Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Next trial session

Next trial session for Ameer Makhoul scheduled for Thursday, October 28th

No positive evidence supporting accusations against Ameer Makhoul

On May 8th, Jewish Peace News posted news of the arrest or, more precisely, abduction, of human rights defender Ameer Makhoul, “Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations – … in the dead of night, while he and his family slept in their home in Haifa.” The arrest of this “Israeli citizen [and] … high-profile activist … [was] placed under a gag order … Israeli reporters, news outlets and even blogs” were forbidden from writing about it. On June 20th, JPN followed up with a letter from Makhoul, composed after he “had spent 3 weeks in prison without access to even pen and paper, not to speak of lawyers, family visits, due process, humane and legal conditions.”

You can read the rest of the article on Israel: The Only Democracy in the Middle East? clicking here

Monday, October 4, 2010


A Call for Support

for more info:

Recent Developments
The campaign to free Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and political and human rights activist falsely accused of espionage, has achieved significant advances. Makhoul’s attorneys challenged the legality of the circumstances of his arrest and undermined the prosecution’s core allegations against him on September 16th in the Haifa District Court. State Prosecutors admitted that no evidence of espionage had been found in any of the computers and cellular phones seized from Makhoul’s home and office. Nor was any evidence of espionage found, they admitted, in the transcripts of thirty thousand wiretapped telephone conversations.

Makhoul’s lawyers further secured a ruling from the Nazareth District Court, September 14th, upholding Makhoul’s right to direct and confidential access to counsel. Makhoul’s right to counsel as a citizen of Israel had been routinely violated by prison authorities, who had been officially and conspicuously wire-tapping his conversations, conducted across glass barriers via telephone, with his lawyers.

Sixteen members of Israel Security Agency commonly known in English as the Shin Bet abducted Mr. Makhoul from his home at 3:00 am on May 6th, 2010. They searched his home and office, seizing personal items belonging to Makhoul and his family, as well as office equipment, documents and databases. Makhoul was detained incommunicado. A sweeping “gag order” was placed on the case forbidding publication by Israeli media of any information relating to the interrogation and the arrest. For twelve days he was subjected to torturous interrogation techniques including excessively prolonged sleep deprivation—a technique Makhoul’s interrogators have openly stated they used. When Makhoul complained of being in excruciating pain, the Shin Bet interrogators cuffed his legs to a chair with shortened legs and threatened that he would be permanently crippled from the interrogation.

Three weeks after his detention, Makhoul was charged with espionage, assistance to the enemy in a time of war, contact with a foreign agent, and other trumped up security charges. When he finally appeared in open court, Makhoul categorically denied the relevance of all charges against him.

On June 14th, State Prosecutors announced their possessing of 'Secret Evidence' against Makhoul. That evidence, they stated, would not be disclosed to his legal defense team for security reasons. Meanwhile, Makhoul’s repeated requests for a medical exam and blood test by an independent doctor from the Association of Physicians for Human Rights were continually postponed. Makhoul was unable to discuss these matters with his lawyers without having his conversations wiretapped.

Public Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul Established
The Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul was established in a public meeting held at the headquarters of the Galilee Society for Health Research and Services in Shafa Amr on September 8th. Participating in the meeting were 47 representatives of grassroots networks and professional associations, as well as concerned Jewish and Arab public figures. At this meeting, the Committee and those it represents assumed collective responsibility for the defense of Ameer Makhoul. It took such a step for the following reasons.

Ameer Makhoul was not arrested as an individual. He was not arrested due to any serious contention that he conducted illegal activities--let alone espionage. Makhoul was arrested to send a message to Palestinian citizens of Israel. That message was formulated by extreme right wing parties in the current Israeli government. They are targeting Makhoul because he is a legal, legitimate, and effective voice of a politically disadvantaged group –Israel’s Palestinian Arab citizens.

Makhoul has been a voice of this disadvantaged group of Israeli citizens in numerous public meetings around the world. He is internationally recognized as a human rights defender and as a member of international coalitions and networks of international and regional organizations. In his capacities as Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms in Israel and as General Director of Ittijah --a network of Arab NGOs in Israel with consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council —Makhoul regularly encounters and talks to citizens of foreign countries—including Arab countries. Simply talking to another Arab does not constitute espionage in the legal framework of Israel or any other country. But contacting an Arab colleague seems to be the core of the espionage charges against Makhoul.

