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military courts

  • After 50 years, military violence is the norm for Palestinian children

    Children under the age of 18 currently make up almost 50 percent of the Palestinians living in the occupied territories — and have grown up with systemic discrimination, settlement expansions, and war. By Jennifer Bing There are two places to visit if you want to know the human impact of Israel’s 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories: an Israeli military court and the sitting room of a Palestinian family. I have been to both. [tmwinpost] I work for the American Friends Service Committee, which has been involved in advocacy and humanitarian work with Palestinians for more than 50 years.…

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  • Palestinians play a lead role in the theater of occupation

    For 50 years, Israelis and Palestinians have lived separately-together under one rule. Only one group has been able to reap the fruits of democracy. By Hagai El-Ad When Israelis vote, Palestinians do not. But they do get to participate: they can watch. Like the residents of the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the occupied West Bank, who get to watch as the ballots cast by their Israeli settler neighbors from Beit Horon are shipped to election headquarters – the Knesset that Palestinians do not get to vote for (but whose decisions control their lives) on a highway they cannot use…

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  • The IDF is putting Palestinians on trial for Facebook posts

    Roughly 150 Palestinians have been put on trial in Israeli military courts for alleged incitement on Facebook. Now, the army and Shin Bet are having a hard time proving what incitement is, and often times just give up. Instead of releasing suspects as its own courts order, the army is putting them in administrative detention. By Hagar Shezaf In a small caravan that serves as a courtroom at the Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court, a boy in his late teens from the West Bank village of Silwad is standing trial on charges of incitement on online social networks. In the…

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  • Will Jewish terrorism suspects get a 'fair trial?'

    Had a Palestinian committed the exact same crime in the exact same location, he would find himself in an entirely different justice system. Maybe 'fair' is relative. Israel's justice minister on Sunday said she "hopes" that the alleged Jewish terrorists indicted for murdering three members of the Dawabshe family will receive a fair and just trial. Hopes. [tmwinpost] According to Haaretz's Chaim Levinson and Barak Ravid, Justice Minister Shaked declined to clarify whether her hope amounts to trust in the court system or whether believes the suspects will receive a fair trial. (The Justice Ministry was quick to release a tersely-worded statement,…

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  • Resource: Presumed guilty from the get-go

    Military courts have operated in the occupied territories since the Israeli occupation began in 1967. To date, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been brought before these courts. The following B'Tselem report focuses on one of the central aspects in the work of the military justice system: remand in custody pending end of proceedings. With the exception of individuals tried for traffic violations, remanding Palestinian defendants in custody for the duration of the proceedings is the rule rather than the exception. One of the outcomes of this policy is that the vast majority of military court cases end in plea bargains.…

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  • When the judge is your enemy, to whom shall you complain?

    The Israeli justice system – from its inaccessible police stations to its lenient prosecutors, from its negligent investigators to its judges who won’t convict – makes it clear to the Palestinians that there is simply no point in lodging complaints. By Yossi Gurvitz, written for Yesh Din “The spectrum of possible reasons for the lack of complaints may range from acceptance of the fact and a natural inclination not to complain, to disinclination to come in contact with the authorities, to fear resulting from a threat or concern of retribution, to reaching the conclusions from the lack of results in…

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  • The illusion of change in the West Bank military courts

    Positive developments in the treatment of minors by Israeli security forces are overshadowed by partial and half-hearted implementation. By Gerard Horton In March 2013, UNICEF recommended that all children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank must be given written information about their rights, including the right to silence and prompt access to a lawyer, at the time of arrest. This followed a finding by the UN agency that the ill-treatment of children detained in the system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that it would “study [the recommendations] and work to…

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  • Partial win: No jail for Palestinian activist who blocked bulldozer

    Abdullah Abu Rahmah is levied a fine and a suspended sentence for standing in front of a bulldozer. 'I will continue my struggle and my protest, because it is our right,' he says. In his sentencing hearing, the military prosecution described Abu Rahmah's nonviolent protest as an ideological crime. By Yael Marom The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank handed down a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 5,000 ($1,290)to Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a central organizer of Bil’in’s nonviolent protests. Abu Rahmah, one of the central activists in the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank, was recognized…

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  • IDF: Palestinian nonviolent protest is an ideological crime

    Abdullah Abu Rahmah has a sentencing hearing in military court after being convicted of standing in front of an IDF bulldozer. The nonviolent protest organizer from Bil'in who already served more than a year in prison has been declared a 'human rights defender' by the European Union. By Yael Marom Diplomats from the European Union, Sweden, France, the UK, Finland and Spain were present at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday, along with dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists. Abu Rahmah is a…

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  • Judges aren't cogs in the occupation, they're the oil keeping it going

    A new report maps out the two separate legal systems in the occupied territories — one for Jews and one for Arabs. At a launch event for the report, senior jurists showed up and argued it's not their fault whatsoever. Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner asked: What can we do? The answer: A lot. (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) There was something mesmerizing about listening to representatives of the legal establishment speak at a conference held by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) last week. Mesmerizing and terrifying. The hardest thing was hearing Dalia Dorner —…

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  • Abiding by international law — when it's convenient

    Israeli institutions seek to obtain the benefits of the international legal order while refusing to accept the corresponding burdens and obligations. By Gerard Horton For some time now the Israeli army's Military Courts’ Unit has distributed a five-page briefing paper to foreign delegations visiting military courts in the West Bank. The briefing paper is intended to persuade the reader that the military courts — which have been used to prosecute approximately 755,000 Palestinian men, women and children since 1967 — were established, and are currently operating, in accordance with international law. The document commences with the following statement: The Military…

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  • Is every Palestinian kid who throws stones a terrorist?

    In a reality where children aged 10 and 11 are arrested by 18- and 19-year-old soldiers who have been indoctrinated for military service since kindergarten, this kind of discussion seems completely out of place. A human rights attorney spends the day at one of the occupation's more bizarre PR events. By Smadar Ben-Natan “Involvement of Children in Terrorism.” That was the rather confusing name given to a conference organized by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). What is the context for discussing the involvement of children in terrorism? What is meant by the word…

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  • A pretense of progress for children in Israel's military courts

    A new amendment requiring military authorities to videotape interrogations of Palestinian minors may seem like a step in the right direction. That is, until you read the fine print. By Gerard Horton Change has been afoot since UNICEF published a report finding that the ill treatment of children held in Israeli military detention “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” Most recently that change has come in the form of a new military order (Military Order 1745), which requires Israeli police in the West Bank to audio-visually record interrogations of minors. The order also stipulates that interrogations should be conducted…

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