Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Christian Peacemaker Team members denied entry to Israel

On Friday 25 September 2009, the Israeli authorities at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, denied entry to CPTer Seán O'Neill. They told O'Neill, a U.S. citizen, that Israel's Ministry of Interior had ordered the denial of entry. In response to enquiries from O'Neill's lawyer, the Israeli authorities stated that the ban was due to a court appearance by O'Neill and Joe Wyse (to whom the Israeli authorities denied entry earlier this month) in March 2009, despite the fact that an Israeli judge had ordered them released without charges.

On 8 March 2009, O'Neill and Wyse were videotaping Israeli settlers who were constructing a road on privately owned Palestinian land near Karmel settlement in the South Hebron Hills. When the Palestinian landowners and CPTers approached the work area, an Israeli settlement security guard began to shout and demand that they leave. The Palestinian landowners remained and requested that the CPTers videotape the work construction on their land. After the police officers arrived, the settlement security guard told them to detain the CPTers. The police did so and held them overnight at Kiryat Arba police station in Hebron. The following day, in a Jerusalem court, the police requested an extension of the CPTers' detention to allow more time for investigating the claim that the CPTers had obstructed a police officer, but an Israeli judge found no justification for their detention and ordered they be released without charges immediately.

Israeli police frequently, at the request of Israeli settlers, arrest Palestinian shepherds or internationals accompanying them. Palestinians arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are tried in Israeli military courts. A 2007 report, ‘Backyard Proceedings', published by the Israeli group Yesh Din, found that there were "severe shortcomings and failures in the implementation of due process rights in the military judicial system operating in [the OPT]." As of July 2009, Israel was holding almost 400 Palestinians in administrative detention-detention without charge or trial. At the same time, Israeli settlers frequently commit crimes of violence against Palestinians and internationals with impunity.