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EU consuls recommend imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements


Nonbinding Heads of Mission report for 2012 focuses on Israeli construction in E-1, policy in East Jerusalem and endangering of two-state solution; call to actively encourage European divestment from settlements is particularly severe.

By | Feb. 27, 2013 | 8:08 AM |
Published on Haaretz

West Bank settlement Modi'in llit

West Bank settlement Modi’in llit Photo by AP
The European Union’s consuls general in East Jerusalem and Ramallah are recommending economic sanctions against settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Among the recommendations made in the nonbinding Heads of Mission report for 2012, which has been obtained by Haaretz, is to “prevent, discourage and raise awareness about problematic implications of financial transactions including foreign direct investments, from within the EU in support of settlement activities, infrastructure and services.”

Seven of the report’s 10 recommendations deal with imposing direct or indirect sanctions by the European Union on bodies and organizations involved in construction in the settlements. The recommendation to actively encourage European divestment from the settlements is particularly severe, compared with previous internal EU reports.

The consuls recommend that the EU ensure strict application of the free trade agreement between the EU and Israel so that products manufactured in settlements do not benefit from preferential treatment. Another clause recommends encouraging efforts to enforce existing legislation requiring products made in the settlements to be labeled as such at sales points.

Efforts must be made to “ensure that imports of settlement products do not benefit from preferential tariffs and guarantee the consumers’ right to an informed choice” with regard to the origin and labeling of products, the report states. The annual mission report, which is written by all the heads of diplomatic missions of EU member states in the Palestinian Authority, does not compel practical steps, but serves as a basis for internal discussions of the Israel-Palestinian situation.

The 2012 report, which was handed in early January to the EU institutions in Brussels and to the foreign ministries of the 27 member states, also advocates closer supervision of cooperative programs between the EU and Israel with regard to technological research and development to ensure that no research grants, scholarships or other technological investments assist settlements, either directly or indirectly.

The diplomats gave the example of Israel’s participation in a cooperative program called Horizon 2020, through which the EU invests hundreds of millions of euros in Israeli high-tech firms. They noted that some of this funding goes to firms like the research laboratories of the cosmetics company Ahava, which are located in the Jordan Valley kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem, near the Dead Sea. If the EU consuls’ recommendations are accepted, such investments will stop, since the kibbutz is seen as a settlement.

The report takes Israel to task over the decision to move ahead on construction plans in Area E-1, the corridor meant to link Jerusalem to the nearby West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. The decision was made in late November, after the Palestinians’ statehood bid in the United Nations. The implementation of the E-1 project “threatens 2,300 Bedouin with forcible transfer” and “would effectively divide the West Bank into separate northern and southern parts,” the report states, adding that it would also “prevent Palestinians in East Jerusalem from further urban development and cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.”

The consuls recommend to the EU member states to “coordinate EU monitoring and a strong EU response in order to prevent settlement construction in E1, including opposing forced transfer of the Bedouin communities in E1.”

The consuls state that the continuation of Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem could thwart the possibility of the city serving as the Israeli and Palestinian capital and therefore put the entire two-state solution at risk.

According to the report, Israel is “systematically undermining the Palestinian presence” in Jerusalem, through policies including “restrictive zoning and planning, demolitions and evacuations, discriminatory access to religious sites, an inequitable education policy, difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources.”

A large portion of the report deals with Israeli restrictions on Muslim and Christian religious practice in Jerusalem and accuses Israel of attempting to change the character of Jerusalem as a city sacred to the three faiths. The Israeli government “selectively enforces legal and policy restrictions on religious freedoms and on access in particular for Christian and Muslim worshippers to their holy sites in Jerusalem/Old City,” the report states.

The consuls direct special attention to the cooperation between the right-wing group Elad and the Israel Antiquities Authority, determining that the purpose of this collaboration is to promote “a partisan historical narrative, placing emphasis on the biblical and Jewish connotations of the area while neglecting the Christian/Muslim claims of historic-archaeological ties to the same place.”

The authors said it seems that an attempt is being made to use archaeology to erase Muslim and Christian connections to the city, and that the “overreaching purpose of such a pre-programmed approach to the presence of archaeological evidence in the area seems to be a concerted effort by pro-settler groups to use archaeology to enhance an exclusively Jewish narrative on Jerusalem.”

