Friday, January 08, 2010

What We Can do: Pressure the US Consulate to Call for the release of Nonviolent Resistance Leaders

I just re-read my last post and it sounds very depressing. And I suppose in someways that's appropriate. There's no use pretending that Palestinians are treated justly in the Israeli military court system. But there is something that we can do to get our friend Musab out of prison. It's not much, but it's well worth trying.

International activists have launch a campaign to pressure the US Consult General Daniel Rubinstein to ask Israel to release nonviolent resistance leaders that have been arrested and jailed over the last months. You can send a letter from here, editing it to include information about Musab. Here's my suggested text, but if you can make yours sound more personal, that's all the better.

On January 6, 2010, the Israeli military arrested Musab Musa Raba'i, a Palestinian participant in the grassroots nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Mr. Raba'i was grazing his sheep on his land when Israeli soldiers attacked him and his family. Soldiers hit the shepherds with their rifle butts, pushed them and while some soldiers forcibly held them to the ground, others kicked them. During the attack, soldiers arrested Mr. Raba'i.

Mr. Raba'i joins many other leaders of Palestinian grassroots nonviolence in Israeli jails, including Jamal Juma', who was arrested without charge on December 16th, 2009; Mohammad Othman, who was arrested on September 22, 2009 while returning home from addressing the Norwegian government pension fund about the human rights violations of the Israeli company Elbit, and who has now been held without charge for more than 100 days; and Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leader of the weekly nonviolent protests against the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in who was arrested in his home in the early morning hours of December 10, 2009—International Human Rights Day.

On December 14, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a major speech on human rights policy at Georgetown University, pledging the Obama Administration to hold itself accountable to universal human rights standards. In this speech, Secretary Clinton stated the following:

“By holding ourselves accountable, we reinforce our moral authority to demand that all governments adhere to obligations under international law; among them, not to torture, arbitrarily detain and persecute dissenters, or engage in political killings. Our government and the international community must counter the pretensions of those who deny or abdicate their responsibilities and hold violators to account.”

Israel’s arbitrary detention and persecution of dissenters such as Mr. Othman, Mr. Abu Rahmah, and Mr. Juma', and Mr. Raba'i —Palestinians who are participating a nonviolent movement of protest against Israeli occupation and violations of human rights—stand as a crucial test of whether the Obama Administration is truly dedicated to the human rights of political dissenters and nonviolent actors.

The imprisonment of Palestinian grassroots leaders is part of an active campaign by the Israeli government and military to quash nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. I urge you to demand the release of these and other Palestinian prisoners who are being held for no other reason than their ongoing nonviolent activity against Israel's violations of human rights, international law, and equality for all.

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