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Child Used as Human Shield after Beating


1) Child Used as Human Shield after Beating 2) Palestinian prisoner solidarity _TAKE ACTION 3) 'Picking their battles'_Aviv Lavie, Haaretz

1) Child Used as Human Shield after Beating By: RHR Date: April 16, 2004 Biddu, NW Jerusalem

Four arrestees, including a 12 year old boy, RHR Executive Director Rabbi Arik Ascherman, an additional Palestinian and ISM activist, were used as human shields in Bido yesterday, Thursday, April 15. After local Palestinians and Israeli activists saw a young boy being beaten by border police, the boy's mother sent a Palestinian man to try and help him and Rabbi Ascherman also approached the police. Both were arrested, along with a Swedish ISM activist.

The boy, crying, shaking from fear and eventually cold, was sat on the hood of a jeep and tied to the bars protecting the glass. The other three arrestees were bound and placed in front of a second jeep. After the arrests, local Palestinians began throwing stones, a number of them hitting the jeeps. The unit commander was Shahar Yitzhaki

Rabbi Ascherman repeatedly requested over the next few hours that they not be used as human shields, that the boy receive medical attention and that the officers identify themselves. He also asked to lend his coat to the child and to stand in front of the child to protect him from stones. All these requests were met with physical and verbal threats, orders to "shut up," and/or derision. The division commander, "Benny," also visited the site during these events. Rabbi Ascherman also directed his requests to him. Rabbi Ascherman was eventually told that the boy had been checked by a medic before Rabbi Ascherman was arrested.

Rabbi Ascherman was seized by his throat and head butted by Yitzhaki upon arrest. The arrestees were moved from the scene after several hours, but kept outside. The child was allowed to go home around 18:30. By this time, the adults were also shaking from cold and sharing Rabbi Ascherman's coat. They were released, but Yitzhaki "rearrested" them and took them to the Givat Zeev Police station. There, after continuing to be held outside, Rabbi Ascherman convinced the attending officers to allow them to sit inside. The Palestinian was taken to Ofer, while Ascherman and the ISM activist were conditionally released late that night.

At today's High Court session a final debate on the 9 petitions regarding the route of the separation barrier was set for next Wednesday, April 21st 2004 at 9:00 am.

For More Info:

Rabbi Arik Ascherman 02-5637731 or 050-607034 For photo of boy tied to an Israeli jeep, please see:

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As parents, husbands, wives, children and friends of the approximately 6000 Palestinian political prisoners sitting in Israeli jails attempt to send a message of solidarity to their loved ones and a plea to the world on Saturday, April 17, please hear and take a few minutes to take action on the below appeal.

2) Palestinian prisoners - TAKE ACTION Dear Friends,

As you are probably aware, April 17 is International Day in Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners. As part of marking this event, a network of solidarity organizations in Toronto, Canada, is organizing an action outside the Red Cross offices in Toronto. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is responsible for visiting Palestinian prisoners and following up their conditions inside Israeli prisons.

This action is being organized in conjunction with the Higher Council for the Follow-up of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainee Affairs, a national Palestinian body that brings together all Palestinian political factions as well as Palestinian NGOs, prisoner support groups and families of prisoners. Demonstrations and sit-ins will occur throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip on April 17, outside the office of the ICRC and within Palestinian cities.

The situation facing the 6000 Palestini an political prisoners is very grave, almost all face some form of torture and abuse. There is a serious lack of clothes and other personal items. Family and lawyer visits are heavily restricted. Palestinian organizations report that the ICRC has not adequately fulfilled their responsibilities towards Palestinian prisoners.

We urge you to join us in highlighting this issue on this very important day. Specifically:

1) We ask your organization to endorse the letter below to the President of the ICRC. The letter will be delivered by Palestinian organizations to the ICRC offices in Palestine, as well as offices of the Red Cross around the world on April 17.

2) We ask that you organize a picket, demonstration and leafleting outside the Red Cross offices in your city. It is important that we begin to raise awareness about this issue amongst the wider public as well as Palestinian solidarity activists. As actions< BR>will be occurring within Palestine on this day, even actions involving a small group of people will help to show our solidarity.

Please inform us of your endorsement of the following letter and any action you may be planning by emailing sumoud@tao.ca We can also send you leaflets and fact-sheets through this email address.

In solidarity

Al-Awda(Right of Return Coalition Toronto), Arab Student Collective - University of Toronto, International Solidarity Movement, Sumoud (Political Prisoners Solidarity Group), Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - York University, Up Against the Wall, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty(OCAP)

------------------------

Dear Mr. Kellenberger,

We address this letter to you as President of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoner Day, April 17, 2004.

As Palestinian and international solidarity organizations, we are extremely concerned by the situation of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons and detention centers. Approximately 6000 Palestinians are currently being held as political prisoners by Israel, including around 350 Palestinian children and 81 Palestinian women. Almost all of these prisoners face some form of torture or mistreatment during their arrest and detention. Their conditions of detention are extremely poor, and in some cases, life-threatening. The majority of these detainees are being held in violation of the IV Geneva Convention in prisons outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As the guardians of international humanitarian law, the ICRC is responsible ".to take cognizance of any complaints based on alleged breaches of that law" (Article 5.2c of the Statutes of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement). In the case of Palestinian prisoners however, this responsibility has quite clearly not been fulfilled. It appears to us that the ICRC has preferred to quietly accept Israel's considerable and increasing violations of the rights of Palestinian prisoners without taking any meaningful action.

