- A previous article discussed him in detail, accessed
through the following site:
- Following former prime minister Ariel Sharon's dictum
that, "This is our land, and we'll settle it and build on it in order
to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state," Palestinians have
been ruthlessly persecuted, imprisoned, or slaughtered in gross violation
of international laws.
- Ameer Makhoul is one of many thousands of victims, vilified
for being Muslims in a Jewish state. An Israeli citizen, human rights activist,
and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO for Palestinian
empowerment, he also chairs the Public Committee for the Defence of Political
Prisoners within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel. Besides
championing human rights, he also supports the global BDS movement, what
many believe is perhaps the most effective nonviolent tactic against Israeli
lawlessness, and another reason for his targeting.
- In May 2010, he was arrested on spurious charges of spying
for Hezbollah, Israel's way to silence a respected Palestinian. At the
time, attorney Hussein Abu Hasin said accusations were so vague and wide-ranging
that emails, Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything
could be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with a "state
enemy," whether or not true and regardless of the right to speak freely
- On May 6, his ordeal began when about 20 Israeli police
and security forces arrested him at 3:10AM, ransacked his apartment, confiscated
his computers, cell phones, various documents, maps, and other possessions.
At the same time, his Haifa office was raided for other potentially "incriminating"
evidence, a Shin Bet warrant saying only that "secret information"
justified it for "security reasons," when, in fact, none whatsoever
- Makhoul was detained incommunicado at Petah Tikva for
interrogation. Under an initial gag order, the Israeli media couldn't write
or discuss anything about his case.
- He endured 12 days of brutal interrogation, including
torture and sleep deprivation. After three weeks, he was charged with espionage,
helping an enemy (Hezbollah) in time of war, contact with a foreign agent,
and other spurious charges, all of which he denied.
- On June 14, prosecutors claimed "secret evidence"
against him, withheld from his lawyers for "security reasons."
In addition, all attorney conversations were wiretapped, and despite requesting
medical help from the Association of Physicians for Human Rights, it was
- He remained imprisoned, a Committee for the Defense of
Ameer Makhoul established on September 8 to defend him. Comprised of dozens
of Jewish and Arab figures, it took collective responsibility because:
- -- his arrest signified what he represents, not just
himself, and it was done to warn other activist Israeli Arabs; and
- -- charges against him were entirely spurious, his targeting
to silence a respected, powerful, effective political voice for all Arab
- On September 16, he was charged in Haifa District Court,
even though Israeli prosecutors said his home and office computers, cell
phones, other possessions, and transcripts of about 30,000 wiretapped phone
conversations revealed no evidence of espionage.
- On January 30, Haaretz writer Jack Khoury headlined,
"Israeli Arab who spied for Hezbollah jailed for nine years,"
- His "lawyers struck a plea bargain with the prosecution
in October 2010, in which they asked for a reduced sentence of seven years,
while the prosecution (wanted) 10....the maximum sentence for the charges
- The ruling accused him of supplying "intelligence
to a Hezbollah agent on Shin Bet installations in the Haifa region and
on Mossad offices in the center of the country. (Also, that he attempted)
to pass on information about a military base and sought details about the
residence of Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin."
- His fellow activist Omar Saeed earlier struck a plea
bargain in August, under which he was charged with "working for an
illegal organization, a crime that carries a punishment of several months'
- On January 30, Amnesty International (AI) headlined,
"Palestinian Human Rights Activist Jailed in Israel," saying:
- Makhoul's "jailing is a very disturbing development
and we will be studying the details of the sentencing as soon as we can.
(He's) well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians
in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this
may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment."
- Philip Luther, AI's Middle East and North Africa deputy
director, expressed concern that he was tortured and abused after his May
6 arrest, was isolated for 12 days, had no contact with counsel, and a
media gag order prevented discussion of his case. Moreover, under Israeli
law, people can be charged with espionage even if information passed on
is publicly known or if no harm was intended or caused.
- In addition, his alleged confession was extracted by
torture, meaning none of it is credible or admissible. Also, what he allegedly
passed on was publicly known. He, in fact, was targeted for his activism
and prominence, not any alleged crimes. His sentencing came at a time Israel
is increasingly targeting human rights activists, accused by some MKs of
being "anti-Israeli" and unpatriotic because of their support
for Palestinian justice. Makhoul heroically did it. He'll now serve nine
years in Israel's gulag, perhaps brutalized until released after which
he vowed to continue public activism.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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