Free Abdallah Abu Rahmah!

NOBEL LAUREATES, 6 September 2010

by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

‘The conviction of Bil’in resident, and one of the Leadership of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in West Bank,  Abdallah Abu Rahmah, by an military court, charged  for  allegedly causing incitement,  is part of the ongoing  wave of repression of Palestinian Human Rights activists,  by Israel.

Since June, 2009,  35 residents of the small village of Bil’in have been arrested on suspicions related to  anti-wall protest.   Also in several nearby villages, including  Nil’in, many villagers have been arrested by Israel soldiers for carrying  out peaceful  nonviolent resistance against the confiscation of their land, and for their human rights.

The recent increase of repression upon the leadership of the popular struggle, is an Israeli illegal  attempt to try to crush Palestinian grassroots organizing by heavy costs and long imprisonments.  This is now the Israeli army’s strategy of using illegal persecution in its attempt to try to destroy the Palestinian nonviolent popular peoples’ movement.

In a recent statement  Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Commissioner of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy , condemned Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s conviction by a military court  saying ‘The High Representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr. Abu Rahmah is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation wall in a nonviolent manner’.

It is to be welcomed that the EU has recognized  Israel’s political motivation of the indictment against a Human Rights defender,and whilst the EU High Commissioner’s statement has recognised the Palestinians ‘Right to Protest’ it remains to be seen what concrete steps the European Union, The Arab League,  and International Community will now take to defend Human Rights activists, and people, in Palestine.

Israeli soldiers have injured and killed many peaceful Palestinian protestors  in their  struggle for their rights, and have imprisoned over ll,000 Political prisoners, including women, children, sick people and elected politicians.   I myself was shot and injured  with a metal tipped bullet in April 2007 in Bil’in and tear gassed on several occasions in Bil’in and Nil’in  for peacefully protesting the continuing illegal annexation of Palestinian land, the building of this illegal wall, (which both ICJ and Israeli Supreme court have ruled illegal), and West Bank settlements.

I  know Abdullah Rahmah and many of villagers of Bil’in and Nil’in and have walked in peaceful human rights marches in both villages, all of which have ended up being violently attacked by Israeli soldiers.   I am  in admiration of Rahmah and the Palestinian villagers  commitment to nonviolence and justice  as they carried out their rightful resistance to Israeli annexation of their villages’ land, building of this illegal wall, and West bank settlements.

I call  upon Israel to release Abu Radmah and call upon  the  EU, Arab countries,and International Community, to demand  the release of Abu Radmah and human rights activists (who have been imprisoned by Israel using illegitimately the courts and legal system to repress the Palestinian people), and  put in place concrete actions to demand Israel uphold its International commitments to Human Rights and Law.  Israel must not be allowed to feel it can do what it likes and act with impunity.

While in Washington everyone talks about peace,  on the ground for Palestinians it is business as usual, with Israeli occupation, settlement building,  and  siege of Gaza.  Palestinian people cannot have hope, believe in peace talks, if they see no improvement in their own daily situation.

Israeli demands security, but surely Palestinians have a right also to human rights,equality, and security, if they live in Occupied Palestinian terr., or Israel.   Peace negotiations must be based on the acknowledgement that Palestinians have a right to nothing less that justice based on Human Rights and International Laws.   This will produce peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis which is what everyone wants to see come above in the Middle East.

3rd September, 2010

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Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her actions to end the violence in her native Northern Ireland. In the last 10 years, she has travelled to Israel and Palestine promoting human rights and nonviolent resistance.

Maguire is a founding member of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

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