Indeed, the worsening situation of Palestinian prisoners and detainees has been widely documented by many of the Palestinian human rights organizations listed below as well as international and UN bodies.

Israel continues to practice torture and other forms of mistreatment against Palestinian detainees including severe beatings, being tied in painful and contorted positions for long periods of time, psychological abuse, long periods of solitary confinement, and pressure to collaborate with the occupying forces. These abuses are not restricted to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip; two Palestinians with Israeli citizenship recently launched a hunger strike followi ng 54 days of detention in inhuman conditions in an Israeli detention center.

We are particularly concerned with reports from Facility 1391, a secret prison reportedly in the North of Israel where prisoners report being raped and sodomized by interrogators.

Inside Israeli prisons, Palestinian prisoners frequently report attacks by prison guards including the firing of tear gas inside prisoner's cells, beatings, denial of food and medical treatment and long periods of solitary confinement. Women prisoners report that they have been stripped naked by prison guards and shackled spread-eagled to prison beds in solitary confinement.

A large number of Palestinian prisoners are in urgent need of medical treatment and yet receive little more than basic pain relievers. Prisoners report that provision of medical treatment is often used as another form of coercion against them by the prison authorities.

We are particularly concerned about the situation of Palestinian child prisoners. As we are sure you are aware, in 2002 the UN Committee On the Rights of the Child has publicly raised the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners by Israel.

Of particular concern is Israel's continual treatment of Palestinian children 16 years and over as adults in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Furthermore, there is no child-specific treatment for Palestinian children.

Despite these grave violations of prisoner rights, the ICRC mission in the area only carries out visits to central Palestinian prisons every six months. The ICRC has failed to adequately address our very real concerns for Palestinian prisoners during these visits, including the provision of urgently needed clothes, shoes and other personal needs for prisoners.

Furthermore, the ICRC has not adequately followed the cases of the 19 Palestinians who have been deported from the West Bank to Gaza Strip. As "persons deprived of their liberty", they are entitled to accommodation,

work, regular visits and contact with family and friends.

While we understand that Israel places very real structural obstacles in front of the work of the ICRC, this situation must be urgently addressed. We therefore call on you, in your position as President of the ICRC, to immediately take steps to fulfill the following measures:

*To take effective and public action to end the practice of Israel's incarceration of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in areas outside of the occupied territories.

*To take effective and public action against Israel's widespread use of torture against Palestinian detainees.

*To take effective and public action against the practice of Israel's deportation of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank to the Gaz a Strip.

*To fulfill the ICRC's mandate in regards to above-mentioned deportees, as persons deprived of their liberty. This includes visits and following up the situation of these people in regards to accommodation, work and the right to see families, friends and colleagues.

*To immediately demand that sick and injured prisoners are provided with adequate and appropriate medical treatment.

*To take effective and public action to pressure Israel to open the secret prison Facility 1391 to representatives of the ICRC and Palestinian lawyers.

*To urgently increase the frequency of visits by the ICRC to Israeli prisons.

*To insist that visits by ICRC staff to Israeli prisons also include the provision of urgently needed items such as clothes, underwear, shoes, sanitary products and educational materials.

*To pressure Israel to allow unobstructed family visits by Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to their relatives in Israeli jails. Most importantly, these visits should take place unobstructed by glass or other barriers.

*To increase the visibility of the work of the ICRC to the Palestinian public, in particular the actions you carry out around the above measures. This should be done in much closer coordination with Palestinian human rights organizations.

Signed

The Higher Council for the Follow-up of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainee Affairs (Palestine) Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association (Palestine) Defence for Children International-Palestine Section(Palestine) Sumoud - Political Prisoner Solidarity Group (Canada) Arab Students Collective - University of Toronto Al Awda - Right of Return Coalition (Toronto) International Solidarity Movement (Toronto) Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (Canada) Coalition Against War and Racism (Canada) CUPE 3903 Internationa l Solidarity Working Group (Canada) Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - York University (Canada) Up Against the Wall (Canada)

==================

3) 'Picking their battles' April 17, 2004 By: Aviv Lavie Haaretz It's called 'the separation fence intifada' - an unarmed civil protest - but hundreds of Palestinians are getting hurt, and so are their Israeli supporters. It's become an almost daily routine. Every morning the residents of villages located on the planned route of the separation fence - from Elkana in Samaria to the outskirts of Jerusalem - wake up to the harsh metallic noise of the bulldozers. In the early morning hours the heavy machinery rumbles into the area, surrounded by security guards and army and Border Police troops. The villagers go out to their land in full force: men and women, young and old alike. They position themselves opposite the soldiers, wave flags, sing and try to get to the giant machines or sit down on the ground in an attempt to block them. And then what? Only God knows. To read the full article: http://www.palsolidarity.org/inthenews/ITN_17Apr04_18_03_51JerusalemAvivLavie,Haaretz.htm or

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/415862.html

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT http://www.palsolidarity.org

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