This post was written by Nation intern and freelance writer Andrea D’Cruz.
Mohammad Othman, the Palestinian Stop the Wall and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions activist, had his detention extended yesterday by an additional 13 days by an Israeli military court. He has so far been held in solitary containment for 37 days, with no charges or evidence brought against him.
Read this recent post for background on his story.
Othman is one of some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners, currently being held by Israel, including 800 who are incarcerated under administrative detention (indefinite imprisonment without charge) and 326 children.
“The case of Mohammad sheds light on an entire system of repression against Palestinian human rights defenders and the impossibility of the Israeli judicial system to grant justice to the Palestinian people,” said Jamal Juma’ of Stop the Wall. Juma described how a few month’s before Othman’s arrest, “Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint within the West Bank had taken him aside and threatened him with arrest. ‘We’re going to arrest you,’ one said, ‘but it’s difficult with you because all you do is talk.'”
Since Othman’s arrest on September 22 protests have been held worldwide, including one organized recently in New York by Adalah-NY. The group handed out hundreds of flyers, adorned with a comic by Ethan Heitner, entitled “Jailed for an Idea”. The black and white panels depict Othman’s story along with twenty-eight other anti-wall activists from the village of Bi’lin who have been arrested since June. You can download the flyer here to print and distribute, while a previous Act Now post suggests other ways to help–all of which are increasingly urgent.
On the other side of the wall, Ezra Nawi, the Israeli anti-occupation campaigner who so passionately wrote about his own arrest for The Nation earlier this year, was sentenced on October 21 to a month in prison, fined 750 NIS and made to compensate each of the policemen he allegedly attacked with 500 NIS each.
Nawi, a non-violent activist with the Arab-Jewish group Ta’ayush, was convicted after two police officers alleged he hit them while struggling against the demolition of a Palestinian house in the southern West Bank in 2007. As Nawi’s article suggests, his sentencing illuminates the discriminatory practices of the Israeli state and its attitude to those among its citizenry who go against the government to seek peace and justice. Check back at supportezra.net for ways to help.