New Report: Judge, Jury And Occupier

Israel’s military court system in the occupied West Bank.

NOTE: CNN reports that the International Criminal Court announced today that it is launching a formal investigation into Israel’s war crimes in the Palestinian territories. In February, the Court ruled that it does have jurisdiction in Palestine. Israel and the United States have been fighting this investigation. Neither country is a member of the ICC. – MF

‘Judge, Jury, and Occupier: Israel’s military court system in the occupied West Bank’ exposes how Israel’s military court system upholds its illegal occupation in the West Bank by enforcing repressive laws imposed on the Palestinian population to suppress dissent, quash resistance to occupation, and to deepen its military rule.

The report calls on the UK government to increase support for Palestinian human rights defenders and impose a two-way arms embargo on Israel.

Israel’s use of military laws and courts over the occupied civilian Palestinian population breaks international law, including the prohibition of torture and the forcible transfer of prisoners from an occupied territory into the occupying state.

‘Judge, Jury, and Occupier’ report: questions & answers

Palestinian human rights organisation Addameer provided original research for the report, including case studies of Palestinian individuals’ experiences in the military court system.

READ THE REPORT HERE: judge_jury_occupier_report_war_on_want

Introduction:

Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land is now in its 54th year. Throughout this time Palestinians have never stopped fighting for their inalienable rights; rights denied to them by the systemic and daily violence of occupation. This violence is manifested in settlements, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall – and in Israel’s farreaching system of military rule in the West Bank, enforced by military courts and prisons: the topic of this report.

As of January 2021, Israel holds 4,500 Palestinians as political prisoners, 450 of whom are held in administrative detention, and 140 of whom are children. Like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before them, they have either been sentenced in Israel’smilitary courts run entirely by Israeli military personnel; or in the case of administrative detainees, imprisoned without charge or trial. Their imprisonment ‘offences’ include possession of political pamphlets, holding political meetings, and participating in peaceful demonstrations. Children are often imprisoned on charges of throwing stones at the heavily armed soldiers invading their villages. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the plight of Palestinian political prisoners.

Despite calls from UN experts for their release, and despite the release of hundreds of Israeli prisoners, Israel has used the pandemic as a pretext to further repress Palestinian political prisoners. Instead of releasing them, they have stopped family visits and restricted access to lawyers.

This report follows years of research and campaigning by War on Want on Israel’s system of arrest and detention. This includes our leadership in a campaign targeting British security company G4S for providing services to Israeli prisons – which, in 2016, saw G4S succumb to public pressure and sell its Israeli subsidiary. Building on this victory, this report focuses on Israel’s overarching system of arrest, detention, and military courts, of which prisons are just one part.

Palestinian human rights defenders including War on Want’s long-term partner Addameer, a West Bank-based NGO, work tirelessly in defence of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Addameer’s staff suffer the daily violence of Israeli occupation, and are specifically targeted because of their human rights work. Attacks are becoming even more extreme due to a disturbing increase in cynical disinformation campaigns aimed at Palestinian human rights organisations.

In this environment, it is even more important for overseas allies to defend the defenders. The fight against colonialism, occupation, and apartheid must be part of any commitment to upholding human rights. This is core to War on Want’s mission: from our historic opposition to apartheid in South Africa to our ongoing support for the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

The publication of this report is a part of War on Want’s commitment to exposing the human rights violations faced by the Palestinian people. Solidarity is our duty: it is our collective responsibility to make their story heard, and to foster an unrelenting groundswell of support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, until Palestine is free.