Dedicated human rights advocates are targeted. Ayman Ameed Ahmad Nasser is one of many. He’s a researcher and member of Addameer’s Prisoner Support Association.
Established in 1992, Addameer provides legal services for Israeli political prisoners. It supports them nationally and internationally. It works to end torture and other abuses. It conducts solidarity human rights campaigns.
“Addameer believes in the importance of building a free and democratic Palestinian society based on justice, equality, rule of law and respect for human rights within the larger framework of the right to self-determination.”
“Addameer’s work is based on a belief in the universality of human rights as enshrined in international law.”
Last August, Israel called Addameer co-founder Abdullatif Ghaith a “threat to state security.” No evidence, of course, suggests it. He was told to appear for questioning. On arrival, he was ordered to sign a statement. It bans him from traveling abroad.
He was targeted earlier. Supporting human rights in Israel or Occupied Palestine is hazardous. Since becoming Addameer’s chairman, Ghaith was administratively detained uncharged three times.
Each incarceration lasted six months. He endured brutal treatment. So do all Palestinian prisoners under gulag conditions. Most recently, Ghaith was held from June 2004 – January 2005.
At the time, a joint statement signed by 11 Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations strongly condemned Israel’s action.
They said incarcerating Ghaith “cannot be viewed in isolation but must be viewed within a much broader context of a systematic attempt by Israel to suppress Palestinian civil society and stifle Palestinian development….”
It’s also about strengthening Israel’s occupation, they added. Civil society organizations are especially vulnerable. Supporting human rights can land advocates in prison. Israel also terrorizes them other ways. At the time, Ghaith said:
“Israel considers every activity that tackles Israeli violations of human rights as a threat to state security. Israel wants its occupation to proceed without any accountability. This is not an issue of an individual. It involves all Palestinians.”
On October 15 at 1:00AM, Israeli soldiers raided Nasser’s home. They terrorized his wife and children. They were held at gunpoint for over 90 minutes.
Every room was ransacked. His computer and cell phone were confiscated. Other belongings were taken. Some belonged to his children. Nasser was arrested.
He’s currently held in Jerusalem’s Moskobiyyeh detention center. Incarcerated Muslims face gulag harshness. Physical and emotional scars remain.
Nasser’s undergone grueling interrogations. They last up to 10 hours daily. Lengthy sessions caused him great pain. He has chronic back problems.
He also suffers from colon inflammation. Israel inflicted more pain and suffering by shackling his hands tightly behind his back. It lasted throughout his ordeal.
At times he was blindfolded. He was also shown photos and asked to identify various individuals. He knows none of them. He was told confess or stay in prison. He’s uncharged. He committed no crime.
Being Palestinian is enough to warrant long incarcerations. That’s how police states work. Israel is one of the worst.
On October 18, Nasser appeared in Jerusalem court. Prosecutors recommended he be held for 15 more days of interrogation. Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said he’s been denied proper care. He’s getting only two of five vital medications needed.
He also said interrogation focused on Nasser’s Handala Center involvement. It’s a Saffa village-based educational/artistic initiative. Nasser serves as chairperson.
Handala is registered with the Palestinian Authority. Its activities are completely open. No laws are violated. Nasser said he believes “every human being has opinions and positions and if it’s not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions.”
“I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners, and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret. They are public, and everyone knows them.”
Based on alleged “secret evidence” (meaning none at all), the judge said Nasser would be held another seven days. He sidestepped his medical needs.
He referred them to Moskobiyyeh detention center’s doctor. Doing so assures continued mistreatment. Israel does it maliciously. It’s to pressure prisoners to admit crimes they didn’t commit and implicate others.
Nasser knows Israeli brutality firsthand. He spent six years unjustly in prison. Israel arrested him in 1992. He was held until October 1997.
Since 2008, he’s been an Addameer researcher. He works in its documentation unit. He represents the group in other human rights coalitions. They include the Coalition against Torture and Coalition against the Death Penalty.
He’s also Addameer’s High Committee for Palestinian Political Prisoners’ representative. Other human rights organizations are members. They advocate for unjustly incarcerated Palestinian prisoners. Israel holds thousands of them.
Nasser also lectures part-time at Al Quds Open University. He teaches undergraduates social work. In addition, he’s active politically. He represents “United Saffa” in October 20 local elections.
They’re rigged. Israel wants continued Fatah rule. Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are convenient stooges. So are other Fatah officials. They’re quislings.
They represent Israel, not Palestine. They want no independent challengers. The process is structured to assure continuity. Nasser’s arrest perhaps prevents him from serving if elected. It’s not the first time Israel pulled this stunt. Around two dozen Hamas legislators are imprisoned.
Addammer calls Nasser a dedicated well educated man. He’s married with four children. His wife Haleema said they look “forward to see(ing) their father, a father who taught them the meaning of freedom and loving life.”
Addameer calls Nasser’s imprisonment “a deliberate violation of his fundamental freedoms and special protections provided under the international law for human rights defenders, particularly freedoms of movement, expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
Israel never respected international law and doesn’t now. It’s one of the world’s most ruthless rogue states. It lacks legitimacy. Its leaders should be prosecuted and imprisoned.
They’ve gotten away with crimes against humanity far too long. Hopefully, accountability one day awaits them. It can’t happen a moment too soon.
A Final Comment
Palestine is slowly disappearing. Israel steals it dunum by dunum. On October 19, Netanyahu’s government approved 800 new Gilo settlement units.
They’ll be built on stolen Palestinian land south of Occupied East Jerusalem. Israel situates settlements in highly valued areas. They’re on hilltops, the Jordan Valley, and all resource rich locations. Water is most highly valued.
Peace Now representative Hagit Ofran said construction could begin in a few months.
“The government could stop the process before building begins but is taking advantage of the upcoming elections in order to set facts on the ground and will make the possibility of peace with the Palestinians even harder to achieve,” she added.
Netanyahu spurns it. He calls it a waste of time. His disdain for Palestinian rights shows it.
Note: On October 15, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said Illegal Israeli policies violate international law.
Topics covered apartheid wall construction, stealing Palestinian resources, denying them proper amounts of water, harming Palestine’s economy, violating international law and security council resolutions, as well as building lawless settlements.
From September 2011 – September 2012, 11,096 units were approved, built, or remain in different stages of construction in or around Occupied East Jerusalem alone.
Around 44,000 settlers live there or will when completed. Over half a million settlers occupy Palestinian land. More arrive regularly. Palestine is slowly disappearing. Perhaps little will be left once Israel steals all it wants.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.