Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

_____________________

Posts

How the IDF shrinks Palestinian children through fear, imprisonment and ditching the law.

Posted here are all the sections of Military Court Watch’s September newsletter. Some of the tables have been omitted. These are the sections:
1) Newsletter – September 2013, introduction;
2) Testimony from a 16-year-old boy;
3) aTwo boys, two laws: the discriminatory application of law in the West Bank;
4) Political solution or not, the bottom line is equal rights for all. +972 blog by Gerald Horton, founder of MCW;
5) Palestinian children’s rights, Letter to the Guardian;
5) The UNICEF Report: six months on;
7) Links from all the sections;


Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian youth in the village of al Walaja . Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)


Newsletter – September 2013

Military Court Watch September 2013

According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 August, there were 4,762 Palestinians held in Israeli detention facilities including 180 children. In the case of children, this represents a monthly decrease of 7.7 percent. However, there has been an annual increase of 9.7 percent in the average number of children detained compared with 2012. According to the IPS, 46 percent of children, and 89 percent of adults were detained in facilities inside Israel, in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Read more [detailed tables of detention of children 2008 -August 2013)

Testimony from a 16-year-old boy

Name: M.T. Age: 16 years Date of incident: 25 August 2013 Location: Deir Nidham, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 25 August 2013, a 16-year-old boy is arrested at his school by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones at a settler bus. He is released the following day without charge.

“I live in the village of An Nabi Saleh but go to school in the neighbouring village of Deir Nidham. On 25 August, I went to school on the first day of term after the summer holidays. I was sitting in class listening to the teacher when I heard the sound of tear gas being fired. I saw a canister hit the wall of a nearby house. We were all distracted and looked out the window to see what was happening. Someone rushed into the classroom and said Israeli soldiers were in the area. A few minutes later soldiers entered the school.

They first went into the Grade 7 classroom, but soon realised the children were too young and so then came to my classroom. When they entered my classroom a soldier pointed at one of my classmates wearing a red T-shirt and told him to go with them. Another soldier spoke to me and another classmate, and told us to come with him. We were the only boys in the classroom, the rest were girls. The teacher told us not to go, so we remained seated and didn’t move. The soldier grabbed the chair I was sitting on, threw it on the floor and nearly hurt one of the other students. He grabbed me and dragged me out of the classroom. Another soldier did the same to my classmate.

“Once outside the classroom, a soldier tied my hands in front with one plastic tie. The tie was not too tight. I was then escorted out of school whilst they fired tear gas and stun grenades at the building. They put me in a military vehicle and took me to a nearby military base. On arrival we were put in a small room. No one told us why we had been detained. A soldier walked into the room, talked to another soldier and then grabbed me and took me outside without explaining anything. I stood out in the sun for three hours, maybe more. A soldier then came and blindfolded me and told me I was suspected of throwing stones at a settlers’ bus early that morning. Towards the end of the three hours I was asked for my name. I was then taken in a jeep, together with the other two boys, to another military base where I was given a medical examination. The doctor asked me some questions about my health. She asked me to sign a paper written in Arabic saying I was not denied medical attention. I signed the paper.

“Then I was taken to Binyamin settlement for interrogation.” “We arrived at Binyamin at around 8:00 p.m. I wasn’t given anything to eat or drink all day. The interrogator removed my blindfold but kept my hands tied. He did not tell me anything about any rights. He said to me: ‘You were throwing stones this morning before going to school.’ I told him I didn’t throw any stones. He then told me to at least apologize and to say I wouldn’t do it again. I told him I didn’t do anything wrong and therefore I wasn’t going to apologize for something I didn’t do. He got angry and asked me for my name and my father’s name and asked whether I wanted to speak to my father. I said yes and he asked for my father’s telephone number and called him. I heard him tell my father to appoint a lawyer for me. He also told him where I was being held.

