ADALAH PRESS RELEASE
26 June 2011
To Mark International Day Against Torture, Human Rights Organizations Host Event to Launch New Book - Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel
On 21 June 2011, to mark the International Day Against Torture, Adalah and several human rights organization partners hosted an event to launch a new edited volume entitled Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv. The book, edited by former Adalah Attorney Abeer Baker and Dr. Anat Matar and published by Pluto Press, analyzes Israeli attitudes towards Palestinian prisoners and the political nature of imprisonment.
Through a series of articles written by human rights defenders, academics, and current and former prisoners, the book explores numerous experiences and images of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. It also addresses Israel's breaches of international treaties in its treatment of Palestinian prisoners, practices of torture and solitary confinement, and prisoner-exchange deals. The concept of the book developed from a conference entitled "Security Prisoners or Political Prisoners" held by Adalah, the Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law, the Minerva Center for Human Rights, and the Taubenschlag Institute of Criminal Law in 2007.
The event was held by Adalah, The Israeli Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners, The Coalition of Women for Peace, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Hamoked, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and Machsom watch Observers in Military Courts.
The launch began with a screening of Hunger, a film directed by Steven McQueen that recounts the last six weeks of the life of a well-known imprisoned Irish hunger striker, Bobby Sands. The film was followed by a discussion about the criminalization of the political struggle of the Palestinians. Dr. Anat Matar opened the discussion by introducing the book and providing an overview of Israel's use of detention against Palestinians. Attorney Abeer Baker then spoke about the use of prison as a tool with which to remove human rights violations from the public sphere and obscure identity. Other participants included Attorneys Gabi Lasky and Leah Tsemel, who discussed the history of organizing prison strikes. Political activist Abdallah Abu-Rahma recounted his personal experience as a political prisoner who was held for sixteen months in an Israeli military prison.
The book has received several glowing reviews, including the following. "This is a timely and urgent volume that brings to the fore the systematic injustices endemic to the Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians. The volume not only provides extensive documentation that establishes the particular violence of the legal apparatus as it contains and disciplines arrested Palestinians, but it offers a detailed description of the widespread deviation from accepted standards of justice and procedural law. At stake throughout is the criminalisation of political protest, and this volume offers extensive evidence and analysis to resist this violent use of law." Judith Butler, UC Berkeley
"This book provides an imperative illustration of how the Israeli Occupation has imprisoned the political voices of the Palestinian people. Featuring a spectrum of authors with a range of expertise, this volume offers readers a refreshing insight into and documentation of Israel's revocation of Palestinians' right to justice. For many years, the judicial process has been turned against Palestinians, and this comprehensive analysis is essential to understand how Israel has achieved that, and how to overcome this injustice." Mustafa Barghouti