UN office in Ramallah closed by protests about Palestinian prisoners

The UN office in Ramallah has been closed this morning by protesters angry about the UN’s inaction on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, particularly those held for “security” reasons under Administrative Detention procedures. Some 125 Administrative Detainees are now on the 41st day of a hunger strike to protest Administrative Detention and the conditions under which they’re being held.

A photo — Tweeted by Ahmad this morning, and posted here.

Ahmad @ANimer – .@UN office in #Ramallah is closed
#PalHunger #UNClosed pic.twitter.com/0iGCIk9vV4

UN office in Ramallah closed in Ramallah by protesters angry about lack of support to prisoners
UN office in Ramallah closed in Ramallah by protesters angry about lack of support to prisoners

The image was also Tweeted here by Diana Alzeer @ManaraRam
Outside the #UN building sprayed by activists today! UN = UNFAIR/ UNHELPFUL. UN offices are shut down today! #??_???? pic.twitter.com/ViNXZl7NbR

There was headway being made against Administrative Detention in 2012, but momentum was lost due to lack of support from some Palestinian activists who disputed its relative importance [affecting only approximately 200 people, by contrast with the 5,100 or so being held under other military court rules.

Haaretz newspaper has published an editorial here calling for a “review” of how Israel uses Administrative Detention. It’s subhead says: “Israel must…stop using it wholesale to perpetuate the occupation”.

The Haaretz article says:
“Administrative detention is one of the most offensive measures a regime can take against a person’s civil rights. In Israel, any military officer in the territories can have a person jailed almost indefinitely and without judicial oversight. Administrative detention procedures do not require the detainee to be informed of the charges against him, attorneys cannot defend him, and the evidence against him is not open to judicial review. While international law recognizes administrative detention, it restricts its use, limiting it to cases involving a danger to public safety for which there is no other prevention. Israel, however, uses it excessively in the territories” [mainly to protect sources or prevent the exposure of Shin Bet security service methods, Haaretz says — but it also uses it punitatively, to punish the person being held, not to protect sources or security methods…

Haaretz recommends:
“The Shin Bet, Israel Prison Service and defense minister must reconsider this detention policy, examine each case carefully, prosecute those it has evidence against and move to quickly release those against whom evidence is lacking. Israel must adhere to the international community’s accepted interpretation of administrative detention and stop using it wholesale to perpetuate the occupation”.

And, Haaretz adds:
“Israel likes to point to the use the United States made of administrative detention at Guantanamo Bay to justify its own use of the procedure. But the United States conducted a lengthy public and legal struggle over the issue, at the end of which new guidelines were issued regarding the detainees’ rights. In Israel there is no such debate, since administrative detention is regarded as a legitimate measure that’s not much different than a regular arrest, and there is a paradoxical belief that the person’s arrest is indicative of the level of risk he poses, thus there is no need to prove it”.

Separately, Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is also pointing to the US force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to justify backing for a bill currently pending in Israel’s Knesset to allow force-feeding of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and detainees. Here is a series of Tweets giving the background:

KatherineHawkins @Krhawkins5 · Fabulous. Netanyahu cites GTMO force feeding in bid to pass bill allowing Israel to force feed: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=17943 …

KatherineHawkins @Krhawkins5 · “the Israeli Medical Association told Netanyahu that their organization opposed the bill…it would essentially sanction torture”

KatherineHawkins @Krhawkins5 · Bibi “retorted that the government would be able to find other physicians” & “cited the U.S. military’s force-feeding of prisoners” at GTMO

KatherineHawkins @Krhawkins5 · that article on Israeli considering copying U.S.’s bad example on force feeding is via @jasonleopold

Jason Leopold @JasonLeopold · Netanyahu cites US force feeding policies at Guantanamo in arguing for approval of a bill to force feed Palestinians http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=17943 …

Jason Leopold @JasonLeopold · Netanyahu: We will force feed Palestinian prisoners like U.S. in Guantanamo http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/140603-human-rights-groups-petition-eu-on-hunger-strikers …

Jason Leopold @JasonLeopold · New from .@CliveSSmith: At Guantánamo Bay, the guilty go free, the innocent remain via @AJAM http://alj.am/1huEeR6

@jeff_bachman · Obama has power to close Gitmo http://alj.am/1wWln5S @JasonLeopold Goes 2 show what we already knew. Only options aren’t force-feed or death…

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