The consuls say 2012 saw a rise in the number of violent incidents on the Temple Mount and a sharp increase in “the frequency and visibility of visits by Jewish radical political and religious groups, often in a provocative manner.” According to the report, the Palestinians fear that Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and create “Hebronization” there by arrangements similar to those in force at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

In the report the consuls say that construction of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem is “systematic, deliberate and provocative” and presents as an example Israel’s announcement that 3,000 new housing units were approved by the government, a statement that came shortly after the Palestinians had their UN status upgraded to non-member observer state.

The consuls noted in particular three construction plans they view as problematic: the eastward expansion of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, the southward and westward expansion of Gilo and housing construction in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood in between.

“The construction of these three settlements is part of a political strategy aiming at making it impossible for Jerusalem to become the capital of two states,” the report states.

The Law in These Parts

January 25, 2013 1 comment

The Israeli documentary putting military rule in Palestine on trial

The Law In These Parts documentary builds a strong case against the judges responsible for Israel’s draconian occupation laws

What is legal and what is just? Through candid, first-ever, interviews with Israeli judges, prosecutors and legal advisors, The Law In These Parts – winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival – is a gripping and revelatory investigation into the legal framework put in place by Israel to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

What is legal and what is just? Through candid, first-ever, interviews with Israeli judges, prosecutors and legal advisors, The Law In These Parts – winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival – is a gripping and revelatory investigation into the legal framework put in place by Israel to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

‘Why are Palestinans attempting to enter Israel labelled “infiltrators”?’

The Law In These Parts, an Israeli documentary awarded this year’s Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury prize, examines how the country created a military-legal system to control the Palestinians in the lands Israel occupied in 1967. And at some point during the film, it becomes clear that it’s the judges who are on trial. The documentary, which just screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival, features forceful archive footage, alongside a line-up of Israeli legal experts, explaining how they made Israel’s occupation laws.

Since Israel conquered the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war, the military has imposed thousands of orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, enabled half a million Israeli “settlers” to move to the Occupied Territories and developed a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army that is unique in the entire world.

Each judge sits in a black leather chair at a heavy wooden desk intended, you might first assume, to evoke a serious courtroom. But then, each is quietly interrogated by the film’s narrator; asked to explain the military rule that they created. Why did Israel even need hundreds of new laws for occupied Palestinians? What was wrong with the existing legal system? Because Israeli law, one judge says, can only be applied if you give citizenship to the Palestinian population. Why aren’t Palestinian fighters described as “prisoners of war”? Why are Palestinians attempting to enter Israel labelled as “infiltrators”? One judge is asked to recount a case from the mid-1970s, where a Palestinian woman giving bread and sardines to a Palestinian “infiltrator” from neighboring Jordan was sentenced to a year and a half in prison – as deterrent. “How did you find out about the pitta bread?” asks the narrator. Don’t worry about that, the military judge replies, the walls have ears.

"Justice

The evidence against these Israeli judges slowly mounts as they try to justify an unjustifiable tangle of what they thought would be temporary laws, devised to control and subdue Palestinians in the occupied territories. One judge recounts how he told former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon of an obscure law from the Ottoman era, which Sharon swiftly deployed to seize Palestinian land. The film’s narrator asks the judge if he thinks, with hindsight, that this was a good idea. “History will decide,” the judge replies, but the narrator leaves no room for evasion: “But when will that be?” he asks, of a system that has been in place for 45 years.

This film successfully depicts the dense, crushing absurdities of Israel’s military rule in a way that words don’t always manage. While reporting from the region, I spent hours talking with lawyers, who would deconstruct the maze of rules that mean Palestinians always end up penalized. I have notebooks full of explanations of these small, complicated, crucial details. But how do you distil this system into one line of a short news piece? How do you condense the overlapping Ottoman rulings, laws from the British mandate era and brand new Israeli edicts that all fuse into a controlling mesh of military rule over Palestinians, while keeping Jewish settlers free – because as Israeli citizens, they are governed (or, mostly, not governed) by regular Israeli law? And how do you explain why 99.74% of military trials end up convicting Palestinians?

