East Jerusalem update: 1 Palestinian organizer drops his appeal, another arrested and more

East Jerusalem update: 1 Palestinian organizer drops his appeal, another arrested

By Jesse Bacon

Adnan Gheith, whose plight we mentioned earlier, dropped his appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court and will be expelled for four months from East Jerusalem. Ha’aretz reporter Mairav Zonszein linked to that of Jonathan Pollak refusing to plead for mercy in his own case. While it is a travesty that he will have to leave, I am happy he is able to do it on his terms, which should make us all reflect on who is truly free.

The decision, according to his lawyer, stems from the fact that Adnan was convinced he would lose the appeal, among other things, because Israel’s General Security Service was expected to submit classified documents that he would not be able to view and therefore not be able to refute – effectively barring him from due process in making a case in his defense. Furthermore, he argued, the legal proceedings would constitute recognition of the court’s authority and would set a legal precedent for more Palestinians like him to be expelled on the same grounds.  Rumors have been going around that the [Israeli Security] has composed a list of a few hundred Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem to be targeted for similar expulsion orders.

The rationale behind the decision can be understood as protest of Israel’s government and its related authorities, including the Supreme Court, which all take part in the continued occupation of the Palestinian population.  The decision also reflects a long-term approach that sees beyond this specific case and seeks to define the terms by which resistance to the occupation should be conducted. This is similar to Jonathan Pollack’s refusal to accept the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court offer of community service in exchange for a prison sentence, citing that he would not, out of principal, cooperate with the court’s ruling.

Meanwhile, Israel arrested another Silwan organizer Jawad Siyam, was arrested for the crime of organizing resistance to theft of land, this time the director of the Silwan Community Center while he was teaching classes.

The Jerusalem police raided this afternoon the Palestinian community center of Wadi Hilweh, in Silwan (MADA) and arrested the director, Mr. Jawad Siyam, during the children’s classes and in front of their eyes. There are many question marks regarding the legality of the arrest and the real reason of it. This action by the police is coming only few days before another political activist in Silwan, Adnan Ghaith is about to be expelled from Jerusalem for 4 months following the security authorities order. In the case of Jawad Siyam, he was investigated about his political activity and not about the alleged assault accusations.

Siyam (on left) at the community center during his arrest.

Israeli Army’s anonymous version of Jawaher’s death contradicted by everyone

By Jesse Bacon

One of the proudest moments on this blog for me came when we were among the people covering the Rachel Corrie’s attempt to bring desperately needed supplies to Gaza in the aftermath of the 9 killings aboard the Mavi Marmara. Covering the event live on twitter as the Israeli army jammed all communications gave me a clear sense of who was trying to get the truth out as best we could,  and who wanted it stifled. I felt the army censorship personally in a way that had only been abstract for me before. Israel was able to suppress the story that night, but of course the people aboard the Rachel Corrie, as well as the Mavi Marmara continued to speak out. The short term victory was completely offset by the steady deterioration of Israeli crediblity.

Now another person is dead, this time a Palestinian protesting on her own land. Again, it is the Israeli army trying desperately to convince us that she was stricken by cancer in a single day. Fortunately, +972 magazine has gathered eyewitness testimony to demolish the army’s version of events, and I am extremely proud to have one of our tweets be part of the evidence against their ludicrous claims. . I realized that I had been guilty of magical thinking, that getting word out about a protest would somehow magically prevent anything bad from happening. Clearly that is not so. But I like to think the day when perpetrators of violence can lie with impunity is over and that will continue to be more and bigger protests, from Bil’in to Tel Aviv to Lexington, KY.

The army has also claimed that the reports about Abu Rahmah’s injuries started to arrive only several hours after the incident, in the evening. That claim is contradicted by a report sent via the Twitter account of NGO Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which reports the injury of Jawaher, including her name, in real time (click here to view). The tweet was sent at 2:36 pm Israel/PA time (4:36 am on the East Coast of the United States). Wafa, the Palestinian news service, published a report that includes the injury of Jawaher Abu Rahmah shortly after the event (click here to view).

A Palestinian man surrounded by a tear gas cloud in Bil'in on 31 December 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv)

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