In 2009, the Shin Bet promised Ameer Makhoul that they would “tailor a file for this disappearance and prolonged separation from his family” if he would not tone down his political and human rights activism. They were incensed by his legal, outspoken statements against Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza and his repeated reference to Israel’s use of phosphorus bombs against civilian populations in Gaza --including a majority of children. Spurious charges of espionage, the use of illegal interrogation techniques, and fabricated claims of evidence that evaporate in the open air seem to fulfill that threat to disappear Makhoul. Amnesty International has called his arrest and continued detention “pure harassment designed to hinder his human rights work.”

The Tasks at Hand for All of Us
The Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul faces two urgent tasks. But first, we want to note what has already been achieved—despite all of the obstacles. A gag order against discussion of Makhoul’s case crumbled – thanks to appeals by the defense, community protest and solidarity and Israeli and foreign bloggers who ignored the order and opened the way to public pressure. The legal team has won important victories. Illegal practices of prison authorities that violated citizens’ right to counsel have been waylaid.

The obstacle presented by state prosecutors’ invocation of “secret evidence” to silence activists remains to be challenged and ultimately undermined. The incrimination of talking to foreigners must be challenged as well. Already, it has become a tiny bit harder, we hope, for Israel to lock up intellectuals and activists under vague charges of “contact with a foreign agent” in the global village of the internet era.

Now, we have urgent and specific tasks at hand. The Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul is working to mobilize legal and medical international observers for the trial of Ameer Makhoul and to raise funds to cover lawyer fees and related expenses for Makhoul’s defense. We have launched local publicity and fundraising campaigns to achieve those goals. We need your help to make our efforts even more effective.

We reach out to the friends of Ameer and supporters of his work on behalf of Palestinian citizens of Israel and human rights victims everywhere. At this critical moment, we ask for your direct involvement in the campaign for his freedom. Ameer’s trial is scheduled to proceed Tuesday October 5th. The time is now for you to get involved.

All interested individuals and groups are invited to contact the Chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul: Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, Phone- 972-(0)522-414 126.,
Checks can be made out to The Committee for Defense of Ameer Makhoul

Account details for direct bank transfers are as follows:

Bank: Arab Israel Bank- ltd.
Bank no.: 34.
Branch no.: 001 Haifa.
Beneficiary Name: The Committee for Defense of Ameer Makhoul- Haifa.
Account Humber IBAN= IL 890340010000000818780 (8187/80)
Swift Code: Lumiilittlv- 794 Branch

Online Donations through Pay pal can be made at:

"Ameer Makhoul is a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. His arrest and continued detention smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work. If this is the case, we would regard him as a prisoner of conscience call for his immediate and unconditional release." Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

see relevant material:!/group.php?gid=119694878050988&ref=ts!/group.php?gid=115095168526586&ref=ts

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Makhoul: Arab's every move seen as security offense

At start of Hezbollah spy case, defendant Ameer Makhoul says, 'Everything an Arab does in this country considered security offense by Shin Bet.' He says political figures' bones broken, like Sheikh Raed Salah and MK Hanin Zoabi

Ameer Makhoul, from Haifa, accused of espionage and aiding the enemy in a time of war, said Sunday at the start of his trial in Haifa District Court that there is a trend in Israel of "breaking the bones of Arab political figures."

Makhoul and his legal team have yet to respond to the indictment.

You can read the rest of the article on clicking here

"Letter from Gilboa Jail" by Ameer Makhoul

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 May 6 and since that late night.

You can read the rest of the letter clicking here

Solidarity evening for Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said

Al Medan Theater, Haifa
June 16th, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Press Statement by the Family of Ameer Makhoul: "We Accuse!"

Today is the 21st day since the arrest of Ameer Makhoul at his home in Haifa, Israel, under the cover of darkness, by the International Crimes Investigation Unit and General Security Service (GSS or Shabak) officers. The arrest was conducted in a brutal and terrifying manner. Our house was raided, its contents ransacked, and various pieces of equipment and objects of special value to us were confiscated. Violations of our fundamental rights to human dignity and privacy were committed, and physical, verbal and psychological violence were employed against us and in front of our two daughters. On this day we, Ameer’s family, announce that we are extremely worried about what is happening to him and about the conditions of his detention.

