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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » East Jerusalem update: 1 Palestinian organizer drops his appeal, another arrested

East Jerusalem update: 1 Palestinian organizer drops his appeal, another arrested

By Jesse Bacon

Adnan Gheith, whose plight we mentioned earlier, dropped his appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court and will be expelled for four months from East Jerusalem. Ha’aretz reporter Mairav Zonszein linked to that of Jonathan Pollak refusing to plead for mercy in his own case. While it is a travesty that he will have to leave, I am happy he is able to do it on his terms, which should make us all reflect on who is truly free.

The decision, according to his lawyer, stems from the fact that Adnan was convinced he would lose the appeal, among other things, because Israel’s General Security Service was expected to submit classified documents that he would not be able to view and therefore not be able to refute – effectively barring him from due process in making a case in his defense. Furthermore, he argued, the legal proceedings would constitute recognition of the court’s authority and would set a legal precedent for more Palestinians like him to be expelled on the same grounds.  Rumors have been going around that the [Israeli Security] has composed a list of a few hundred Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem to be targeted for similar expulsion orders.

The rationale behind the decision can be understood as protest of Israel’s government and its related authorities, including the Supreme Court, which all take part in the continued occupation of the Palestinian population.  The decision also reflects a long-term approach that sees beyond this specific case and seeks to define the terms by which resistance to the occupation should be conducted. This is similar to Jonathan Pollack’s refusal to accept the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court offer of community service in exchange for a prison sentence, citing that he would not, out of principal, cooperate with the court’s ruling.

Meanwhile, Israel arrested another Silwan organizer Jawad Siyam, was arrested for the crime of organizing resistance to theft of land, this time the director of the Silwan Community Center while he was teaching classes.

The Jerusalem police raided this afternoon the Palestinian community center of Wadi Hilweh, in Silwan (MADA) and arrested the director, Mr. Jawad Siyam, during the children’s classes and in front of their eyes. There are many question marks regarding the legality of the arrest and the real reason of it. This action by the police is coming only few days before another political activist in Silwan, Adnan Ghaith is about to be expelled from Jerusalem for 4 months following the security authorities order. In the case of Jawad Siyam, he was investigated about his political activity and not about the alleged assault accusations.

Siyam (on left) at the community center during his arrest.

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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