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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/14/10

Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Activists

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Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Activists - by Stephen Lendman


Ameer Makhoul is an Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO, engaged in "strengthen(ing) and empower(ing) the Palestinian people within the Green Line (1.5 million Israeli citizens by) promoting the development of Palestinian civil society and advocating for political change, economic and social development."


He's also chair of the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Freedom within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel.


On May 10, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury, Amos Harel and Asshel Pfeffer headlined, "Two Israeli Arabs arrested on suspicion of spying, contact with Hezbollah," saying:


"Reports of the arrests circulated widely on unofficial websites and blogs, but government censors had banned the Israeli press from reporting them until the gag order was lifted late Sunday night," May 9.


Makhoul's brother, Assam, a former Hadash MK, "said the family had no details of the investigation but they suspected authorities had singled out the activist because of his campaigns against the government's 'racist and discriminatory policies' against Israeli Arabs."


He's well known as a regular participant in conferences on the topic and for actively criticizing government policies.


Hussein Abu Hasin, a lawyer familiar with these type cases, told Haaretz that Israeli espionage charges are so vague and wide-ranging that incidental Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything might be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with someone in an "enemy state." Hasin called these laws "draconian," and in the case of Makhoul:


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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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