(statement by the Palestinian NGO Network – PNGO)
Yesterday morning, May 6, 2010 at 6 am the Israeli General Security Service and Israeli police raided Ameer Makhoulâs home in Haifa and arrested him. Makhoul, serves as General Director of Ittijah â The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens in Israel.
The police conducted an extensive search of the house, confiscated personal items and was even reluctant to show the arrest warrant, which eventually stated that the arrest was for ‘security reasons’. Meanwhile, another police group raided the Ittijah offices and confiscated the computers and other important materials.
At the hearing of Ameer Makoulâs case today, the judge extended his detention for six days.
The arrest follows a two months bar on travel for Makhoul issued on April 22 by the Israeli Interior Minister. Both, the arrest warrant and prohibition order, are based on 1948 emergency regulations and are arbitrary political, not legal decisions issued by the courts. They lack the most basic standards of human rights and due process, particularly as they are based on ‘secret’ evidence.
PNGO believes that this is part of an escalated campaign to repress the work of Palestinian human rights defenders and to undermine civil society organizations and public action. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel and their organizations are currently the target of Israeli repressive measures which deny them their human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association as well as the right to protection from arbitrary arrest and blatantly disregard democratic principles.
We therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ameer Makhoul and call on:
International civil society and human rights organizations to:
â¢ Publicly condemn and campaign against the arrest of Ameer Makhoul and the repression of Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society.
â¢ Lobby their governments and diplomatic missions to address their Israeli counterparts and pressure Israel to release Ameer Makhoul and to stop the repression of Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society.
International governments, foreign ministries, diplomatic missions and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policies, Catherine Ashton to:
â¢ Seek meetings with their Israeli counterparts at ministerial levels and apply the necessary pressure on Israel to release Ameer Makhoul and to stop the repression of Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society.
â¢ Extend the EU monitoring system of the military court hearings of human rights defenders from the West Bank to the court hearings of Palestinian HRDs with Israeli citizenship, particularly in the case of Ameer Makhoul.
â¢ to condition all trade and cooperation agreements and membership in international organizations on Israeli respect for human rights and democratic principles and to halt any relevant negotiations as a measure to induce Israel to stop the repression of human rights defenders and Palestinian civil society.
The Palestinian NGOâS Network .