The Law In These Parts ends with a focus on Bassem Tamimi, one of the organizers of weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, a West Bank village whose land and main water source, a spring, has been appropriated by a nearby settlement. He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment after protesting last month at an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank, which stocks settlement, but not Palestinian, produce. Amnesty has described him as a prisoner of conscience and demanded his release, castigating the Israeli military’s “campaign of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention” against this 45-year-old father of four.

As one of the organizers of the al-Nabi Salneh protests and a coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Bassem Tamimi and his family have been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army.
Since the demonstrations began, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times. His wife has been arrested twice and two of his children have been injured — Wa’ed was in hospital for five days after he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and Mohammed was injured by a tear-gas canister that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder.
Bassem Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he has only once been convicted by a military court – on charges that Amnesty International believes were unfounded.  Amnesty International

During a trial last year, Tamimi, a schoolteacher, told the military court: “Your honor, I was born in the same year as the occupation, and ever since I’ve been living under its inherent inhumanity, inequality, racism and lack of freedom. I have been imprisoned nine times for a sum of almost three years, though I was never convicted of any crime. During one of my detentions I was paralyzed as a result of torture. My wife was detained, my children wounded, my land stolen by settlers and now my house is slated for demolition … You, who claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East, are trying me under laws written by authorities I have not elected, and which do not represent me”. Shortly after this hearing, Tamimi was convicted of inciting protesters to throw stones at soldiers (he was cleared of more serious charges, including “perverting the course of justice”, in May, after 11 months in military prison, because a judge decided that key evidence, obtained from a coerced 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was unreliable).

“What actually incited them,” Tamimi told the courtroom, “was the occupation’s bulldozers on our land, the guns, the smell of tear gas.” And then he asked: “If the military judge releases me, will I be convinced that there is justice in your courts?”

Israel Administrative Detention Ilegal Practive


Posted On May 15, 2012 by Marivel Guzman

All the rights reserved for Addammer, article published only for information purpose, not intended for commercial use.

Administrative Detention

Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Although administrative detention is used almost exclusively to detain Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), which includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Israeli citizens and foreign nationals can also be held as administrative detainees by Israel (over the years, only 9 Israeli settlers have been held in administrative detention). Israel uses three separate laws to hold individuals without trial:

  • Article 285 of Military Order 1651, which is part of the military legislation applying in the West Bank;
  • Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law (Unlawful Combatants Law), which has been used against residents of the Gaza Strip since 2005;
  • Emergency Powers (Detentions) Law, which applies to Israeli citizens.

Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation in 1967 and before that time, under the British Mandate. The frequency of the use of administrative detention has fluctuated throughout Israel’s occupation, and has been steadily rising since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000.

On the eve of the second intifada, Israel held 12 Palestinians in administrative detention. Only two years later, in late 2002-early 2003, there were over one thousand Palestinians in administrative detention. Between 2005 and 2007, the average monthly number of Palestinian administrative detainees held by Israel remained stable at approximately 765. Since then, as the situation on the ground stabilized and violence tapered off, the number of administrative detaines has generally decreased every year. As of 1 April 2012, there were at least 322 Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem being detained in administrative detention, of which 24 were members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

Although international human rights law permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, the authorities are required to follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. Moreover, to use such detention, there must be a public emergency that threatens the life of the nation, and detention can only be ordered on an individual, case-by-case basis without discrimination of any kind. (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9).

Administrative detention is the most extreme measure that international humanitarian law allows an occupying power to use against residents of occupied territory. As such, states are not allowed to use it in a sweeping manner. To the contrary, administrative detention may be used against protected persons in occupied territory only for “imperative reasons of security” (Fourth Geneva Convention, Art.78).

In practice, Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law. Tellingly, Israel has claimed to be under a continuous state of emergency sufficient to justify the use of administrative detention since its inception in 1948. In addition, administrative detention is frequently used – in direct contravention to international law – for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat. For example, administrative detention orders are regularly issued against individuals suspected of committing an offense after an unsuccessful criminal investigation or a failure to obtain a confession in interrogation.