“The interrogator then asked a soldier to take me outside and I was re-blindfolded. A short while later the interrogator called me again and told me that my classmates had confessed and so should I. I told him this was not true and that he as telling me this to put pressure on me to confess. I was then photographed and fingerprinted. The interrogator gave me a document written in Hebrew and asked me to sign it. I told him I wasn’t going to sign something written in a language I didn’t understand. He got very upset and told me the document related to my fingerprints. He then threatened to bring another soldier in to beat me. I was scared and so signed the document. As far as I could tell the interrogation was not recorded.

“At around 2:00 a.m. I was taken with my two classmates to Ofer prison, near Ramallah. On arrival at the prison I was searched and given some prison clothes that were too big for me. I was then taken to a cell with other children and somebody gave me a sandwich. I slept for about two hours before the prison guard woke us up to be counted. I then had breakfast and went out with the other prisoners to an open exercise area. Shortly afterwards someone called our names and said we were going to be released. We waited with about 10 other prisoners for about half-an-hour. My parents were not told I was going to be released so they were not there to take me home. My classmates and I took a taxi back to our village. We arrived home at around 9:00 p.m. It was Monday, 26 August. My family was very happy to see me back. After greeting everyone I went to my cousin’s wedding party in the village. I am so glad I didn’t miss the party.”



Two boys, two laws: the discriminatory application of law in the West Bank

24 September 2013

Today, MCW submitted a report to the UN highlighting how two distinct legal systems are applied by the Israeli authorities to residents of the West Bank depending on an individual’s race or national identity.

The legal foundation for the report is based on the principle that no state is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction based on race or national identity. In spite of this principle, Palestinians living in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military law, whereas civilian law is applied to Israelis living next door in settlements. The report notes that this issue of unlawful discrimination would never have arisen had successive Israeli governments complied with their legal obligation not to construct settlements.

The report provides the simple example of a Palestinian boy who throws a stone at an Israeli child from a settlement, or visa versa, and traces how these children receive fundamentally differential treatment under the applicable law, including:

·      A prohibition against interrogating children at night – if the child is Israeli;
·      A prohibition against giving children under 14 custodial sentences – if the child is Israeli; and
·      Permitting parents to accompany their children during interrogation – if the child is Israeli.
The report concludes by making eight practical recommendations that would significantly improve the treatment of Palestinian children in the West Bank, whilst bringing Israel more in-line with its legal obligation not to unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race or national identity.


Political solution or not, the bottom line is equal rights for all

The military law applied to Palestinians must provide rights and protections no less favorable than those afforded to Israeli citizens living in the settlements.

By Gerard Horton, +972 blog
September 29, 2013


An activist puts a Palestinan flag on the Separation Wall facing the Modi’in Illit settlement Photo by Anne Paq/ Active stills

Last month, Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel announced the approval of 1,200 more houses for settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, adding to the 520,000 already living there, including Mr. Ariel himself. Only time will tell, but this announcement, like the many that proceeded, may one day prove to contain a fatal sting in the tail for the idea of Israel as a democratic state with a Jewish majority. For there is one inescapable feature of Israel’s settlement activity that will have far reaching consequences based on a simple legal principle: no state is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction based on race or national identity.

This point was recently highlighted in a report submitted to the UN by Military Court Watch. The report notes that in most conflict situations, the question of unlawful discrimination does not arise. The issue did not arise in Afghanistan or Iraq for the simple reason that U.S. civilians never relocated and settled in those regions. However, once civilian settlement does take place, whether it’s viewed as legal or not, the principle of non-discrimination will inevitably arise. Click for +972′s special coverage: Children Under OccupationSo what does discrimination look like in the West Bank? Well, take the example of a Palestinian child who throws a stone at a child from a settlement, or visa versa. Under the principle of non-discrimination, both children should be dealt with equally under the law.

This does not mean that Israel must apply its civilian law to Palestinians, as this would be viewed as annexation, but the military law applied to Palestinians must provide rights and protections no less favorable than those afforded to Israeli citizens living in the settlements. However, the current reality in the West Bank is that Palestinian children accused of throwing stones are prosecuted in military courts, whereas their Israeli counterparts living in the settlement next door, are dealt with in Israel’s civilian juvenile justice system.

