March 28, 2012.
The rhetoric that has come to characterize the Israel/Palestine debate exploits the emotion of one crime to justify another. It is vital to remember that one life from either side is not worth less than the other.
There are several human rights abuses taking place in Palestine, acknowledged to be illegal according to international law-all underpinned by a blatant disregard of that law.
Nearly two weeks ago, the UN produced a report strongly condemning the state of Israel’s systematic discrimination of Palestinians. It was also announced yesterday that Israel’s right-wing government has now decided to turn its back on UN human rights council entirely.
Again, this is a statement of fact as much as it is a fact that the abuses themselves are taking place.
Yesterday, Israel’s military kangaroo court also announced that it had rejected an appeal from the lawyers of Hana al Shalabi, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank who has been on a hunger strike for more than 40 days.
Hana is being held without charge, and without the chance of seeing a trial. She had been held in administrative detention for two years previously, again without being charged in accordance with Israel’s policy of holding prisoners based on ’secret evidence’, which they see fit to not divulge.
She was released in October 2011, but then re-arrested in February of this year.
She’s one of tens of thousands of individuals who have fallen victim to this system.
She is protesting for herself, her human rights, and for the rights of more than three hundred other administrative detainees and Palestinian hunger strikers.
There are serious concerns now for the state of her health. The Israeli court judge saw no grounds for her release despite warnings from doctors that she is at serious risk now from heart failure at any moment.
There were also concerns expressed by Hana’s lawyer that Israeli officials were considering force-feeding her – an act strongly condemned by Amnesty International as being a gross human rights violation.
So far there is been little coverage of Hana’s struggle in the mainstream press, despite many using Twitter to raise awareness of her plight.
The hashtags #HanaisDying2live and #HanaShalabi have been trending on Twitter and social media has been key in galvanising support up to this point. But time is running out. The word needs to spread fast if external pressure is to have any effect.
Hana’s sister was quoted on Monday saying that she didn’t think her sister could survive another seven days.
It is a disgrace that Israel is allowed to act in this way with impunity. This is not about religion; it is about the common humanity that we share.
Many people are already talking about Hana Shalabi, whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Atheist.
The difference is that Hana Shalabi might die because she is Palestinian.
See also Linah Alsaafin's March 28 article entitled "Inside The Home Of Hana Shalabi Her Pain, Struggle And Absence Are Deeply Felt" here.
HS Image Credit