by KATE on MARCH 31, 2011
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Dirar Abusisi speaks to media against wishes of security personnel (Alon Ron)
Dirar Abusisi has made his first public statement since his kidnapping in Ukraine and extraordinary rendition to Israel. Before beginning a hearing that is underway as I write this, he made his first comments to the media during the court proceedings, saying:
The interrogated me about Gilad Shalit but I have no connection or information about him. It’s all lies. I am merely a simple man and electrical engineer. I send my love to my family. I am innocent.
He also said that he had been kidnapped from Ukraine and encouraged his family to be strong and patient.
Defense minister Ehud Barak has now gotten into the act and reinforced Netanyahu’s claim that Abusisi knows about Shalit. This appears to be the line that the Israeli security services have fixed on as most likely to bring a prison sentence against him after two trial balloons linking him to building missles under Iranian training and the Victoria arms shipment were apparently dropped.
Yossi Melman is also reporting based on security sources that Abusisi will be charged with membership in a terror organization and aiding Hamas in manufacturing weapons. The latter is a charge whispered by another TV news military correspondent weeks ago. So here you can see how the gag works. The defense and anyone sympathetic to the defendant may not report on matters that might work in his favor. However, the prosecution and Shabak may leak at will to their chosen favorite reporters, who dutifully put it in the media pipeline. Once again revealing a system stacked against all security detainees and in favor of the State.
The “leniency” with which the authorities have treated him derives no doubt from Bibi Netanyahu opening his big mouth during the Channel 2/YouTube interview and crowing about Abusisi’s membership in Hamas. By the way, can you imagine the leader of a democratic nation proclaiming before not just a national, but internationalaudience that a prisoner who hasn’t even yet been charged with a crime is guilty of being a member of a banned organization? This surely is a conviction even before the trial has begun. Would any of my pro-Israel readers want to reconcile that with the concept of innocent till proven guilty? Or does that hold true only for Israeli Jews? Palestinians apparently are guilty, not until proven innocent because in the Israeli system that doesn’t happen. Just guilty.
So the court and/or prosecutor figured that because Bibi had already convicted him before the international media that they should at least allow him to be photographed and make a short statement.
Abusisi’s remand has been extended for another five days, which will bring him to 45 days imprisonment without being charged with a crime, an unprecedented length of time for Israeli prisoners. At that time, charges are supposed to be filed (but at the last hearing that’s what the court insisted would happen).
I repeat what I said after the Attorney General stated that he was unsatisfied with the evidence Shabak had compiled against Abusisi–whatever they’ve gotten so far hasn’t been enough. They need to continue working on him till they can build a case for something. This delay also lends credibility to Smadar Ben Natan’s statement yesterday that her client has done nothing wrong, but rather deserves an airline ticket back to Ukraine with an apology (fat chance). If Abusisi is guilty of something why has it taken 45 days to file charges? How long do you need to have 24 hour/7 days a week access to a prisoner in order to find him guilty of terrorism? A month, a year?
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Asked about a Palestinian engineer who disappeared in Ukraine and later surfaced in an Israeli jail, Netanyahu said, “He is a Hamas member, held legally in Israeli detention.” Netanyahu added, “He delivered important information,” without elaborating.
The prime minister is clearly bluffing his way through this exercise. The only reason he’s taken this question is that he feels the need to justify the kidnapping, which no nation or international body outside Israel (and Ukraine and Jordan who are implicated as collaborators) considers justified. There is some sort of brewing pressure against the Mossad adventure that has made him feel it necessary to explain Israel’s position, weak as it is, to the world.
Further, I believe he’s lying about Abusisi being a Hamas member and I strongly doubt the latter’s delivering any information of any value on any subject pertinent to Israel.
I’m not sure whether it’s the looming threat of formal complaints to UN bodies or Ukrainian legal action or the possibility that this will be followed by recourse to the European Court of Human Rights once Ukrainian jurisdiction is exhausted. Whatever the reason, I think Bibi’s feeling the heat. And the heat will only increase as the case continues.