You can read the rest of the statement clicking here

Letter of Janan Abdu (wife of Ameer Makhoul)

I live in a state that refers to itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, yet has seized my husband, Ameer Makhoul, and refused to allow him to see his lawyers for 12 days. During that time, Ameer was subjected to unlawful methods of interrogation including sleep deprivation and stress positions. Israeli officials claim that he is a spy and had contact with a foreign agent; no evidence has yet been revealed to us. Arresting agents, milling through our house at 3 in the morning and waking our daughters, answered my questions as to why they were arresting him with a threat of violence. 'You want violence? We can have violence. Be quiet."

One of the world’s foremost human rights organizations, Amnesty International, is raising significant concerns about Ameer’s case. "Ameer Makhoul is a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel," said a statement by Amnesty International’s headquarters in London. "His arrest and continued detention smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work. If this is the case, we would regard him as a prisoner of conscience [and] call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

Israel is cracking up. It is becoming untethered from reality when it arrests men like my husband, who leads Ittijah, which serves as the umbrella organization for Palestinian NGOs in Israel, as well as the Arab Follow-up Committee for the Defense of Civil Liberties. Unable to defeat other political viewpoints in the international arena, it suppresses them. Political dissent, commonplace in democracies the world over, is increasingly criminalized here. Last month, a bill was introduced by 19 MKs from different parties in the Knesset that could shut down any organization that investigates and mounts legal challenges against war crimes by the Israeli military. Now, Sunday, Israeli officials absurdly prohibited Professor Noam Chomsky from entering the occupied West Bank. According to Chomsky, the last country to bar him was Czechoslovakia right after the Soviet invasion of 1968. Pleasant Stalinist/Brezhnevian company Israel is now keeping; and company that should be a wake-up call to a world that has too often slumbered through Israel’s repression of us.

The current regressive campaign has its roots in a comment three years ago by the head of Israel’s General Security Services (GSS). He claimed that Palestinian citizens’ organizational efforts for equality constituted a “strategic threat,” even if pursued by lawful means. That’s not how democracy works. We may be a minority of 20 percent, but our rights to organize and insist on full equality and civil rights ought to be sacrosanct and not under threat from the GSS.
The Shin Bet’s action against my husband and Dr. Omar Said – another prominent political activist - unmasks the repressive conditions under which Palestinian citizens of the state labor. According to the human rights organization Adalah, there are more than 35 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens.

The peculiar thing is that for all the power of the state arrayed against us, I am not afraid. The principle that I am the equal of Jewish citizens and all other citizens is a powerful motivating principle. The fear, I believe, is on the other side. Many of Israel’s Jewish leaders are realizing that they are losing the support of the international community. Rather than rationally addressing the concerns of the international community regarding occupation in the Palestinian territories and repression of minority citizens, hard-right conservative leaders are lashing out in the hope that we can be silenced and that the world will avert its eyes as it did in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or forced to flee.

Israel’s Likud leadership hopes for a “peace deal” that would relegate Palestinians to disconnected enclaves throughout the West Bank while its foreign minister is on record as hoping to transfer thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Prior to my husband’s arrest, the Israeli Minister of Interior issued a two-month ban on Ameer’s travel outside the country, a measure that has been frequently employed against Palestinian political activists. For all the efforts to separate us from friends, colleagues, and relatives in the Palestinian territories and diaspora, we are determined to remain steadfast because we are rightfully living in our own land. The world is a different place from the one of 60 years ago when we were intimidated into silence by the repressive Israeli governments attempting to make us strangers in our own land under the strict military regime which lasted until 1966. This month, even with major Western news organizations obediently heeding Israel’s military censor and not reporting on my husband’s arrest until the censor gave the go ahead, we are able to express our concerns through the internet.

The Arab world is not our enemy. Palestinians may be imprisoned in Gaza by the Israeli siege, but we will resist the current effort to shackle the minds of the Palestinian minority in Israel. For decades we were separated from our professional Arab colleagues in the region. We will not easily allow a return to those grim days under the current repressive government.