Not surprisingly, the civilian system has far greater rights and protections than its military counterpart, as the examples below illustrate:

• Settler children cannot be interrogated at night, whereas a Palestinian child can be;
• Settler children can consult with a lawyer prior to questioning, whereas a Palestinian child rarely does;
• Settler children are accompanied by a parent when questioned, a Palestinian child is not;
• Settler children see a judge within 12-24 hours following arrest, whereas Palestinian children must wait at least twice as long; • Settler children can not be imprisoned if under 14, whereas a 12-year-old Palestinian child can be; and
• If convicted Israeli children stand a 6.5 percent chance of imprisonment, whereas 90 percent of Palestinian children are incarcerated. In addition to these examples, recent reports by UNICEF and the U.S. State Department indicate that Palestinian children are subjected to high levels of abuse in the military system. So serious is the problem, that following a review of over 400 cases, UNICEF concluded: “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process.”

UNICEF has called for immediate reform. Thankfully, Israeli children face few of these problems in the civilian juvenile system. While many Palestinians and Israelis have little faith in the current peace talks, even U.S. officials are now openly suggesting that this may be the last chance to salvage a viable two-state solution. If these talks do not succeed, and given the Israeli housing minister’s recent announcement, the prospects are not encouraging, then there is likely to be a seismic shift in the discourse towards equal rights for all between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean; half of the inhabitants will have been left without any viable alternative, and will no longer tolerate their children being treated as second class individuals. Gerard Horton is a lawyer and co-founder of Military Court Watch. Gerard has worked on the issue of children prosecuted in the Israeli military courts for the past six years and is the author of a number of leading reports on the subject.



Photo from Action for Palestinian Children, on Facebook.

Palestinian children’s rights

Letter to the Guardian Published Wednesday 25 September 2013

We support the campaign by Action for Palestinian Children to ensure the rights of Palestinian children are upheld in accordance with international human rights treaties and international law. We call on Israel to implement these recommendations:
1) An end to Israel’s nighttime raids and shackling of Palestinian children;
2) Audio-visual recordings of all interrogations;
3) Parents given the right to be present during questioning and the child’s right to access to a lawyer before their interrogation respected;
4) An end to the transfer of children to prisons inside Israel in breach of article 76 of the fourth Geneva convention;
5) An end to the use of solitary confinement. We call on Israel to implement all recommendations made in the independent report Children in Military Custody.

