Monday, June 21, 2010

"What solidarity means": a letter from Gilboa Prison

Ameer Makhoul, The Electronic Intifada, 21 June 2010

"Ameer Makhoul is a human rights defender, the director of the Arab nongovernmental organization network Ittijah, a leading voice of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and a Palestinian citizen of Israel. He has been in Israeli detention since he was arrested from his family home in Haifa in the early morning hours of 6 May. Initially his arrest could not be reported under an Israeli gag order, and he was not allowed to see his lawyers for almost two weeks. Eventually charged with "espionage," local and international human rights organizations have condemned Israel's actions against him as politically-motivated persecution intended to crack down on organizing by Palestinian citizens within Israel and international solidarity. On the very day Makhoul was arrested, The Electronic Intifada published an article it had received from him days earlier, titled, "Israel's repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle." He wrote the following letter from Israeli detention on 30 May 2010:

After being allowed to get a pen and a piece of paper, which has been banned for the last three weeks, and after being allowed to get out of my total isolation, it's a moment to write a short letter from my jail (Gilboa).

It's a great opportunity for me to express my sincere thanks, greetings and appreciation to all the colleagues, friends and solidarity groups, organizations and persons, internationals, Arabs in the region, Israelis and Palestinians in the homeland and in the Diaspora. A very special salute to all those who visited my family and supported them after the trauma they passed on 6 May and since that late night.

It's a moment to express my great appreciation to all the international and local human rights organizations which raised their voices loudly. Also to Ittijah's partner organizations all around the world which supported my/our struggle for justice and for a fair trial in order to get to prove my innocence.

Physically I am still suffering very much but morally it's a great feeling to know what solidarity means......."

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