Israel arrests Palestinian youth leader invited to State Dep’t training session

Israel/Palestine
on 12 Comments

The leader of a Palestinian youth group who was invited to a social media training session organized by the State Department “to create a sustainable community that fosters innovation and social progress” was arrested by Israeli authorities today as he attempted to travel from Gaza to the West Bank.

Ala’a Miqbel, 30, director of a Palestinian NGO in Gaza called the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership And Rights Activation (Pyalara), which has broad international support, had been invited to a three-day social media “TechCamp,” organized by US State Department and PalTel, the Palestinian telephone company.

Miqbel was told to to to Erez checkpoint early this morning to get authorization from the Israelis to travel to the session at a Ramallah hotel. Instead he was arrested there and taken to Majdal prison in Israel, according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

The TechCamp is surely part of Kerry’s initiative for “economic peace.” Here is part of the invitation to Miqbel that bore State Department letterhead:

By participating in TechCamp Ramallah 2, we will connect your organization with technology leaders to increase your capacity and outreach potential in the 21st century. We offer you the opportunity to interact with top international and local technologists to learn how digital tools can boost your buisness and help your organization make an advantageous leap…. It will also help build lasting relationships with other civil society organizations and technologists to create a sustainable community that fosters innovation and social progress.

We invite you to be a part of this exceptional experience!

But the arrest shows the structural flaw in the economic approach– for all Palestinians lack freedom of movement under occupation.

These TechCamps brought together three areas of focus for Secretary Clinton: strengthening civil society, innovation, and empowering women and girls. – See more at: http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/05/09/techcamp-goes-tel-aviv-and-ramallah-empowering-women-and-girls-middle-east#sthash.jQLxP371.dpuf
These TechCamps brought together three areas of focus for Secretary Clinton: strengthening civil society, innovation, and empowering women and girls. – See more at: http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/05/09/techcamp-goes-tel-aviv-and-ramallah-empowering-women-and-girls-middle-east#sthash.jQLxP371.dpuf
These TechCamps brought together three areas of focus for Secretary Clinton: strengthening civil society, innovation, and empowering women and girls. – See more at: http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/05/09/techcamp-goes-tel-aviv-and-ramallah-empowering-women-and-girls-middle-east#sthash.jQLxP371.dpuBut Miqbel’s arrest demonstrates the weakness of that policy: Palestinians lack freedom of movement under occupation.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding provided me the following report from a Pyalara official:

Yesterday, Ala’a was informed by the organizers of the workshop that he should go for an interview with the Israeli side at Eretz checkpoint for the purpose of receiving a permit to travel to the West Bank. At 7:30 am, today, the 26th of August, Ala’a called me and informed me that he was on his way to Eretz checkpoint for the interview. He told me that he will have to turn off his mobile and that as soon as he is out he will call me to update me on the interview. Ala’a was so happy and hopeful that after more than 7 years since he last got a permit and visited the West Bank, he would at last manage to leave Gaza Strip. At around 6:30 pm and after hours of trying to contact Ala’a, his father, Subhi Miqbil called me to inform me that he received a phone call from a private number and that the person on the other line informed him that his son Ala’a was arrested and transferred to Majdal prison. Since we received the information, PYALARA contacted the Red Crescent and different Human Rights organization to pursue the issue.

Ala’a has been working as the director of the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) office in Gaza for the last 4 years. Ala’a is a very well-known youth and social activist who is known for his professionality, dedication and activism on the level of youth rights, leadership and youth mobilization. Ala’a is 30 years old, married and a father of three children the latest of whom is only one month and a half old.

The TechCamp invitation follows:

Dear TechCamp Participant,

Paltel Group and the United States Department of State cordially invite you to join us for TechCamp Ramallah 2, August 27th – 29th, 2013 at the Ceasar Hotel in Ramallah. This will be an innovative and important event focused on issues of NGO leaders empowerment in the areas of education, mobility, technology, and entrepreneurship.

By participating in TechCamp Ramallah 2, we will connect your organization with technology leaders to increase your capacity and outreach potential in the 21st century. We offer you the opportunity to interact with top international and local technologists to learn how digital tools can boost your buisness and help your organization make an advantageous leap. The two main sessions of TechCamp will take place on the 28th and 29th of August, however, there will be an opening ceremony on the 27th. The ceremony will be held at the Jawwal auditorium and will be promptly followed by a reception.

TechCamp Ramallah 2  will be an interactive, three-day event that will bring together civil society leaders, NGO representatives, and technology experts to find technological solutions to your biggest obstacles. It will also allow you to collaborate and share best practices and challenges with like-minded civil society practitioners.

Participating in TechCamp Ramallah 2 will allow you to expand your knowledge about mobile applications and leverage your knowledge of social media and technology tools to make a positive impact on your local community. It will also help build lasting relationships with other civil society organizations and technologists to create a sustainable community that fosters innovation and social progress.

We invite you to be a part of this exceptional experience!

Please let us know of your interest and availability as soon as possible. Once we have confirmed your attendance, we will send additional information about logistics. Your participation will be free of charge.