Signed by Geoffrey Bindman QC, Caryl Churchill, William Dalrymple, Owen Jones, Elizabeth Laird, Ken Loach, Maxine Peake, Kika Markham, Bella Freud, Michael Rosen, Mark Rylance, Ahdaf Soueif, Alf Dubs, Glenys Kinnock, Jenny Tonge, Peter Bottomley MP, Richard Burden MP, Sandra Osborne MP, Lisa Nandy MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Grahame Morris MP, Katy Clark MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose, Dr Nur Masalha, Karma Nabulsi, Dr Ghada Karmi, Antoine Zahlan, Dr Salman Abu Sitta, Dr Hilary Wise, Prof Kamel Hawwash, Dr John Yandell, Frances O’Grady, Len McCluskey, Mark Serwotka, Dave Prentis, Christine Blower, Mick Whelan, Bob Crow, Paul Kenny, Steve Gillan, Bob Monks, Ian Lawrence, Ronnie Draper, Sally Hunt, Michelle Stanistreet, Matt Wrack, Larry Flanagan, Christine Payne, Manuel Cortes, Billy Hayes, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Keith Sonnet, Kevin Courtney, Max Hyde, Mary Compton, John Austin; Roy Bailey, Victoria Brittain, Tony Graham, Rev David Haslam, Rev Canon Garth Hewitt, Betty Hunter, Bruce Kent, Hugh Lanning, Martin Linton, Jeremy Moodey, Chris Rose, Peter Tatchell, Kiri Tunks, Diana Neslen, Julie Bourne, Sarah Ker, Alex Kenny, Glyn Secker, Maisie Carter, Jenny Flintoft, Gill Swain, Martin Lynch, Steve Bell, Diane Hutchinson, Sue Plater, Paul Thomson, Maha Rahwanji, Yasmin Latif, Louise Regan, Pete Bevis, Maggie Bevis, Ivan Wels, Ruth Hooper, Dave Clinch; Liz Clinch, Guy Shennan, Orlando Hill, Sabrina Rahman, Kate Parsley, Bruce Mackenzie, J Normaschild, Penny Leach, Sue Owen, Natasha Posner, Katrina Thornton, Veronica Plowden, Dennis O’Malley, Sami Ramadani, John Lloyd, Ellen Graubart, Louise Ashworth, Darienne Hemington, Monica Brady, Carola Towle, Yukiko Hosomi, Martin Francis, Brian Durrans, Trilby Roberts, Zahra Asif, Jack White, Dr Rob Tunbridge, James Gibb, Martin Powell-Davies, Holly Smith, Sylvia Cohen, Colin McKean, Brenda Gaillie, Mark Kelly, Robert Lugg, Terry Conway, Eddie Wilde, Rachel Cheeseman


The UNICEF Report: six months on

[16 September 2013] – In February 2013, UNICEF published a report on the treatment of children prosecuted in the Israeli military courts. The report – Children in Israeli Military Detention – concluded that: “The ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.” After analysing over 400 sworn testimonies, UNICEF concluded, inter alia, that:

  • Many children are aggressively detained in the middle of the night;
  • Children are painfully tied, blindfolded and frequently endure physical and verbal abuse;
  • Children are interrogated without legal advice and without a parent being present;
  • Most children plead guilty to reduce the time they will spend in detention; and
  • Most children are held in prisons in Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The findings of the Report were initially shared with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs which issued a statement saying that: “Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through on-going co-operation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect.” The purpose of this statement is to review what progress has been made during the past six months to implement UNICEF’s recommendations.
Essentially there has been one development of note. On 1 April 2013, Military Order 1711 came into effect (an amendment to MO 1685) reducing the time period in which a child must be brought before a military court judge for the first time following arrest. However, it should be noted that this development largely came about as a result of a High Court petition filed by the Israeli organization ACRI prior to the publication of the UNICEF report. This development, and how it compares with the rights afforded to Israeli children, is presented below.

Time limits before being brought before a judge
Age
Palestinian children
Israeli settler children
Previous position
New position[i]
12-13
4 days
24 hours
12 hours
14-15
4 days
48 hours
24 hours
16-17
4 days
4 days[ii]
24 hours
Whilst these changes appear to be a step in the right direction, three concerns remain:
  • The time periods applied to Palestinian children can be doubled in “special circumstances”;
  • Most complaints of abuse relate to the first 24 hours of detention, during the arrest, transfer and interrogation phases. The amendments provide no additional protection during this critical time frame; and
  • The new time periods are still significantly longer than those applied to Israeli children living in settlements in the West Bank. This violates a basic legal principle that no state is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction on the basis of race or nationality.
Since the publication of the Report, there have been a number of meetings attended by representatives of UNICEF, the General Prosecutor, the Military Advocate General’s office, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lawyers and NGOs for the stated purpose of implementing UNICEF’s recommendations. However, the evidence collected since the publication of the Report indicates that the ill-treatment of children within the system continues to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized”. Children continue to be arrested at night, painfully tied, blindfolded and physically assaulted, interrogated without first receiving the benefit of legal advice, interrogated in the absence of a parent, and imprisoned inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. There is also evidence that solitary confinement continues to be used in some cases during the interrogation phase. Further, the number of Palestinian children now being detained by the Israeli military authorities is up 12.2 percent from 2012.

