by Stephen Lendman, Contributor
September 11, 2012
Israeli state terror targets Palestinians ruthlessly. Incidents include crimes of war, against humanity and genocide, land theft, institutionalized racism, oppression, intimidation, militarized occupation, and contempt for all rule of law principles and democratic values.
Political prisoner Ahmad Saadat is right saying “Zionist war criminals are the ones who must be prosecuted.” More on his day in court below.
He’s General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and a recognized and admired national leader. In 2002, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a range of “security related” political offenses.
None have legitimacy. No legitimate court would recognize them. They include membership is a so-called forbidden organization, various alleged security related offenses, and “incitement” for condemning Israel’s murder of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa.
On August 27, 2001, two (Boeing produced) Israeli attack helicopters fired rockets at his Ramallah office and assassinated him. Over 50,000 mourners attended his funeral. The PFLP renamed their armed wing the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades.
He believed legitimate resistance includes armed struggle. Asked about risks he and others took, he said:
“We all are targeted as soon as we begin to be mobilized. We do our best to avoid their guns, but we are living under the brutal Zionist occupation of our lands, and its army is only a few meters from us. Of course we must be cautious, but we have work to do, and nothing will stop us.”
He, Saadat, Ghassan Kanafani, PFLP founder George Habash, and countless less well known freedom fighters never gave an inch in struggling for right over wrong. Nor do current PFLP leaders and other like-minded Palestinians.
Saadat and other resistance leaders are targeted for their prominence. In Saadat’s case, it’s also for belong to a so-called prohibited organization.
PFLP was founded on December 11, 1967. It courageously resists Israeli oppression. It seeks long denied liberation.
It accuses Israel of “brutal aggression against our people – murder, destruction, assassination, house demolitions, the uprooting of trees, land expropriation, settlement expansion, the continued construction of the Apartheid Wall, a suffocating political and economic siege, torture, and massive oppression.”
It supports right over wrong. Israel calls PFLP members terrorists. They’re heroes.
For over 40 years, Saadat was targeted ruthlessly. He’s been arrested numerous times, tortured, imprisoned on false charges or none at all, kept in punishing long-term isolation, and brutalized other ways. He calls himself “a prisoner for freedom.”
“Our people are stronger than the occupation and its mockery of legality,” he states. On September 9, he appeared in Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court. He’s imprisoned for political, not legitimate, reasons.
“I will not recognize the legitimacy of this court which is attempting to perpetuate the occupation of our Palestinian land, and is itself one of the fronts of Zionist terrorism against our Palestinian people, and a tool of repression against Palestinian prisoners,” he said.
His appearance related to a private lawsuit. Shurat Ha-Din (the Israel Law Center) filed it in America. It’s a pro-Israeli front group. It calls itself the “bane of anti-Israel groups throughout the world.” It terrorizes through irresponsible lawfare.
It viciously targets anyone challenging Israeli lawlessness. It intimidated insurers to deny coverage for humanitarian boats to Gaza. It pressured Greece and other governments to prevent them from departing their ports.
It holds Saadat, the PFLP, and other prominent Palestinian organizations financially liable for dual Israeli/Western citizen deaths. Doing so is laughable on its face.
Earlier, it tried to force political prisoner Marwan Barghouti to testify at Jerusalem hearings. He’s lawlessly imprisoned like Saadat and thousands of other Palestinians.
Saadat appeared in court for the first time since held in solitary confinement for over three years. Doing so constitutes torture. International law prohibits it at all times, under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.
He was steadfast saying:
“I say nothing to this court, as I earlier said nothing to this court, which is known to have my name.”
He replied to being excluded from Israel’s October 2011 prisoner exchange, saying:
“The freedom of the homeland is more important and more dear than my personal freedom, which is inevitable.”
At the hearing’s close, he added:
“If the United States is so interested in human rights and fact-finding they should carry out their investigations into finding the murderers of American solidarity martyr Rachel Corrie who was killed by the forces of the Occupation, instead of attacking the resistance and calling it ‘Terrorism.’ ”
“Resistance is legitimate, will continue, and will grow as long as the occupation exists. The Palestinian people will continue to resist until freedom, liberation and independence, and the return of all the Palestinian people to their homeland, Palestine.”
“The justice of our cause and the steadfastness of our people and determination strong, is stronger than the occupation, and its mockery of courts and legality, no matter how severe the restrictions on the freedom of our people, freedom is inevitable.”
Saadat’s brutalizing treatment reflects his importance and courage. He won’t yield to Israeli state terror. Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said Israel’s Prison Service Guards forced him from Shata Prison to court against his will.
During his own trial, he refused to recognize an illegitimate military court. He won’t role over to injustice now or ever. He’ll accept life in prison or death instead.
On September 9, he refused to state his name or answer questions. “I say nothing to this court, as I earlier said said nothing to this court, which is known to have my name,” he said.