We  hope that you can join us, and we look forward to your feedback in the weeks ahead. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to:  

Yara Dweik,[details deleted]

Neivean Latif, [details deleted]

Sincerely,

TechCamp Ramallah 2 Team

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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12 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    August 26, 2013, 6:24 pm

    It can only be that the State Department was outta line when it had the temerity to invite a Palestinian from Gaza to the West Bank! What better way to punish and embarrass them for this faux pas than by imprisoning the recipient of their invitation. That’ll show ‘em who’s boss in these ‘ere parts!

    • just
      August 26, 2013, 8:38 pm

      Another poke in the eye of peaceful and caring Palestinians. Apartheid on steroids, wrongful incarceration because Israel cannot abide any indigenous Palestinian coming out into the international arena and light. They know well that this man will shine and excel in the stark sunlight which he strives for– hope for the youth of Palestine, and preparedness for when they are granted their freedom and rights.

      (It’s also another poke in the eye to the US by “Best Ally Israel”.)

      I hope that this young man musters much support from HUMANS and stays safe.

      Isr is a most evil & illegal of Occupiers. Their true colors are emanating at a fierce pace. Thanks MW.

  2. fnlevit
    August 26, 2013, 8:01 pm

    Integration – The Arab teachers who will work in Jewish schools
    news | Published in TES magazine on 16 August, 2013 | By: Helen Ward

    Comment:4 average rating | Comments (1)
    Last Updated:24 August, 2013
    Section:news
    Israeli initiative aims to heal the rift between communities

    With Middle East peace talks due to resume this week, all eyes are on Israeli and Palestinian politicians to see if any progress can be made towards a historic resolution.

    But while tense negotiations take place in the media spotlight, away from the glare of publicity teachers in Israel are also attempting to bridge the divide between the country’s two main communities.

    More than 100 Arab-Israeli teachers are being recruited to work in Jewish-Israeli schools as part of an innovative project aiming to create a more integrated society. Those behind the initiative want to place at least 500 Arab-Israeli teachers over the next five years – a goal that has won the backing of the country’s Ministry of Education.

    The work is being supported by Merchavim, the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel. Mike Prashker (pictured, left), founder and executive director of the organisation, said there is a hunger among teachers to do more.
    link to tes.co.uk

    • talknic
      August 26, 2013, 10:06 pm

      @ fnlevit Uh huh. What point are you trying to make?

      • ToivoS
        August 27, 2013, 12:06 am

        Good question. I think it comes under the heading of “Ziologic”.

        Professor Levit is trying to explain why Ala’a Miqbel was arrested but since he has no idea why he filled a paragraph with non sequiturs in order to impress us with his great insight or maybe consciously throwing up smoke and mirrors to hide his ignorance.

    • Walid
      August 27, 2013, 1:27 am

      “More than 100 Arab-Israeli teachers are being recruited to work in Jewish-Israeli schools as part of an innovative project aiming to create a more integrated society. ”

      This falls somewhere between normalization and Judaization. Either way, there is nothing honest about the whole scheme.

      • yrn
        August 27, 2013, 6:20 am

        “there is nothing honest about the whole scheme.”

        Lets hear your thought……. what is not honest here.

    • amigo
      August 27, 2013, 7:32 am

      fn levit, Hows about some assimilation in your Jews only illegal squats.

      Are you really a Professor.

      Wow.

    • eGuard
      August 27, 2013, 7:54 am

      So the prof is pointing out that Arab-Israeli teachers (that is, Palestinian teachers) will work at Jewish-Israeli schools.

      First we get confirmed that the schools are segregated (thanks prof, though there were no doubts on this side), by Min of Edu control even.

      Second, he shows that the integration is one-direction only. He is surprised, and shares with us, that there is no need for Jewish teachers to go to Palestinian schools.

      Third, since he writes that there is a hunger among teachers, he shows & knows that it is a financial issue (under min of education, no rabbi or interior ministry is involved). These teachers work for half the money, we should understand.

      Clearly the prof has nothing to do since his Apartheid-supporting institute is being boycotted. He does not even read (the topic) or write (a comment) himself any more. Given that this is way off-topic, the thinking might have stopped too.

  3. John Douglas
    August 26, 2013, 9:22 pm

    Another example of the fact that the Israelis have absolutely no respect for the ablity and/or inclination of the American government to do anything but cave to Israeli arriogance.

  4. Hostage
    August 27, 2013, 3:58 am

    But the arrest shows the structural flaw in the economic approach– for all Palestinians lack freedom of movement under occupation.

    That’s a guarded understatement.

    Customary International Humanitarian Law, Rule 98. Enforced disappearance is prohibited.
    Summary
    State practice establishes this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts. link to icrc.org

    Rule 129. The Act of Displacement
    A. Parties to an international armed conflict may not deport or forcibly transfer the civilian population of an occupied territory, in whole or in part, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand.

    Summary
    State practice establishes these rules as norms of customary international law applicable in international (A) and non-international (B) armed conflicts respectively.
    International armed conflicts
    The prohibition of the deportation or transfer of civilians goes back to the Lieber Code, which provides that “private citizens are no longer … carried off to distant parts”.
    link to icrc.org

  5. giladg
    August 27, 2013, 10:15 am

    Ala’a Miqbel, 30, heads up Facebook/Google Gaza. Have we not heard this story before?
    Is the White House or the State Dept? Which one is pulling his strings? You did a great job in Egypt pulling the strings of the same so called moderates. Or maybe not. In fact we know that it was poor job.

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