Monday, March 26, 2012

Israel exploits Toulouse murders to justify no-charge jailing of hunger striker Hana al-Shalabi

What does the spokesman of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu do when his propaganda efforts fail to conceal Israel’s abuses of Palestinians? He uses the blood of Jewish children murdered in the French city of Toulouse last week to try to blot them out. This is low, even for Israeli official propaganda.

Since 16 February – when Israeli occupation forces violently seized her from her home in the West Bank village of Burqin – Hana al-Shalabi has been on hunger strike because she has no other way to resist the injustice Israel is inflicting on her and her family.

Now into her 38th day without food, and after severe deterioration in her health, doctors warn that she is at risk of “immediate death.”

Yet Hana al-Shalabi, who had already spent more than two years in Israeli jails without charge or trial, has still not been charged with any crime. During her current and previous detention she has faced severe abuse at the hands of Israeli authorities.

No wonder Amnesty Interational issued a statement yesterday reminding us that:

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to release Hana Shalabi and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards.

Amnesty noted that Hana is one of “more than 300 Palestinians, including more than 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, [who] are currently being held in administrative detention.”

None of them have been charged with any crime – even under Israel’s military kangaroo court system.

Israeli official uses Toulouse murders to justify detention, mistreatment of Hana al-Shalabi

But today, Ofir Gendelman, one of Netanyahu’s official spokesmen tweeted, “#HanaShalabi is in custody because she planned to murder Jews, just like the murderer in #Toulouse. People who defend her:is this your hero?”

#HanaShalabi is in custody because she planned to murder Jews, just like the murderer in #Toulouse. People who defend her:is this your hero?
Mar 24 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Just like that. Hana has not been charged with a crime, has no opportunity to defend herself, is near death, and yet Israel’s official propagandists accuse her of planning “murder” and compare her to Mohamed Merah the Frenchman who killed three paratroopers, and three children and an adult.

It is a sign that the global solidarity with Hana al-Shalabi and other political prisoners is making Israel desperate. Gendelman’s use of Merah’s crimes to justify Israel’s abuses of Hana al-Shalabi’s rights is exploitive, opportunistic and simply depraved.

Hiding behind children

Merah had reportedly said that his murder of the Jewish children in Toulouse was to avenge Israel’s frequent killings of Palestinian children. No decent person could ever accept this.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, put it best when he called the killings a “vile crime” and said “The Palestinian people do not need those who shoot children to protect them. Enough!”

Let us now hope that no one believes Gendelman’s claim that Israel’s massive and ruthless abuses of Palestinian rights are being carried out in the name of completely innocent Jewish children around the world.

If Israel had any evidence against Hana al-Shalabi why did it not charge her with a crime during the two years it held her from September 2009 to October 2011 (when she was released as part of the prisoner swap Israel negotiated with Hamas)? Why hasn’t it charged her now?

That’s the question that all of Gendelman’s inflammatory and cynical propaganda cannot hide.

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