Janan Abdu is a social worker, feminist activist and researcher with Mada al-Carmel, Haifa-based Arab Center fro Applied Social Research.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No to Israel's Policies of Intimidation and Terrorization

Condemning the political arrests of human rights activists Ameer Makhoul, and Omar Said

A statement by Palestinian feminist and women organizations

List of organizations:

Al-Bir -Cultivating Culture and Community in Wadi 'Ara, al-Fanar, Al-Tufula Center The Nazareth Nurseries Institute, al-Zahraa Women, Assiwar- The Arab Women Movement to Support Victims of Sexual Assaults, Aswat- Palestinian Gay Women, Coalition of Women for Peace, Community of Learning Women, Kayan – Feminist Organization, Gender Studies Program - Mada al-Carmel, Hope- Women organization for charity, Muntada- Arab Forum For Sexuality and Education and Health, MA`AN – Negev Women`s Forum, Princess of the dessert, Sidreh, The Working Group for Equality in Personal Status Issus, Women Against Violence, Women and Horizons, Women and Their Bodies, Yasmin al-Nagab, AWC - Arab Women in the Center, Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP).

As Palestinians living inside Israel commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba; Israel continues its political persecutions of Palestinian leaders, recently arresting two veteran activists: Dr. Omar Said, a political activist and Mr. Ameer Makhoul- director of Ittijah and chairman of the Popular Committee for the Defense of the Political Freedoms.

The arrests were conducted in fierce violation of basic human and civil rights and mark an alarming escalation in Israel's political persecutions to anyone who defies its institutionalized policies of discrimination. Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said join a long list of political persecutions routinely practiced by Israel's General Security Service 'Shabak', including denying professor Noam Chomsky, a Jewish political activist, access to enter Israel. Clearly, Israel's militarized practices are severely violating international declarations of human rights, and are publicly killing the freedom of speech; a basic democratic value.

You can read the rest of the statement clicking here

The Crime: Born Palestinian in Israel

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Israel Must End Detention of Human Rights Defender Ameer Makhoul and Cease Harassment of Organizations

  • Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
  • Front Line, International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  • International Commission of Jurists
  • The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

The undersigned organisations today call on the Israeli authorities to immediately release Mr. Ameer Makhoul, a prominent human rights defender, and the Director of Ittijah - Union of Arab Community-Based Associations in Israel.

On 6 May 2010, at 03:10 a.m., 16 members of the Israeli General Security Services (GSS) and the Israeli police force raided the family home of Mr. Ameer Makhoul. During the raid Mr. Ameer Makhoul was detained; until last night he was held in incommunicado detention and denied fundamental due process rights, including access to his lawyer.

Previously, on 21 April 2010, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior had imposed a travel ban on Mr. Makhoul, preventing him from leaving Israel.

On 17 May 2010, the Petah Tikvah Magistrate Court extended Mr. Makhoul’s detention until 20 May. This court hearing was the first time that Mr. Makhoul was granted access to his lawyers. Previously, Mr. Makhoul had not been allowed to attend court hearing and on one occasion his wife was forcibly removed from the hearing for “obstructing the proceedings”.

You can read the rest of the statement clicking here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Makhoul's lawyers: He's physically exhausted

For first time since his arrest two weeks ago on suspicion of espionage, court allows Israeli Arab figure's attorneys to meet with him. His remand extended until Thursday.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Monday night extended the remand of Israeli Arab figure Ameer Makhoul, who is suspected of spying together with Omar Said, until Thursday.

Makhoul's lawyers, Hassan Jabareen and Orna Cohen met with their client before and after the court session for about an hour. Following the meeting, the lawyers released a statement saying that Makhoul was "physically exhausted after intensive interrogations."

You can read the rest of the article on clicking here

Adalah: press release

Serious Suspicion of Shabak (GSS) Use of Illegal Methods of Interrogation Against Human Rights Defender Ameer Makhoul

Today 18 May 2010, Mr. Ameer Makhoul, the director of the Arab NGO network "Ittijah" and a human rights defender, met with his legal defense team after the order prohibiting his meeting with a lawyer was lifted last night by the Petakh Tikvah Magistrates’ Court during an extension of detention hearing held on the case. In the meeting today, the legal defense team - comprised of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen - found that during the twelve days in which they were not allowed to meet with Mr. Makhoul that the General Security Services (GSS or Shabak) interrogators had used prohibited methods of interrogation in violation of the absolute prohibition on torture under international law and Israeli Supreme Court decisions.

