11 October, 2010 — The Only Democracy?
On May 8th, Jewish Peace News posted news of the arrest or, more precisely, abduction, of human rights defender Ameer Makhoul, “Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations – … in the dead of night, while he and his family slept in their home in Haifa.” The arrest of this “Israeli citizen [and] … high-profile activist … [was] placed under a gag order … Israeli reporters, news outlets and even blogs” were forbidden from writing about it. On June 20th, JPN followed up with a letter from Makhoul, composed after he “had spent 3 weeks in prison without access to even pen and paper, not to speak of lawyers, family visits, due process, humane and legal conditions.”
Makhoul has been in prison for five months now. Amnesty International has described his imprisonment as: “pure harassment designed to hinder his human rights work.” His trial is viewed by many as “a message to Palestinian citizens of Israel … formulated by extreme right wing parties in the current Israeli government” that have targeted Makhoul as “a legal, legitimate, and effective voice of a politically disadvantaged group – Israel’s Palestinian Arab citizens.” This, I might add, is the same government that is now poised to demand that applicants for citizenship (predominantly Palestinian ones) take an oath of loyalty to the “Jewish and democratic” state.
Click here for further background and details on Makhoul’s abduction, detention incommunicado, and on what the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul describes as his “tortuous interrogation” – deprived of sleep and crucial medical care.