In practice, Israel’s administrative detention regime violates numerous other international standards as well. For example, administrative detainees from the West Bank are deported from the occupied territory and interned inside Israel, in direct violation of Fourth Geneva Convention prohibitions (Articles 49 and 76). Further, administrative detainees are often denied regular family visits in accordance with international law standards, and Israel regularly fails to separate administrative detainees from the regular prison population as required by law. Moreover, in the case of child detainees, Israel regularly fails to take into account the best interests of the child as required under international law.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION IN THE WEST BANK: MILITARY ORDER 1651

In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of article 285 of Military Order 1651. This article empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six-month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention”. No definition of “security of the area” or “public security” is given. On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed; there is no explicit limit to the maximum amount of time an individual may be administratively detained, leaving room for indefinite legal detention.

Administrative detention orders are issued either at the time of arrest or at some later date and are often based on “secret information” collected by the Israeli Security Agency (formerly known as the General Security Service). In the vast majority of administrative detention cases, neither the detainee nor his lawyer is ever informed of the reasons for the detention or given access to the “secret information”.

A Palestinian detainee subjected to an administrative detention order must be brought before a military court in a closed hearing within eight days of his or her arrest, where a single military judge can uphold, shorten or cancel the detention order. In most cases, however, administrative detention orders are confirmed for the same periods as those requested by the military commander. While the detainee can appeal the decision at the judicial review, in practice, the vast majority of appeals are rejected. By comparison, administrative detention under Israeli domestic law requires a detainee to be brought before a judge within 48 hours, and orders can be given only up to three month periods.
In practice, Palestinians can be detained for months, if not years, under administrative detention orders, without ever being informed about the reasons or length of their detention. Detainees are routinely informed of the extension of their detention on the day that the former order expires. Under the existing administrative detention procedures, Palestinians have no effective means by which to challenge their administrative detention.
ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION IN THE GAZA STRIP: UNLAWFUL COMBATANT LAW
In the Gaza Strip, Israel uses the Unlawful Combatants Law to hold Palestinians for an unlimited period of time, without effective judicial review. The law was approved by the Israeli Knesset in 2002 in order to enable the state to continue holding Lebanese “bargaining chip” detainees after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the practice illegal. Although all Lebanese detainees were released in 2004, the law was not revoked. Instead, starting in 2005 after Israel’s unilateral “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip and the accompanying end of the application of Israeli military orders there, it began to be used to detain residents of the Strip.
The law defines an “unlawful combatant” as a “person who has participated either directly or indirectly in hostile acts against the State of Israel, or is a member of a force perpetrating hostile acts against the State of Israel,” and who is not entitled to prisoner of war status under international humanitarian law.
The Unlawful Combatants Law allows for the sweeping and swift detention without trial of large numbers of foreign citizens and Palestinians resident of the Gaza Strip. To date, the law has been used to detain 54 individuals, including 15 Lebanese nationals and 39 Gazans, most of whom were detained during Israel’s winter 2008-2009 military action against Gaza codenamed “Operation Cast Lead” and have since been released. As of April 2012, Israel was holding 1 Gazan under this law.
Detainees under the law may be held for 96 hours before the issuance of a permanent detention order, or up to seven days if the government declares the “existence of wide-scale hostilities”. Judicial review of an order in a closed hearing must take place within 14 days of its issuance; if it is approved, the detainee must be brought before a judge once every six months. If the court finds that his release will not harm state security, the judge shall cancel the order.

In practice, the Unlawful Combatants Law contains fewer protections for detainees than even the few that are granted under administrative detention orders in the West Bank. For example, judicial review is conducted less often; the legality of the detention does not require the existence of a state of emergency; and, the detention “is carried out pursuant to an order issued by the chief of staff or by an officer holding the rank of major general”. In addition, the law establishes two troubling presumptions that shift the burden of proof to the detainee: first, the release of an individual identified as an “unlawful combatant” will harm national security unless proven otherwise; second, the organization to which the detainee belongs carries out hostilities, if the Israeli Minister of Defense has made such a determination, unless proven otherwise. This practice patently violates the accused’s right to a presumption of innocence in any criminal proceeding, and results in a system of indefinite detention justified by mere speculation and stacked heavily against the detainee.

ADDAMEER’S POSITION ON ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
  • The government of Israel should release all administrative detainees;
  • In the meantime, administrative detainees must be granted their rights in accordance with international law;
  • The government of Israel should immediately cease using the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law and take action to repeal it;
  • EU member states should raise cases of administrative detainees with the Israeli government under the EU-Israel political dialogue.