You can read the rest of the statement clicking here

Monday, May 17, 2010

Arab Association for Human Rights

Press release
May 17, 2010

Following Ameer Makhoul's arrest by Israeli General Security Service (GSS or the "Shabak") in the early hours of May 6, 2010, two detention hearings have been held at the Petah Tikva court extending his detention. At both of these hearings, the detention was extended without Mr. Makhoul having the right to meet his lawyers, not even at the hearings; this is accomplished by not having both in the court room at the same time. Mr. Makhoul has been charged with “contact with a foreign agent” on the basis of “secret evidence”.

Mr. Makhoul is a political activist and serves as the General Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel.

All appeals against the prohibition of meeting with a lawyer have been rejected by the courts. Therefore, Mr. Makhoul's legal defense team, comprising of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein (HRA Board Member and Ittijah Chairperson) and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen, has declared that they will not participate in his detention hearing today, 17 May, unless he is allowed to meet his lawyers. This prohibition seriously violates Ameer Makhoul's basic freedoms and legal rights to meet with his lawyers, and prevents from fair legal proceedings. The legal team is convinced that due to the prohibition and the total lack of respect for due process, representing Ameer Makhoul in the detention hearings has become meaningless.

At the hearing today, May 17, the lawyers submitted a motion to the court asking it to inform Ameer Makhoul of their decision. A demonstration was also held before the court protesting the continued detention of Ameer Makhoul and prevention of meeting with his lawyers.

As a result, the court decided it would extend Mr. Makhoul's detention until 9 pm this evening, at which point he will be allowed to meet with his lawyers and a hearing will be held to discuss his case.


Ameer Makhoul’s Legal Defense Team Declares They Would not Participate in Detention Hearing Tomorrow, 17 May, if He is Prohibited from Meeting his Law

Adalah: “Due to the utter lack of respect for due process, the representation of Ameer Makhoul in the detention hearings has become meaningless.”

(Haifa, Israel) Today, 16 May 2010, the legal defense team of Ameer Makhoul declared that they would not participate in the detention hearing in the Petakh Tikvah Magistrate Court tomorrow, Monday 17 May, if the prohibition on meeting a lawyer is not lifted. Ameer Makhoul is represented by a legal defense team consisting of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen.

You can read the rest of the statement clicking here

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arrest of Palestinian leaders in Israel "a dangerous development"

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 14 May 2010

The recent arrest of two respected public figures from Israel's Palestinian Arab minority in nighttime raids on their homes by the Shin Bet secret police -- brought to light this week when a gag order was partially lifted -- has sent shock waves through the community.

The arrests are not the first of their kind. The Shin Bet has been hounding and imprisoning politicians and intellectuals from the country's Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population, since the birth of the Jewish state more than six decades ago. Currently, two MPs from Arab political parties, as well as the leader of the popular Islamic Movement, are facing trials.

But the detention of Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said is seen differently -- as the gathering storm clouds in a political climate already fiercely hostile to its Palestinian citizens.

You can read the rest of the article clicking here

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Israel must stop harassment of human rights defender

12 May 2010

Amnesty International has called on the Israeli authorities to end their harassment of a human rights activist whose week-long detention by the Israeli authorities was extended today.

Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested in a dawn raid at his home in Haifa, northern Israel, by the Israeli security services and police on 6 May. He has been charged with "contact with a foreign agent" on the basis of “secret evidence”.

