At 9:00 pm on 15 December 2009, the Israeli police called Jamal Juma’’s family home and summoned him for interrogation. He was asked to come to Qalandia checkpoint that same night at midnight. Two and a half hours later, at 2:30 am on 16 December 2009, Jamal Juma’ was brought handcuffed to his home. In the presence of Jamal’s three young children and his wife, the army searched his home for two hours and confiscated his computer and cell phones. As the Israeli army was taking Jamal to the Moskobiyyeh Interrogation Center in West Jerusalem, one of the soldiers threatened Jamal’s wife that she would only see her husband again through a prisoners’ exchange.
CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Addameer and Stop the Wall contend that Jamal’s arrest should be viewed in a wider context of persistent Israeli repression against Palestinian human rights defenders and activists who, like Jamal, have been successful in their lobbying efforts, at home and abroad, against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel’s continuation of land confiscation and the illegal construction of the Annexation Wall. The timing of Jamal’s arrest is also an indication of a link between his human rights work and his subsequent detention. Weeks prior to his arrest, Jamal was actively working on starting a campaign to protect human rights activists protesting against the Annexation Wall. Indeed, since July 2009, the Israeli forces have increased their arrest campaign of both human rights defenders and residents of Palestinian villages opposing the construction of the Wall. In response to organized protests and advocacy efforts, Israel has adopted a policy of arrest, detention, intimidation, threats and, at times, collective punishment. Leading Palestinian human rights activists, prominent figures, such as mayors and teachers, and members of the Popular Committees, who are instrumental in coordinating weekly protests and advocacy efforts including legal cases, are often personally targeted and arrested in an attempt to sideline them from organizing the protests, or to discredit them and their efforts. Local cameramen and photographers, as well as members of the press, are also targeted. Most recently, on 10 December 2009, Abdallah Abu Rahma, a school teacher and coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee was arrested by Israeli soldiers during a dawn raid. Importantly, youths and children as young as twelve are often the first ones to be arrested in mass arrest campaigns, either during demonstrations, immediately after them or during night raids. These arrests of the most vulnerable members of the community are intended to exert pressure on their families and the entire campaign to put an end to all advocacy efforts and social mobilization.
In recent months, Jamal has been raising all of these issues with EU representative offices to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and EU consulates in East Jerusalem in relation to the arrest and administrative detention of one of his colleagues, a youth campaigner working with the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad Othman, who was arrested on 22 September 2009 on his way back from an advocacy tour in Norway. Together with Addameer, Jamal suggested that EU missions implement EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders by regularly attending trials of human rights defenders, reporting on arbitrary arrests and raising specific cases under the EU-Israel political dialogue. Additionally, Jamal has been very active in advocating the rights of the Palestinian people at various United Nations conferences, and regularly participated in the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society, organized under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. He also regularly attended the World Social Forum meetings in Porto Alegre, Caracas, Nairobi and most recently in January 2009 in Belém in Brazil, where he personally met with the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In addition, Jamal attended the International Symposium on the “International Court of Justice and Israel’s Wall – 5 years on” in July 2009, where he spoke about the Wall and its associated, unlawful regime, in the presence of prominent human rights defenders, such as Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Occupied Territory. Through his work as the “Stop the Wall” campaign coordinator, Jamal regularly met with foreign diplomats, members of the European Parliament and government officials.
Addameer and “Stop the Wall” position
The protection of human rights defenders is not only a moral obligation, but has been recognized by the United Nations as a social, individual and collective right and responsibility. Addameer and Stop the Wall thus urge foreign government officials, including members of foreign representative offices to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and foreign Consulates in East Jerusalem, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament, human rights organizations and United Nations bodies to:
• Raise all cases of Palestinian human rights defenders arrested in relation to their advocacy work on the Wall and its associated, unlawful regime, including the cases of Jamal Juma’, Mohammad Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahma, in their official meetings with Israeli officials;
• Demand clarifications regarding the reason for the arrest of all human rights defenders protesting the construction of the Wall, including that of Jamal Juma’, in official letters addressed to Israeli authorities;
• Issue public statements condemning the arrest of all human rights defenders, including Jamal Juma’, protesting the construction of the Wall;
• Demand Jamal’s immediate release and pressure Israel to put an end to its policy of arbitrary detention.
In addition, Addameer and Stop the Wall urge representatives of EU missions to attend Jamal’s and other human rights defenders’ court hearings in accordance with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders; raise Jamal’s case under the EU-Israel political dialogue and organize a joint press conference with Palestinian human rights defenders at risk of detention.
For more information about Jamal’s arrest, as well as the detention of other Palestinian human rights defenders, directly contact:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136
Stop the Wall Campaign
(Article text sourced from http://freejamaljuma.wordpress.com/ visit this site for more info and advice on how to take action)