December 22, 2009

Israeli repression wave targets activists

From The Real News Network, Dec 22:

Here's RNN's summary:

In recent months, since the public push for The Goldstone Report, Israeli authorities have intensified their repression of activists on both sides of the segregation wall. Though Israel tries Palestinians and Israelis under separate legal systems, with the former being prosecuted in a military court and the later in domestic, civil courts, both have seen an escalation in detentions. The recent cases include Mohammad Srour, Mohammad Othman, and Abdullah Abu Rahma, all activists from the Occupied West Bank. The most recent arrest is of Jamal Juma', an international known human rights activist and the coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, a grassroots network of popular committees fighting Israel's segregation wall.

Jamal Juma' was born in Jerusalem and attended Birzeit University, where he became politically active. Since the first Intifada, he has focused on grassroots activism. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange and Palestinian Environmental NGO Network. Juma' is since 2002 the coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. He has been invited to address numerous civil society and UN conferences, where he has spoken on the issue of Palestine and the Apartheid Wall. His articles and interviews are widely disseminated and translated into several languages. On December 16th, 2009 Jamal Juma' was arrested and is now detained at The Russian Compound in Jerusalem without charge, and without the right to see a lawyer.

On Dec. 21 The Media Line ran an article titled, Palestinians Spend Half Billion on Settlement Products. The PA recently decided to ban the sale of settlement goods in Palestinian stores in the West Bank. They say no settlement goods will be on the shelves after 2010. To underscore their seriousness, they staged a Dec. 16 photo op of PA customs officials dumping $55,000 worth of Ahava cosmetics seized from stores in Jericho, then destroyed them:

But banning settlement goods isn't all they're up to:

Beyond buying products produced on Israeli settlements, at least 25,000 Palestinians are legally employed in Israeli communities, about half of them in West Bank settlements.

Earlier this month Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad said the Palestinian Authority would begin a process of finding alternative employment for Palestinians working in Israeli settlements and eventually ban such employment altogether.

While Palestinians working on West Bank settlements are socially stigmatized, an outright ban on Palestinian employment on settlements has never materialized.

Jamal Juma, the director of the Stop the Wall campaign who met with Fayyad last week to discuss the ban, said the number of Palestinians employed in Israeli communities in the West Bank is much higher than the official numbers.

"Officially Israel gives permissions to between 10,000 and 15,000 Palestinians to work in settlements but it's more like 30,000 workers when you include Palestinians working both legally and illegally," he told The Media Line after the meeting with Fayyad. "The settlements are completely dependent on cheap Palestinian labor for their infrastructure so I think we can really hurt the settlements if all Palestinians stop working there."

Juma was arrested by Israel less than 48 hours after speaking with The Media Line.

Clearly Juma has Fayyad's ear & the PA is implementing his ideas. Thus he's a genuine threat to the settlement project, & that's why Israel has locked him up.

Stop The Wall has issued this Dec. 21 action call to demand the release of Juma, Othman, Abu Rahme & all the anti-wall activists currently rotting in the occupier's prisons.


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