"Ameer Makhoul is a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel," said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

You can read the rest of the statement in Amnesty International's website

Ameer Makhoul's hearing in the Petah Tikvah Magistrates' Court - May 12th, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Israel lifts gag order on new arrests

(Posted on The Real News Network, on May 11th 2010)

Stop repression of Palestinian civil society

Join the protest at Ameer Makhoul’s court case

Join the protest at the next court hearing of Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian human rights defender and serves as the General Director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and Chairman of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010 , 10 am (court hearing: 10:30 am)


First Instance Court at Petah Tikva

Bazel Str. 1, at the corner of Shimshon Street

in front of Rabin Hospital – Bellinson

For a google map see:

For more details, please contact: Adv.Hussein Abu Hussein, Ittijah, Chairperson, 054-5428860


On May 6, 2010 at 6 am the Israeli General Security Service accompanied by Israeli police raided his home in Haifa and arrested him. Makhoul is still not allowed to see his lawyer.

Ameer Makhoul’s arrest, detention and a previously imposed travel ban are based on emergency regulations and “secret” information that is never disclosed to the defense. They are a flagrant violation of the UN Declaration and the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. Palestinian human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association as well as the right to protection from arbitrary arrest are daily violated.

Israel blatantly disregards all democratic principles in order to prevent Palestinian – and indeed all - civil society to speak out and to crush the popular movement to defend the rights and existence of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Makhoul’s case is only one example amidst a recent escalated campaign by Israeli authorities against Palestinian human rights defenders and civil resistance. In addition to arbitrary arrest and detention, Israeli authorities have applied travel bans against a number of Palestinian human rights defenders in recent months.

Israeli authorities have also started to target Palestinian, Israeli and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as part of their wider campaign against Palestinian human rights defenders. Measures used include raids of organizations’ offices, deportation of organization staff and volunteers, a new policy of visa denials for international NGO workers, and pending legislation in the Knesset that would enable the Israeli government to close down any organization that gives information to foreign actors or participates in legal efforts outside Israel to try Israeli officials for war crimes.

Shin Bet Removes Gag, Makhoul and Said Accused of Spying

Shades of Azmi Bishara! The Shin Bet has dusted off its “Arab terror” playbook and come up with the equivalent of the failed, but tried-and-true old standard: when you have an uppity Arab who’s bugging the hell out of you but doing so in accordance with the laws of the land, arrest him under secret gag order. Then wait for the uproar from the usual Commie-Arab suspects, and lower the boom on him with a charge of collaborating with the Arab enemy. Since Hamas is under blockade, it’s usually easier to charge someone with spying for Hezbollah or Syria. That’s precisely what the secret police have done regarding Ameer Makhoul and Omer Said, who were each arrested secretly and held in prison for days without benefit of counsel or charges being filed (until today):

You can read the rest of the article in Tikun Olam, Richard Silverstein's blog.

Hundreds protest arrest of alleged Arab spies

Some 300 people rally in Haifa against arrest of Omar Said, Ameer Makhoul. Arab Knesset member vows to fight 'political ghetto'

Some 300 people rallied in Haifa Monday evening in protest of the arrest of well-known Arab figures Omar Said and Ameer Makhoul on suspicion of contacting a Hezbollah agent.

Several Arab Knesset members attended the rally as well, including Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka, Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh and MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al).

"We won't let (Israel) turn our political activities into security offenses," said Zahalka.

To read the whole article in Ynetnews, click here

Monday, May 10, 2010

Makhoul's wife: We're not scared

Wife of Arab-Israeli espionage suspect Ameer Makhoul slams his late-night arrest, carried out in front of his daughters, tells Ynet Shin Bet wishes to 'bring Arabs back to Middle Ages'

The arrest of Arab-Israeli writer and activist Ameer Makhoul on grave espionage charges is no more than "an inflated story and political persecution," his wife told Ynet Monday.

To read the whole article in Ynetnews, click here

Latest on Ameer Makhoul, Secret Arrest, Gag Order, and Silence of Israeli Press

Those of you who followed this blog during the thick of the Anat Kamm-Uri Blau case, noted a critical juncture at which the weight of the secret gag order charade became too heavy. After the Israeli media itself began obliquely ridiculing the Shin Bet for maintaining a secret that the whole world knew, including many Israelis among them, the gag collapsed like a house of cards.

We have come near to that in the case of Ameer Makhoul, director of the Israeli Palestinian community activist NGO, Ittijah, who was arrested in the dead of night at his Haifa apartment a few days ago after a team of 20 police and security agents ransacked his premises and stole cell phones, documents, computers and maps, including the research project of his teenage daughter.