He called for Israeli and US officials to be tried for crimes of war and against humanity.
His wife Abla, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter came to see him. Guards prevented any physical contact.
Addameer called Saadat’s trials, and others like them, “part of Western and Israeli efforts to criminalize the legitimate resistance to the occupation and label it as ‘terrorism,’ and constitute blatant transgression of international law and the principles of international humanitarian law.”
Earlier, Saadat said:
“I too possess a will obtained from the justice of our cause and the determination of our people to reject any decision from this ‘kangaroo court,’ and to preserve a logical and cohesive balance, and to continue my determination to resist your occupation alongside the sons and daughters of our people, in spite of the limited space that you impose on my already-limited movements as a ‘prisoner for freedom!’ ”
Yousef Abu Ghoulmeh shared a prison cell with him following his return to the general prison population. He was freed in late July. He said Saadat urged all Palestinians to unite and mobilize, take to the streets, and resist Israel’s occupation.
Only a united front committed to resist can prevail. Negotiations are futile, he stressed. Israel demands. It doesn’t yield or compromise. It engages in political blackmail and other duplicitous schemes.
He also prioritized efforts to free political prisoners, assert the right of return, and aid refugees in camps, especially in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
Despite his ordeal, he’s strong, well, undaunted, and totally committed for justice. He’s convinced Palestinians will prevail. He’s redoubtable. If enough have his spirit, they’re unstoppable. He urges unity to imbue it in others.
A Final Comment
Daily Israeli repression explains what drives liberation struggles. On September 4, B’Tselem headlined “Suspicion: Soldiers beat, seriously wounded ‘Adai Abu Mariah, 31 July 2012,” saying:
Soldiers detained him at a Hebron district Beit Ummar village checkpoint. They claimed he was wanted for questioning. They handcuffed and blindfolded him. They put him in a jeep. They punched and beat him with rifle butts. Abuse continued in military detention.
He was released later that night unquestioned. The next morning, he experienced abdominal pain and vomiting. He was hospitalized for emergency surgery. An intestinal perforation had to be closed.
B’Tselem contacted the military advocate general on his behalf. It demand an investigation. In testimony to B’Tselem, Abu Mariah explained what happened, saying:
“The soldiers pushed me forcibly into the jeep. One of them hit me on the head, saying: ‘Bye-bye you fag.’ The soldiers sat me on a bench in the jeep and one of them fastened my seatbelt. Then he hit me with his rifle on the side of my abdomen and punched me in the same spot.”
“A little while later we drove off. On the way, the soldiers slapped me, hit me and punched me on my head and body. After a short drive, about five or ten minutes later, the jeep stopped. The soldiers took me out of the jeep and brought me into a room in a military base.”
“In the room, one of the soldiers pushed me against the wall. I fell on the floor. A few soldiers who were in the room started beating me brutally. They kicked me, punched me and beat me with their rifles. I screamed from the pain and asked them to stop but that didn’t help.”
“I couldn’t defend myself because my hands were cuffed behind my back and I was blindfolded. I felt helpless. I screamed at the soldiers and told them I would make a complaint against them if they kept on assaulting me.”
“At that point, one of the soldiers gave me a really hard blow to the abdomen. I didn’t know if it was a kick, a jab with a rifle or something else. After that I had trouble breathing and started to cough. The soldiers stopped beating me.”
Soldiers kept him handcuffed and blindfolded. A few who passed by kicked, ridiculed, and cursed him. He screamed in pain. One soldier slammed his head against the wall and told him to shut up.
Late at night, they released him unquestioned and uncharged. They dumped him where he’d been detained. He’s stuck with an expensive hospital bill.
On September 5, the military advocate’s office told B’Tselem an investigation would follow. Justice won’t be forthcoming. Whitewashes are certain. Palestinian rights are spurned. Only Israeli ones matter.
On September 10, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a memorandum to UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns.
It was an official complaint on behalf of Saad al-Majdalawi. On August 16, 2011, Israeli forces killed him in cold blood.
He was aged 17, mentally disabled, and targeted by live fire in Gaza near Israel’s border. He was 300 meters inside the separation fence. He posed no threat yet was shot and killed.
Soldiers used him for target practice. Others die the same way. Young children are maliciously shot. Prosecutions never follow.
Under Article 8(2)(b)(i-iii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and Fourth Geneva’s Article 147, Israel’s use of lethal force constitutes wanton murder.
Al-Majdalawi’s right to life was denied. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirms it. So does Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
How long will these crimes go unpunished? When will international bodies and leaders intervene?
Palestinians are people like Israelis. International law grants them equal rights. Denying them demands responsible parties be held responsible. Israel’s gotten away with murder far too long. Palestine is strewn with corpses as evidence. It’s time they didn’t die in vain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.