- On April 21, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human
Rights Association expressed grave concern about Qatamish's arrest:
- "not only because (it's) motivated by his political
opinions and beliefs and as such should be considered a case of arbitrary
detention, but also because (he's) been (targeted by) Israeli authorities
before on numerous occasions, notably" for long incarcerations without
- As a result, Addameer feels he'll again be administratively
detained "without proper recourse to justice and without any legitimate
means to defend himself."
- Speaking on his behalf, Palestinian Legislative Council
(PLC) member Dr. Mustafa Barghouti called Israel's arrest "a shameless
attempt at muzzling him in an unjustifiable attack on his freedom of expression."
- A distinguished writer, scholar, academic, lecturer and
activist, Qatamish earned his doctorate in political science. He's also
an author of several books on political, philosophical and literary topics,
as well as a respected speaker at local universities and research centers.
- In 2010, he taught at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem,
the only Arab institution of higher learning in the divided city, established
in 1984 offering degrees in fields ranging from law to technology as well
as many other disciplines.
- Moreover, its 1998-established Center for Jerusalem Studies
includes course work on interdisciplinary cultural heritage topics, as
well as related seminars and symposiums from a Palestinian perspective.
- Qatamish's latest ordeal began before dawn on April 21
when Israeli soldiers and intelligence officers arrested him, his wife,
daughter, and two other female relatives (including a 14-year old child).
He alone was taken to Beitunia's Ofer detention center.
- His wife, Suha Barghouti, is an Addameer and Palestinian
Red Crescent Society board member, as well as being affiliated with a Palestinian
NGO Network Steering Committee. Heroic and outspoken like her husband,
she calls his latest arrest:
- "an attempt to silence his critical voice and prevent
his compelling vision for emancipation and self-determination from spreading
further in the Palestinian public."
- As a result, she urged human rights organizations to
exert pressure on his behalf to free him and do everything possible to
assure his safety and well-being. It's no simple task in Israeli detention,
known for its lawless brutality.
- His daughter, Haneen, home on break from Cairo University,
described her brief ordeal with Israeli soldiers, saying:
- "They tried to intimidate me by exploiting my deep
agony over the idea of being denied my father again, but I firmly confronted
them and reminded them of the fate of all colonial powers on our land.
In response, their commander shouted that I was as 'obstinate' as my father."
- Expressing support for a comrade, Gerarda Ventura, Euromed
Platform of NGOs vice president, called Qatamish "one of the most
sensitive and intellectual people I have ever met," especially in
the struggle for "freedom, justice and peace."
- First arrested in 1969, he was detained a few months
and released, then rearrested in 1972 at which time he was imprisoned for
four years, undergoing harsh treatment like other political prisoners.
- Until 1992 he went underground to stay free until September
when he was again arrested and administratively detained for the next five
and half years uncharged, making him the longest ever held administrative
detainee to that time.
- During his ordeal, he was tortured and abused for weeks,
Israel calling him a "dangerous" national leader. He later documented
what went on in prison notes called "I Shall not Wear Your Tarboush."
- Finally on April 15, 1998, after a tireless international
campaign on his behalf, he was released but prohibited from traveling outside
Occupied Palestine. As a result, he devoted his efforts to study, writing
and lecturing, as well as founding the Munif Barghouti Research Center.
- Visiting Qatamish a day after his arrest, his Addameer-appointed
lawyer said he hadn't yet been interrogated, and was told he'd again be
administratively detained uncharged. A previous article discussed how Israel
abuses this practice, accessed through the following link:
- Those held are denied due process, may be held indefinitely,
aren't told why they're detained, can't dispute it, cross-examine witnesses,
or present contradictory evidence to refute them.
- Three Israeli laws authorize the practice:
- -- the Order Regarding Administrative Detention (the
Administrative Detention Order), part of military law governing the West
- -- the Emergency Powers (Detentions) Law for Israel;
- -- the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law (the 2002
Unlawful Combatants Law), like a similar one in America, a dubious Geneva-superceded
status international law expert Francis Boyle calls a:
- "quasi-category universe of legal nihilism where
human beings can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access
to attorneys and regular courts, tried in kangaroo courts, executed, tortured,
assassinated and subjected to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism."
- Moreover, Prolonged arbitrary detention is a serious
breach of international law. Article 9 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights states:
- 1. "Everyone has the right to liberty and security
of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.
No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance
with such procedures as are established by law."
- 2. "Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at
the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly
informed of any charges against him."
- 4. "Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest
or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order
that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention
and order his release if the detention is not lawful."
- Although some wiggle room around the law is permitted
"in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation,"
Israel uses it consistently, abusively, and in violation of Fourth Geneva's
Article 78 stating:
- "If the Occupying Power considers it necessary,
for imperative reasons of security, to take measures concerning protected
persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to
- "Decisions regarding such assigned residence or
internment shall be made according to a regular procedure to be prescribed
by the Occupying Power in accordance with the provisions of the present
Convention. This procedure shall include the right of appeal (decided on)
with the least possible delay. (If it's upheld), it shall be subject to
- Administrative detention should never substitute for
customary criminal proceedings. It should only be used to prevent someone
from performing a future lawless act, never to transfer protected persons
to the territory of the occupying power or to hold heroic activists uncharged.
- Nonetheless, throughout its history, Israel has systematically
and repeatedly flaunted international law with impunity, including by imprisoning
some of Palestine's most heroic figures like Qatamish.
- It's done to silence their influential voices, not their
redoubtable spirit that persists until Palestine is one day free of Israel's
pernicious, repressive, lawless occupation. For millions of Occupied, Israeli,
and diaspora Palestinians, it can't come a moment too soon.
- 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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