World must pressure Israel to end 'administrative detention' scandal

Khalid Amayreh , Wednesday 22 Feb 2012

Khadr Adnan's agonising ordeal, which lasted for 66 days and could have ended with his death, seems to have succeeded in drawing attention to Israel's use of arbitrary detention

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Palestinians hold posters during a demonstration in solidarity with hunger striker Khader Adnan on Tuesday (Photo: AP)

Hundreds of Palestinian activists and intellectuals have suffered the cruel Israeli practice known has administrative detention. They languish in detention camps not knowing the reason for their detention or the date of their release.Detainees include some of the most popular Palestinian leaders, instrumental to the life of their immediate communities, such as Naef Rajoub of Dura, Muhammed Jamal Netshe of Hebron, and Aziz Dweik, the elected Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

One doesn't have to be an expert on Israeli affairs to know that the apartheid state deploys this policy, illegal under international law, to punish and torment peaceful protesters who otherwise wouldn't never serve time behind bars in.To be true, the real reason behind the draconian practice of detaining innocent people indefinitely without charge or trial is to break their will to peacefully resist any foreign occupation, seeking to obliterate the national existence of their people whose only fault is their enduring longing for liberty.

Israel claims that the sword of administrative detention, which is brandished almost exclusively against non-Jews, is aimed at preventing "terror”. This is wholly untrue: Israel is probably the last country on earth with the moral right to invoke the issue of terror.It is rather callousness, virulence and criminality that force young Palestinians to go on dangerous, open-ended hunger strikes in order to gain basic human rights, rights taken for granted in any country worthy of the democratic label.

Now that Israel has blinked first by allowing Khadr Adnan to go home to his wife and two daughters, this is no time for euphoria. Palestinians must make every possible effort to mobilise the international community, including international human rights organisations, to pressure Israel to terminate the practice of administrative detention. Palestinians are indebted to Khadr Adnan for highlighting grievances associated with the virulent and inherently unjust practice.But the momentum must be maintained to enlist  sufficient international backing for forcing the apartheid state to treat our people with any semblance of decency or dignity.

Needless to say, justice as well as dignified, civilised treatment from Israel, the occupying power, are natural rights. The apartheid state may think that Jews are a chosen people and that non-Jews are "water carriers" and "wood hewers" in the  service of the Master Race. But Palestinians must do their part by adopting the most effective methods of forcing the enemy to recognise our humanity.The issue should be raised with all foreign officials, as well as other nations with which we have diplomatic representation.Just imagine how Jews in Israel and around the world would react if a Jew was held for 10 years in some country without charge or trial. Imagine how many American and European officials and statesmen would be enlisted to the cause.

Still, Israel does pay attention to its image and interests. And it is our duty to work on revealing the lie in that image as much as we can. For example, we must expose Israeli "democracy" for what it is, a pornographic lie that is meant to mislead the international community, especially the West.In all true democracies in the world, all people are innocent until proven guilty.  In Israel, however, a given Palestinian is not only guilty until proven innocent; he is actually guilty even if proven innocent.In highlighting our legitimate grievances, we can count on much sympathy, backing and understanding from various quarters especially in the social media, now an increasingly effective alternative to the corporate media which has vested interests and parochial agendas.

Indeed, while the mainstream media, much of which is controlled or owned by pro-Israelis, has failed to cover Adnan's story sufficiently, Twitter has been at the forefront of the campaign to pressure the Israeli government to release the Palestinian activist. As my friend and colleague James Wall pointed out in his latest article, "Khadr Adnan is a Requested Palestinian Gandhi; yet they saw him not". Twitter users have taken on the responsibility of filling the void created by the mainstream media – and that must go on.

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