ACRI in the News: May 1 – May 14 2012

“Living with Dignity” in Israel Getting Harder
The cost of dignity
2 May 2012 (Haaretz)
If you’re reading these lines, presumably you can afford a newspaper. Or Internet service. You may not quite make ends meet: you may end the month in overdraft and would love to earn more, but you aren’t below the poverty line.
You also have the leisure of a few seconds to study your image in the mirror each morning to make sure you look sufficiently dignified. But what does it take to live in dignity in modern society?
[…] In 2003 Benjamin Netanyahu, then the finance minister, slashed at state subsidies for the poor. Vicky Knafo, divorced mother of three, lost NIS 1,000 a month in assistance and embarked on a protest march from her home in Mitzpeh Ramon to the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, a distance of 205 kilometers. Her trek turned into a widely covered march by single mothers in Israel. Without that NIS 1,000, she felt, she could not live in dignity. At the same time the Supreme Court was discussing the right to human dignity after two citizens hurt by the austerity plan and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and other groups sued the state.
The Israeli Legal System in the Occupied Territories
Habeas corpus for Palestinians?
4 May 2012 (Daily Beast)
[Op-Ed by Libby Lenkinski, ACRI’s Director of International Relations]

This week, the topic of the Palestinian hunger strike again made headlines.  This issue first came up in social and mainstream media in the recent case of Khader Adnan—and was followed with a second hunger striking Palestinian prisoner, a woman named Hana Shalabi.
[…] In both Adnan and Shalabi’s cases, Israeli human rights organizations sounded the alarms, demanding that hunger striking and all other Palestinian administrative detainees be released or given fair trial. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sent an urgent letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak in which it details the violations of human rights—namely the right to fair trial violated by the practice, and called for release or fair trial. The painful fact is that while administrative detention violates human rights, fair trial is simply not available to Palestinians in the Israeli military courts.  There is no real life alternative to that does provide justice and due process to Palestinians.
Military ‘approves demolition of Awarta convicts’ homes’
6 May 2012 (Ma’an)
The heads of Israel’s military on Sunday decided to demolish the homes of two Palestinians convicted of murdering an Israeli family last year, Israeli media said.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and army chief Benny Gantz agreed to destroy the West Bank homes of Hakim and Ajmad Awad, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported. The teenagers were sentenced to multiple life sentences for the killing of five relatives in an Israeli settlement in March 2011.
[…] Lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel Tamar Feldman told Ma’an: “Demolishing the houses of families of convicted criminals, despicable as their crimes may be, is collective punishment, which is absolutely banned under international law.”
Otherwise Occupied / One country, two legal codes
7 May 2012 (Haaretz)
Under Israeli juvenile law, should IDF soldiers or police make the effort to detain Jewish youth for mutilating trees, minors under the age of 14 can be held for up to 12 hours, and minors over the age of 14 can be detained for 24 hours. Israeli military law does not distinguish between a Palestinian minor and an adult when it comes to their primary detention, before trial. Palestinian detainees under and over the age of 18 can be held for eight days. One country, two legal codes.
For some people, this circumstance of double standards contradicts human logic, professional norms and ethics. In 2010, two petitions were lodged with the High Court of Justice disputing such structural discrimination: Attorney Lila Margalit represented the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din-Volunteers for Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; attorneys Smadar Ben Natan and Avigdor Feldman represented the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. The petitioners sought to make prearraignment detention periods for Palestinian suspects equivalent to those of Israeli suspects. […]
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 
If gov’t had its way, Israel would rightfully be on UN list of human rights abusers
5 May 2012 (972 Magazine)
[Op-Ed by Hagai El-Ad, ACRI’s Executive Director]

This coalition government has invested a huge legislative effort in all of the above initiatives in recent years, an effort that if successful, would have bought Israel an unfortunate place of honor amongst the oppressive dictatorships that the High Commissioner condemned. But Israel not reaching that dubious place had nothing to do with the government, for it has initiated and supported these very efforts. In fact, it was the steadfast work of the very civil society organizations that the government targeted, as well as international condemnation and pressure, that revealed the truth behind these undemocratic legislative attempts and fought tirelessly against them.
Petition against Ongoing State of Emergency
High Court upholds state of emergency
8 May 2012 (Jerusalem Post)
The High Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday to reject a petition calling for the cancelation of Israel’s state of emergency – 13 years after it was first filed. Israel has been in a state of emergency since 1948, in accordance with article 38 of the Basic Law: The Government. According to the Basic Law, amended in 1992, the Knesset may declare a state of emergency, which may remain in force for one year, after which the Knesset can renew its declaration if it sees fit. Since 1992, Knesset has renewed the state of emergency annually. In 1999, the Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel petitioned the High Court, asking the justices to order the government to nullify the state of emergency, which they argue grants broad human rights violations.
High Court rejects petition to annul state of emergency
8 May 2012 (Ynet)
The High Court of Justice has rejected a petition filed by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel in 1999, aiming to annul the state of emergency in the country.
“On one hand, Israel is an active democracy that protects basic rights, but on the other, the threats on its existence have yet to be retracted,” Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled.
Unrecognized Bedouin Villages
Jewish National Fund resumes forestation project in al-Arakib
7 May 2012 (+972)
According to a 2011 report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, approximately half the Bedouin population in the Negev, about 90,000 people—live in quasi-recognized or unrecognized villages similar to al-Arakib. The government adoption of the PrawerPlan last September calls for the uprooting of 30,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel and their relocation to established Bedouin towns (with financial compensation), thereby denying the community’s connection to the land and way of life.

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages, Racism and Discrimination, Social and Economic Rights, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Equality

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