2019-12 Newsletter: Special Issue Human Rights and the Occupation | Machsomwatch
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2019-12 Newsletter: Special Issue Human Rights and the Occupation

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Wednesday, 18 December, 2019


Best Wishes to Our Friends and Supporters for the New Year!

We dedicate this issue of the MachsomWatch newsletter to the subject of human rights in Israel. December 10 is commemorated all over the world as Human Rights Day, the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the United Nations.


Samah Shihadi, Mother and Daughter, 2019                      photo: Elad Sarig


We encountered this magnificent charcoal drawing by 32 year old Palestinian artist Samah Shihadi at her recent Tel Aviv Museum of Art solo exhibition called Spellbound.  This mulberry tree cannot be contained in a vessel.  It's roots and branches and the generations it embraces, grandmother- daughter- granddaughter, have grown wide and strong, soaring in space and expressing the contradiction of its airborne and grounded qualities. In this work of art the tree planted by Shihadi’s grandmother “symbolizes the transience in the local Palestinian context.”
 read more about the artist...





What are Human Rights?

Everyone talks about Human Rights.  But what are they exactly?  What do they include and to whom do they apply? This short video asks passers-by these exact questions. The answers are elaborated and expanded. While the video does not specifically refer to the rights of people who live under Occupation, it does bring us back to the basics and reminds us with clarity what is included in the Declaration for Human Rights.  From here, the line is easily drawn to the reality of life in Israel and in the Occupied Territories.

David Kretzmer, an expert in international and constitutional law answers: Human rights are those rights that belong to all human beings, whatever their status, gender, color, religion, nationality, citizenship, or any other group reference. They are based on the concept that “all human beings are born free and are equal in dignity and rights.” These rights include civil and political rights and freedoms (such as the right to life, equality, personal freedom and freedom of religion), social and economic rights (such as the right to education and health services), and group rights (such as the right of a people to self-determination). Every regime must respect and guarantee these rights. 




As 2020 approaches, MachsomWatch asked four writers to present different perspectives on human rights in the State of Israel.
The four perspectives point to the continuing harsh erosion of human rights on both sides of the Green Line.
They call on us all to act.


Prof. David Kretzmer is an expert in international and constitutional law. He is professor emeritus of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and professor of law at Sapir College. He is a founding member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and of B'Tselem. He has been a member of a number of international human rights bodies, and was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee.
David Kretzmer, in his article, offers a clear analysis of international military occupation laws. He claims that in light of these laws, the conclusion from Israeli practices since 1967 in the areas beyond the Green Line is that this is not occupation but colonization and de-facto apartheid.
read  the article ...



Attorney Talia Sasson is a former senior staff member of the State Attorney’s office. In 2005 she wrote the report on the settlements in the occupied territories, known as the Sasson Report for Ariel Sharon’s Government.  She is the author of the 2015 book At the Edge of the Abyss: Is the Victory of the Settlements the End of Israeli Democracy? A past President of the New Israel Fund, she is currently the Chair of its International Council.

In her article Will Annexation of the Occupied West bank to Israel Change the Human Rights Situation of the Palestinians? Talia Sasson analyses the implications of Israel’s annexation of the occupied territories without extending full civil and political rights to the population in these areas. She points out the consequences of such a step for Israel’s international standing and for the inter-Jewish conflict.
read  the article ...



Odeh Bisharat is a novelist and an op-ed columnist for the Ha’aretz newspaper. He has published several books in Arabic. In 2009 he published the novel The Streets of Zatunia in Hebrew.  In 2018 he published a children’s book in Hebrew. His second Hebrew novel, Dunya, was published in November 2019 by Am Oved.

Odeh Bisharat in his article The Arab Population and the Continuing Occupation addresses some of the harsh practical and legal implications of Israeli colonialism since 1967 on the Arab citizens of Israel within the Green Line, citizens who were already subject to a continuous regime of discriminatory practices between 1948 and 1967.
read  the article ...



Attorney Avigdor Feldman has been appearing for 45 years in military courts in every region, including those that are long-forgotten in Palestinian towns. He appeared in the military appeals court in Ramallah, appealed to the Supreme Court against military courts’ decisions, against deportation, administrative detentions, and demolition of houses. “I spoke in the legalistic language that the legal process imposes on lawyers. I didn’t express the humiliation, helplessness, sorrow and loss of hope. Looking back, I didn’t contribute to ending the occupation, but only made it bearable, nice, and conversational. This is a conversation where only our side has the right to speak, while the other, the occupied, the side protected under the Geneva Convention, is mute”.

Avigdor Feldman describes in his article Military Courts in the Occupied Territories the paradoxical legal status of Israel’s system of military courts in its colony. He illustrates in detail how, by using arbitrariness disguised as juridical, the system crushes the Palestinians living in the colony in every aspect of their lives.     

read  the article ...




Apparently this is legal!     

By Eran Wolkowski, "Haaretz"




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