Though the Abusisi question is being widely covered in world media, I could only find the question in the Hebrew language video above. It comes in the context of a question about what the government is doing to free Gilad Shalit. The interviewer allows Bibi to infer that the Palestinian’s kidnapping has something to do with freeing Shalit (which his attorney denied flat out yesterday). I’m guessing that Bibi’s press office deliberately translated this portion of the interview both to showcase what the government is allegedly doing on Shalit’s behalf and also to defend an act that threatens to become an increasing international liability to Israel.
ALERT: If you’re in Israel please rally on Dirar’s behalf at the Petah Tikvah regional court at 10:00AM. Show the security apparatus that it cannot act with impunity. It cannot violate international law and allow the rule of impunity.
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On March 22nd, the Israeli Shabak arrested 18 year-old Ahmad Khaled Ghanem, a native of Nazareth. Because his arrest is under gag order inside Israel, it’s likely he is suspected of some sort of security offense. HaMoked has helped me locate him in Kishon Prison near Haifa. I am trying to discover whether he has an attorney and also to contact his family to see if there are other ways to assist them in his defense.
He graduated from Galilea Experimental High School in Nazareth last year. Ghanem will celebrate his 19th birthday in a Shabak dungeon on April 4th. This was also Gilad Shalit’s age when he was captured. May both be freed quickly.
If any Israeli human rights NGOs or activists can offer any further information about him, please contact me.
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Daniel Machover in Comment is free on The Guardian website arguing against the idea of “protected countries” for the purpose of universal jurisdiction:
The rationale behind universal jurisdiction is that certain crimes – piracy, war crimes, genocide, torture, crimes against humanity and hostage taking – are so harmful to international interests that states are entitled, and in some cases even obliged, to bring proceedings, regardless of the location of the crime and the nationality of the perpetrator or the victim. In accordance with that principle, in December 2009 a British judge granted an arrest warrant against Tzipi Livni, who had been the foreign minister during Israel’s assault on Gaza a year earlier. It was withdrawn when it emerged that she had not travelled here after all, but the Labour government, backed by the Conservative leadership, expressed outrage that the warrant had been issued.The coalition government claims that it is in favour of applying universal jurisdiction here. But it has brought forward proposals to change the law on arrest warrants requested by private individuals in international cases that will, in practice, deny access to criminal justice to victims from those countries allied to Britain who are prepared to withdraw intelligence co-operation or use other political or economic pressure to achieve immunity for suspects.If the law is changed, suspects from a list of “protected countries” that includes Israel, America, China, Saudi Arabia and potentially others, such as Bahrain, will visit our shores with impunity, making us a safe haven for some war criminals and torturers. This outcome would be a sick parody of true universal jurisdiction.
Echoes of the “white list“.
BOYCOTT DIVESTMENT SANCTIONS (BDS)
Not in London anyway. Ahava is leaving its current address in Covent Garden because the neighbours are sick of the protests. Here’s the Jewish Chronicle:
The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are “misleadingly” labelled as produced in Israel.The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.Supporters claim it has been “chased out” of its location by regular “noisy and intimidating” demonstrations.A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: “When Ahava’s lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one.”Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.Police were drafted in to control the protests and set up a meeting last October between the protesters and other shop managers.Last week, four demonstrators stood trial for aggravated trespass after they chained themselves to a concrete block inside the store last year.Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: “I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.
This is highly significant. Notice the local shopkeepers aren’t complaining about the demonstrators? And there’s another significant thing. See this:
Richard Millett, who attends the counter-demonstrations, said: “Maybe the neighbours could have had a more positive role and spoken to the protesters, rather than take it out on Ahava.
Whatever happened to Jonathan Hoffman?
Counting the calories of the people of Gaza: all that you have done to our people is registered in notebook, o occupiers
by KATE on MARCH 31, 2011
46% of Israeli teens: Revoke Arabs’ rights
Ynet 31 Mar — Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Youth Study reveals Israel’s teens think greatest threat to state is Jewish-Arab conflict, believe less in democratic values. As for who they trust most – IDF gets 93% … About 60% of Jewish youths prefer “strong leadership” to rule of law … Asked how they feel when they think of Arabs, 25% responded with “hate” and 12% responded with “fear”.