Media Watch February 1, 2021
Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we are curating a weekly timeline/update on the impact of the virus on Israel/Palestine and all related submissions to Media Watch will be folded into that report. Please follow at https://www.jvphealth.com/covid-19. Health and human rights news unrelated to the pandemic is included here. If you want to be involved in this JVP Health Advisory Council Media Watch project, please contact me at email@example.com.
MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS HERO AND VIOLATION
Human Rights Heroes of the Month: the 60 Israeli high school students refusing their compulsory enlistment in the Israeli military
Israeli Forces prepare to demolish Palestinian houses near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on December 29, 2020. (photo: Mosab Shawer/APA Images)
On January 5, a group of 60 Israeli high school students published a letter in which they refused their compulsory enlistment in the Israeli military to protest "the Zionist policy of brutal violence towards and expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and lands began in 1948 and has not stopped since." They add "The occupation is also poisoning Israeli society–it is violent, militaristic, oppressive, and chauvinistic. It is our duty to oppose this destructive reality by uniting our struggles and refusing to serve these violent systems–chief among them the military. Our refusal to enlist ...is an act of taking responsibility over our actions and their repercussions....We are ordered to put on the bloodstained military uniform and preserve the legacy of the Nakba and of occupation. Israeli society has been built upon these rotten roots, and it is apparent in all facets of life: in the racism, the hateful political discourse, the police brutality, and more." They may face imprisonment for up to two years for their act of resistance.
Human Rights Violation of the Month: Israeli court convicts Palestinian peace activist Issa Amro
An Israeli military court convicted Issa Amro, a co-founder of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements (YAS) group, on January 6, charging him with protesting without a permit, “obstructing” an Israeli soldier, and assaulting an Israeli settler. YAS organizes nonviolent activities, demonstrations, and protests in the Old City of Hebron, where a few hundred ultra-nationalist settlers and thousands of Israeli soldiers control every aspect of life. Amnesty International has described the case against Amro as “politically motivated” and “baseless,” expressing concerns that convicting Amro could pave the way for further suppression of Palestinian activists and human rights defenders. In a statement following the hearing, Amro states “today Israel announced that Palestinians are not allowed to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation without a permit from the occupier...This conviction is the military system against the Palestinian nonviolent resistance. It aims to suppress my voice and end all activism against the Israeli occupation.” He faces significant prison time, though his legal team plans to file an appeal.
Please note retraction:
On January 1, 2021 JVP Health Advisory Council published its monthly feature listing heroes and villains in the ongoing movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We listed Pakistan as the hero for refusing to recognize Israel until there was resolution with Palestine. This was a controversial decision. This was an impressive statement on the part of Pakistan but after publishing this and reconsidering with the help of many clear thinkers on this issue we have decided to withdraw this recognition from Pakistan due to Pakistan’s dismal human rights record in many areas, including:
· Intensified crackdown on the right to freedom of expression
· Enforced disappearances remain pervasive, with no one held accountable for them
· The government failed to uphold its commitments to legislate against torture and enforced disappearances
· Violence against women and girls remained widespread. Parliament blocked attempts to restrict child marriage
· Religious minorities continued to be prosecuted under blasphemy laws and attacked by non-state actors
· The fight for climate justice took to the streets, with popular mobilizations in major cities calling on the government to show leadership both at home and abroad for one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries. Air pollution reached hazardous levels in major cities, posing risks to people’s rights to health, life and, in the case of children, education
This retraction was informed in part by information provided by Glen Hauer, longtime JVP member, and we thank him for that.