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

Israel/Palestine
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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

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