnews how the Shin Bet develops and administers its list of forbidden contacts. And it’s a wonder of authoritarian caprice:
Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations) – an umbrella group for Arab NGOs in Israel which Makhoul heads – explained Monday that as part of his job description the writer met with many officials…
“Ittijah holds a list composed by the State of Israel, of which organizations are permitted for contact and which constitute breaking the law,” said Wakim Salame, a member of the organization’s managing committee.
She said it was “absurd”, however, that at times Israel lit upon an organization head whose views were not in line with the state’s, and suddenly changed his status to “hostile”.
“Suddenly, when you meet him at a convention, it becomes a meeting with a foreign agent and espionage. From time to time it changes. Once it was the PLO and then the Popular Front – now it’s a trend to say an agent from Hezbollah,” she said.
“The conferences he attends around the world are not like the Israeli ghetto,” said Jafar Farah, who heads the Mossawa Center, an Israeli-Arab NGO. “There are also Iranian, Lebanese, and Iraqi lobbyists present there. Naturally conversations are started and even friendships. No one checks whether the people we speak to are on some Israeli blacklist.”
Apparently, what Israeli Palestinians need to do is carry this list of forbidden interlocutors with them whenever they leave the country and before they so much as nod hello to anyone they should consult the list to determine their status. That is, if they even know the name of the individual to whom they’re waving. Otherwise, nodding hello can become a costly act of human concourse.
Today, the Israeli court approved Makhoul’s incarceration for another five days prolonging the prohibition from consulting his attorney (national security suspects can be denied counsel for up to 21 days under Israeli law). At today’s demonstration of Jews and Palestinian Israelis outside the court, Ynetnews quoted this disgruntled passerby who was nettled by any expression of solidarity between Jews and Arabs:
“I don’t have a problem with the Arabs, it is their right to protest, but what bothers me is that Jews are protesting with them. They should be locked in a dungeon for life,” one bystander said.
This is ‘democracy’ Israel-style.
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Let’s make the world better!
More and more Israeli citizens have the courage to criticize openly their government. They organize all kind of actions and let the world see that not the Jews but the Israeli government and political and financial lobbies are responsable for the never-ending tragedy in the Middle East.
The Israeli citizens are the only hope for the Middle East and the Israeli en Palestinian future generations.
They are the only answer to the hopeless cycle of violence and hate which the Israeli government uses to maintain
her boundless power.
In a separate communication, Amnesty also called on Israel not to jail Mordechai Vanunu — or else, Amnesty said, they would make him a prisoner of conscience…
RE: This is ‘democracy’ Israel-style. – R.S.
SEE: Is Israel Sliding Towards a Police State? , By Mel Frykberg, 05/13/10
(excerpt)…Just how much power Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet has and whether Israel might be turning into a police state has also been the subject of media speculation recently.
This follows the secret midnight arrests of a Turkish national and several Israeli-Arabs on espionage allegations and the gag orders surrounding the arrests.
There are a number of other incidents involving the Shin Bet. At the beginning of the year the Shabak, as the Shin Bet is also known, placed a gag order on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and interrogation of Israeli journalist Anat Kam….
….A week ago two Israeli Arabs, Ameer Makhoul from Haifa, the director general of the Ittijah charity, and Omar Said, a member of the Balad political party, were arrested by the Shin Bet and heavily armed anti-terror squads during night raids on their family apartments.
The two have been accused of passing on information to the Lebanese resistance organization’s, Hezbollah. The Shin Bet again placed a gag on the arrests until a few days ago with some of the details still remaining secret.
Critics argue that the allegations are flimsy at best and have more to do with Makhoul supporting a boycott of Israeli settlement goods and his campaigning for equal rights for Israeli-Arabs…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://original.antiwar.com/frykberg/2010/05/12/is-israel-sliding-towards-a-police-state/
P.S. ALSO FROM FRYKBERG’S ARTICLE: …In further breaking news several Palestinian medical students have been refused entry permits to Jerusalem to continue their studies at Jerusalem’s Al Quds University after they refused to spy for the Shin Bet on student activity there.
The Shin Bet declined to discuss the issue other than to say the permits had been denied “on security grounds.”
RE: “An Ittijah staff member told Ynetnews how the Shin Bet develops and administers its list of forbidden contacts. And it’s a wonder of authoritarian caprice…” – R.S.
Titorelli: “You see, in definite acquittal, all the documents are annulled. But with ostensible acquittal, your whole dossier continues to circulate. Up to the higher courts, down to the lower ones, up again, down. These oscillations and peregrinations, you just can’t figure ‘em.”
Joseph K: “No use in trying either, I suppose.”
Titorelli: “Not a hope. Why, I’ve known cases of an acquitted man coming home from the court and finding the cops waiting there to arrest him all over again. But then, of course, theoretically it’s always possible to get another ostensible acquittal.”
Joseph K: “The second acquittal wouldn’t be final either.”
Titorelli: “It’s automatically followed by the third arrest. The third acquittal, by the fourth arrest. The fourth…”
The Trial (1962) Trailer [03:54] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_7weUR0oMY&feature=related
The Trial, Opening Scene (Orson Welles, 1962) [08:41] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBp464uBH9A&NR=1