More On Administrative Detention

The defense and promotion of the rights of administrative detainees has been a central focus of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights
Association’s (Addameer) legal activities. Addameer has also sought to expose the ways in which Israel’s use of administrative detention, as a
means of collective punishment and of exacting revenge on Palestinians in retaliation for exercising their political and civil rights, contravenes the permitted uses of administrative detention in international law. In March 2009, Addameer notably launched an international advocacy and lobbying campaign to stop administrative detention and highlight Israel’s illegal practices in this regard. Administrative Detention in The Occupied Palestine

Administrative Detainees

Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.

Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation in 1967 and before that time, under the British Mandate. The frequency of the use of administrative detention has fluctuated throughout Israel’s occupation, and has been steadily rising since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. Palestinians Administrative Detainees

Palestinians from the OPT are currently held in a total of 4 interrogation centers, 4 military detention centers, and approximately 17 prisons. While the 4 military interrogation centers are located inside the OPT, all the interrogation centers and prisons—except for one prison, Ofer—are located within the 1948 borders of Israel, in violation of international humanitarian law. The location of prisons within Israel and the transfer of detainees to locations within the occupying power’s territory are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that “Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein” (Article 76). Prison and Detention Center

Relevant Addameer publications

Israel ‘turning blind eye’ to West Bank settlers’ attacks on Palestinians


Posted on March 21, 2012 by Marivel Guzman

 

in Brussels

EU reports say farmers are bearing the brunt of intimidation in systematic and expanding campaign of violence

A Palestinian tries to put out a fire started by settlers on the West Bank, where confidential EU reports say violence against Palestinians is increasing. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian tries to put out a fire started by settlers on the West Bank, where confidential EU reports say violence against Palestinians is increasing. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Jewish settlers in the West Bank are conducting a systematic and expanding campaign of violence against Palestinian farmers, families and children with the Israeli authorities turning a blind eye, according to confidential reports from senior European Union officials.

In two reports to Brussels from EU heads of mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah, obtained by the Guardian, the officials found that settler violence against Palestinians has more than tripled in three years to total hundreds of incidents.

“Acts of settler violence are becoming a serious concern for the Israeli state which has so far failed to effectively protect the Palestinian population,” says the report sent to EU ambassadors in Brussels last month.

The report notes 411 attacks by settlers last year resulting in Palestinian casualties and damage to property, against 132 attacks in 2009.

The campaign of intimidation is especially targeted at Palestinian farmers and their livelihood, the reports found, noting that settlers damaged or destroyed Palestinian olive groves en mass.

Around 10,000 trees were destroyed last year. But last autumn’s olive harvest season was quieter than previous years.

The Israeli authorities are accused of structuring their security operations to minimize the cost to the settlers of the campaign of harassment, intimidation and violence.

“Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment,” the February report says.

A previous and more detailed analysis from April last year described the increasing settler violence as “an alarming phenomenon”.

“Discriminatory protections and privileges for settlers compound these abuses and create an environment in which settlers can act with apparent impunity.”

The Israeli authorities’ failure to resolve 92% of 600 reported incidents by April last year effectively encouraged the settlers to step up the violence, the report argued, adding that the perception had been created that “settler violence enjoys the tacit support of the state of Israel”.

The manner in which the Israelis organise security operations in the West Bank militates against the Palestinians enjoying protection.

Children are stoned going to school and Palestinian shepherds and farmers are common targets for violence.

For more than 300,000 Jewish settlers in more than 200 locations in the West Bank, the Israeli military is obliged to intervene if there is retaliatory Palestinian violence. The army, though, is relatively powerless to halt violence against Palestinians since this is the remit of the Israeli police.

“Arguably the single most important deficiency in the provision of an impartial rule of law is the difference in the level of protection afforded to settlers and Palestinians,” the report says.

The EU officials say that, according to Israeli security sources, the campaign of violence is being masterminded by around 100 militant settler leaders, and they point to the potential electoral liability for any Israeli government that seeks to get to grips with the violence.

“In Israeli terms, there is a negative political consequence to cracking down on settler violence and no political gain from protecting violence.”

Apart from deploring the violence and demanding explanations from the Israeli authorities, the EU officials propose scant other action to halt the campaign.

They suggest to their superiors in Brussels that settler leaders urging violence against Palestinians be blacklisted by the EU and barred from traveling in the union

Source The Guradian in UK

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