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An Attack Against All Those Standing Up Against the Wall and the Occupation

By: 
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Date Published: 
January 10, 2010

On Monday January 4, at a military hearing in Ramallah, an Israeli court extended the detention of human rights activist Jamal Juma' for a further three days. Despite being held for 20 days, no charges have yet been brought against Jamal.

A solidarity demonstration had been planned for Jamal's hearing. In addition several consular representatives, concerned at the ongoing arrest of anti-Wall leaders, had planned to attend the hearing. In response, Israeli authorities surreptitiously moved the proceedings from Jerusalem to the Ofer prison near Ramallah the evening prior to the hearing and changed the time of the hearing.

Despite these measures, almost 50 people had obtained access to the court room, located in a makeshift mobile home at Ofar prison. Diplomats from Europe and beyond, Palestinian civil society leaders from within the Green Line, and Israeli and international supporters were all present.

Jamal was able to address the crowd prior to the hearing, stating, "This case is not only about me. It is an attack on those that are standing up against the wall and the occupation."

He went to make two further statements to the judge highlighting the appalling conditions of detention. He stated that the detention conditions are below "human dignity", creating and deteriorating health problems of the detainees. He concluded pointing at his shackles and the orange uniform - "just like those they use in Guantanamo."

No charges were brought against Jamal. During the hearing, the judge understood from the documents of the secret file that the investigation process seemed to be concluded. Furthermore, the police officer authorized to explain why the investigation required additional time was absent, and Jamal underlined that in the last 20 days no investigator has even talked to him. Nevertheless, the judge extended the interrogation period for another three days until a further hearing on Thursday January 7.

This Kafkaesque procedure further underlines that Jamal Juma's detention is meant solely to humiliate Palestinian leadership and to attempt to immobilize the grassroots struggle of Palestinian civil society.

Outside the court room, protestors had crowded earlier in the day in front of the gate of the prison complex, less than 500 meters from the prison. Despite Israeli attempts to thwart the demonstration, scores of activists, along with representatives of Palestinian political parties and civil society, gathered in front of the Ofer prison in the West Bank. Soldiers shoved youth back from the entrance while demonstrators shouted for the release of Jamal, Mohammed Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahma. Slogans also condemned the occupation and the Wall, the root cause of this massive wave of arrests, demanding justice for the Palestinian people.

Protestors at the Ofer gates were joined by supporters from the '48, among them MK Mohammad Baraka, in demanding the immediate release of Jamal and the anti-Wall prisoners. Gathering close by and visible to those on the other side but separated by a military checkpoint, they joined their West Bank counterparts, calling out for the freedom of those arrested in the struggle against the Wall and demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Protestors remained around the compound for several hours before dispersing.

Today at Ofer the hearings of both Mohammed and Abdallah are scheduled, and protests are scheduled to continue.

For more information on Jamal's case check out http://stopthewall.org