CMEP Bulletin: Legal Blow to Monastery, Marathon with a Message
Legal blow to Cremisan Monastery
The Israeli Special Appeals Committee for land seizure under emergency law released its verdict on Wednesday April 24, 2013 regarding the case of the Cremisan Valley against the separation wall. The Society of St. Yves, a Catholic human rights group, had represented the monastery in the Israeli courts in this case that has gone on for seven years. Israel is now expected to press ahead with construction of the vast West Bank barrier around a convent near the Christian town of Beit Jala.
The barrier will cut the Cremisan convent off of 75 percent of their land as well as a monastery with which they have close relations. Additionally, over 50 Palestinian Christian families of Beit Jala will no longer have access to their agricultural land. Xavier Abu Eid, a diplomat in the Palestine Liberation Organization explains: “The occupation hurts Christians and Muslims both, but affects the Christian community more because it’s a smaller percentage of the population […] This is a matter of their survival, as this is one of the last pieces of land the community owns.”
State Department releases 2012 Human Rights Report
The U.S. State Department released its annual human rights report last week that details abuses around the world. The Israel and the Occupied Territories sections do not reveal anything new, but they do catalog the incidents where human rights abuses carried out by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
According to the report, “the three most significant human rights abuses across the occupied territories were arbitrary arrest and associated torture and abuse, often with impunity, by multiple actors in the region; restrictions on civil liberties; and the inability of residents of the Gaza Strip under Hamas to choose their own government or hold it accountable.”
Israel is noted for several abuses including, “excessive use of force against civilians, including killings…demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property; limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and association; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’ internal and external freedom of movement.”
The report is also critical of the Palestinian Authority for “mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights. Restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly continued… At times the PA allowed anti-Semitic expression.”
The abuses in Gaza committed by Hamas are vast and included “security forces killing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining, and harassing opponents, Fatah members, and other Palestinians with impunity. Hamas and various other terrorist organizations and militant factions in the Gaza Strip launched rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel, killing and injuring civilians…Hamas restricted the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement of Gaza Strip residents…. Hamas frequently promoted anti-Semitism.”
The State Department concludes that after last year’s report, “The PA, Hamas, and Israeli authorities took minimal steps to address impunity or reduce abuses. There were reports the PA, Hamas, and IDF did not adequately pursue investigations and disciplinary actions related to violations.”