Palestinian asks Quartet for human rights measures
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Palestinian asks Quartet for human rights measures

Palestine, January 12 2010

From:
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
National and Islamic Forces

To:
Special Envoys and representatives to the Quartet

Special Envoy Tony Blair (UK)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (UN)
High Representative Catherine Ashton (EU)
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos (Spain, EU Presidency)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (US)
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Russia)

Your Excellencies,

On December 16th, Jamal Juma’ was arrested by Israeli Authorities. Mr. Juma’ is an internationally known and respected Palestinian human rights defender, and the coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, a coalition of popular committees and 12 Palestinian NGOs struggling against the Wall and the Israeli illegal settlements. He is known to many international officials and diplomatic missions because of his advocacy work and has participated in many United Nations conferences regarding the Palestinian issue.

Mr. Juma’s arrest is a part of the increased wave of Israeli repression Palestinian human rights defenders are being subjected to, especially those involved in advocacy and grassroots activism against the Wall. In September of 2009, Mr. Mohammed Othman, an activist with Stop the Wall Campaign, was arrested, and this past December, Abdallah Abu Rahma of the Bil’in Popular Committee was likewise detained. Anti-Wall activists are being subjected to a policy of arbitrary arrests by Israeli authorities and are imprisoned for their peaceful defense of Palestinian human rights. Jamal, Mohammad, and Abdallah, amongst other human rights defenders, are currently tried a military court system that does not comply with international laws and standards of fair trial and due process, and one that clearly highlights the discriminatory and arbitrary nature of the Israeli judicial system.

Grassroots organizers in Palestine are under increased threat of arrest, which complements a policy of intimidation, killings and at times, collective punishment that has been applied to the residents of villages affected by the Wall.

It is internationally recognized that civil society and human rights defenders are important and key persons in any peace process. As long as Israel systematically represses human rights defenders and silences them in prison, the very fundaments of a successful peace process are jeopardized. Today, Israel holds 8500 Palestinian political prisoners, almost 300 of whom are held in administrative detention, without charges or trial.

The repression of anti-wall activists only highlights that the construction of the Apartheid Wall is proceeding in complete disregard of the International Court of Justice ruling stating its illegal status. In its shadow, settlements are growing at a rapid pace. Palestinians are forcibly displaced from Jerusalem and other areas in the West Bank through home demolitions and massive restrictions on movement, construction and residency. Not only do the Wall, settlements and forced displacement destroy Palestinian livelihoods and communities, but they also preempt and eliminate the possibility of any just solution in the future.

Israel must be pressured into putting an end to its repression of the Palestinian grassroots movement and into tearing down the Wall and dismantling all the illegal settlements within the 1967 borders as a prerequisite for any peace process and future negotiations.

Furthermore, we want to remind you that the negotiations of the peace process failed due to the vicious attack by Israel on the Gaza Strip. One year later, Israel continues to besiege the Gaza strip, applying a policy that is being described by politicians, analysts and peace activists as an act of ‘slow genocide.’

Therefore, we as representatives of Palestinian civil society organizations, political and national movements urge the Special Envoys of the Quartet gathered in Brussels to ensure that the respect of international law and human rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of return, are a preconditions and basic pillar of the peace process.

In particular, we call upon the Special Envoys to:
• Demand the immediate release of all Palestinian human rights defenders, including Jamal Juma’, Mohammad Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahme from Israeli jails following the Amnesty International recommendation as issued on the 8th of January, 2010, and develop a suitable mechanism of protection for Palestinian human rights defenders.
• Create an effective mechanism of pressure on Israel to ensure the swift and full implementation of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which demanded the removal of the illegal wall and reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall, and has reminded the international community of their obligations to ensure full respect of international law in third countries.
• Decide upon effective pressure to ensure the immediate stop of all settlement construction, and all forced displacement practices against Palestinians residents in Jerusalem and in area C.
• Ensure the immediate end of the siege on Gaza.

Respectfully,

The undersigned:

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
National and Islamic Forces

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