Beyond a limited consultation process, six months on, none of UNICEF’s 38 recommendations have been satisfactorily implemented by the military authorities. As a matter of urgency, the following recommendations should be implemented without further delay:

1.     All children must be immediately informed of their right to silence upon arrest;

2.     All children must be permitted to consult with a lawyer of choice prior to interrogation;

3.     All children must be accompanied by a parent throughout their interrogation;

4.     All interrogations must be audio-visually recorded; and

5.     Any breach of these recommendations should result in the child’s immediate release.

To find out more about what UNICEF is doing to implement the recommendations contained in the Report please contact Sarah Crowe (Spokesperson, UNICEF – scrowe@unicef.org) and Catherine Weibel (Chief of Communication, UNICEF (Jerusalem) – cweibel@unicef.org).



Is the UK Government shirking its responsibilities regarding G4S?

[9 September 2013] – On 17 July, a parliamentary question was tabled in the UK asking the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs “what reports he has received on the role of G4S in the Israeli prison system.” On 3 September 2013, the Secretary of State (Alistair Burt) responded as follows:

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not receive reports on G4S’s role in the Israeli prison system.”

 However, the following chronology would suggest otherwise:

Date
Details
20 May 2013
The FCO was sent a report by Military Court Watch (MCW) highlighting G4S involvement in the Israeli prison system. The report also provided evidence that 57 percent of Palestinian child detainees were held in prisons inside Israel in April in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Copies of this report were sent to the Consul General and Vice Consul (Political) in Jerusalem as well as the Head of the Near East Group in London.
25 June 2013
The FCO was sent a report by MCW highlighting G4S involvement in the Israeli prison system. The report also provided evidence that 57 percent of Palestinian child detainees were held in prisons inside Israel in May in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Copies of this report were sent to the Consul General and Vice Consul (Political) in Jerusalem as well as the Head of the Near East Group in London.
25 July 2013
The FCO was sent a report by MCW highlighting G4S involvement in the Israeli prison system. The report also provided evidence that 53 percent of Palestinian child detainees were held in prisons inside Israel in June in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Copies of this report were sent to the Consul General and Vice Consul (Political) in Jerusalem as well as the Head of the Near East Group in London. The report also questioned whether the UK Government is fulfilling its obligations to investigate potential grave breaches of the Convention by G4S and its directors.
28 August 2013
The FCO was sent a report by MCW highlighting G4S involvement in the Israeli prison system. The report also provided evidence that 49 percent of Palestinian child detainees were held in prisons inside Israel in July in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Copies of this report were sent to the Consul General and Vice Consul (Political) in Jerusalem as well as the Head of the Near East Group in London. The report also questioned whether the UK Government is fulfilling its obligations to investigate potential grave breaches of the Convention by G4S and its directors.
Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer and/or imprisonment of protected persons outside occupied territory. The FCO has has already acknowledged in writing that the Israeli practice of detaining Palestinians from the West Bank in facilities inside Israeli is a violation of Article 76 of the Convention, but the Government has so far failed to take effective action to investigate possible G4S involvement in what amounts to a “grave breach“.
MCW repeats its submission that in order to discharge its legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UK Government should, as a first step, liaise with the police and Crown Prosecution Service with regard to mounting an investigation to determine if G4S directors and/or the company itself have aided and abetted a grave breach, and if so, whether a prosecution under UK law is warranted, either under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 or the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

Links from all the sections Is the UK Government fulfilling its obligations under Geneva IV in respect of G4S?

Who Profits: The Case of G4S

UNICEF – Children in Israeli Military Detention (February 2013)  Children in Military Custody (June 2012) The Australian – UN’s circle of unaccountability UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – Concluding Observations (June 2013) US State Department – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (April 2013) Children in Military Custody (June 2012)

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – Concluding Observations (2013) US State Department – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (2013) UNICEF – Children in Israeli Military Detention (February 2013) Children in Military Custody (June 2012)

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.