You can read the rest of the article in Tikun Olam, Richard Silverstein's blog.

Gag order on Ameer's case is lifted

Two Israeli Arabs arrested on suspicion of spying, contact with Hezbollah

Gag order lifted on news that Omar Said, a member of the Balad movement, and Amir Makhoul, director general of an Arab charity were detained by the Shin Bet security service.

To read the whole article, click here


2 alleged Hizbullah spies nabbed

Israeli Arabs arrested on suspicion of conspiring with enemy agents.

To read the whole article, click here


Israeli Arab figures suspected of espionage

Court clears for publication arrest of 52-year-old Ameer Makhoul from Haifa, brother of former MK and 50-year-old Omar Said, suspected of espionage, contact with Hezbollah agent

To read the whole article, click here

Demo against political arrests & repression - Free Ameer Makhoul

When: Monday, 10th May 2010
Time: 19h-20h
Where: elJabal & elKarmah (Hagefen) st. junction near "Beit elKarma (beit Hagefen)", Haifa

(Hebrew follows Arabic)

معًا نتصدى للملاحقات والاعتقالات السياسية
لا لاوامر منع التقاء المعتقلين مع محاميهم لا لاوامر منع النشر

ندعو الجميع للمشاركة في التظاهرة الاحتجاجية ضد الاعتقالات والملاحقات السياسية ضد قيادات المجتمع المدني والجماهير العربية.
وذلك يوم الاثنين 10/5/2010، الساعة 19:00 في مفترق شارعي الجبل والكرمة (هاغيفين) امام "بيت الكرمة".

ليطلق فورًا سراح امير مخول

فروع حيفا:-
الحزب الشيوعي والجبهة الديمقراطية
التجمع الوطني الديمقراطي
الحركة الاسلامية
حركة أبناء البلد

ביחד נעצור את הרדיפות והמעצרים הפוליטיים
לא לצווי איסור פגישה של עצורים עם עורכי הדין שלהם
לא לצווי איסור פרסום

כולכם מוזמנים להשתתף במשמרת המחאה נגד המעצרים והרדיפות הפוליטיות כנגד הנהגת החברה האזרחית והציבור הערבי.
ההפגנה תתקיים ביום ב' 10/5/2010 שעה 19:00 בפינת רחובות ההר (הציונות) והגפן, מול בית הגפן.

ישוחררו מיד אמיר מח'ול

סניפי חיפה:
המפלגה הקומוניסטית וחד"ש
התנועה האסלאמית
תנועת אבנאא אלבלד

Everybody speaks about Ameer's arrest...except the Israeli press

(Article published in on May 9th 2010)

Security scandal angers Arab sector

Anat Kam II? Another affair freely discussed in blogs, websites around world, but in Israel press is muzzled. Arab rights groups: Gag order further evidence of police persecution of Arab community

Read the whole article clicking here


Friday, May 7, 2010

"Israel's repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle" by Ameer Makhoul

(Makhoul submitted the following op-ed to The Electronic Intifada prior to his arrest)

Last month, when I traveled from Haifa to the land border between Jordan and Israel, the Israeli border police prevented me from leaving my country. The police handed me an order issued by the Israeli Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai prohibiting me to leave Israel for two months. The travel ban imposed on me is part of an increased campaign to intimidate and to spread fear among Palestinian civil society. The repression is meant to divide us, but it has had the opposite effect. We Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora are only more determined and united to claim our rights and to build a nation where we can live in freedom and have equal rights.

The Israeli minister of the interior holds the opinion that my travel outside the country "poses a serious threat to the security of the state," according to article 6 of the 1948 emergency regulations. I am the director of Ittijah, Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and the chairman of the Popular Committee for the Defense of Political Freedoms, which is a sub-committee of the High Monitoring Committee of Arabs in Israel. All three bodies unite Palestinian Arabs in Israel and we jointly decided not to appeal my travel ban at the Israeli high court.

You can read the whole article clicking here


Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah and chairman of the Popular Committee for the Defense of the Political Freedoms, was arrested by Israeli forces on May 6 during a raid of his home, two weeks after a travel ban was imposed on him by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. Police have also raided the offices of Ittijah and confiscated equipment and documents.