Questions Neera Tanden should ask Netanyahu at the Center for American Progress

US Politics
on 10 Comments

November 9, 2015

Neera Tanden
President
Center for American Progress
1333 H Street, NW, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C., 20005

Dear Neera,

As an admirer of yours and the Center for American Progress (CAP), I am wishing you all the best in moderating tomorrow’s speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at CAP. Amnesty International spends a great deal of time, as you probably know, in addressing the human rights issues that arise in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We wanted to suggest the following questions to raise with the Prime Minister:

  1. Will Israel abolish its discriminatory judicial system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

Under the current policy, Palestinian adults and children face trials in Israeli military courts, while Israeli settlers have the benefit of civilian courts. This is true even if Israeli settlers are facing similar charges as Palestinians.

  1. Why does Israel ban Palestinians from gathering in groups to discuss political matters without the permission of an Israeli military commander?

Israeli Military Order 101 was issued by the Israeli army commander in the West Bank region in 1967 and has remained in force since then. Order 101 prohibits all gatherings of 10 or more persons “for a political purpose or for a matter that could be interpreted as political” or even “to discuss such a topic” unless they have received authorization in advance under a permit issued by the Israeli military commander in the area. The penalty is up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a hefty fine.i

  1. Why does Israel treat Palestinians accused of violent crimes differently than Israelis accused of violent crimes?

For example, in violation of international law, Israel demolishes the homes of family members of Palestinians who are alleged to have committed violent crimes. Families of Israelis who are alleged to have committed violent crimes do not have their homes demolished.

  1. Why is Israel engaging in unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

Amnesty International has recently documented in depth at least four incidents in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life, in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions. While Israeli forces and civilians have faced attacks and threats to their lives over the past weeks, Israel’s investigation systems have long served to perpetuate impunity for unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli military and police forces.ii

The problem is not a new one. According to the UN, from 2011 to 2013, Israeli forces killed at least forty-one Palestinians in the West Bank and seriously injured at least 261 with live ammunition, including 67 children. During the same period of time, an astonishing 8,000 or more Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank by other means, including rubber-coated metal bullets and the reckless use of tear gas. Of these 8,000, at least 1,500 were children.iii

  1. Why does Israel continue to build settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in violation of international law?

According to figures collected by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, there are now over 547,000 Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.iv The Israeli policy of settling civilians in occupied territory amounts to a war crime under international humanitarian law (IHL). The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying powers from transferring their own civilians into territory they occupy.

These questions address key concerns about the Israeli government’s discrimination against Palestinians, violations of Palestinian rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces.

I hope you find them useful!

All my best,

Steven Hawkins

Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

i Amnesty International, Trigger-happy Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, Page 9, February 2014 (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE15/002/2014/en/).

ii Amnesty International, Israeli forces in Occupied Palestinian Territories must end pattern of unlawful killings, October 27, 2015 (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/israeli-forces-must-end-pattern-of-unlawful-killings-in-west-bank/).

iii Amnesty International, Trigger-happy Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, Page 36, February 2014 (https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE15/002/2014/en/).

iv B’Tselem, Land Expropriation and Settlements, November 23, 2015, accessed November 6, 2015 (http://www.btselem.org/settlements).

About Steven Hawkins

Steven Hawkins is Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

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10 Responses

  1. TwoRedDogs
    November 10, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Neera Tanden has given a platform to a vile man who has insulted our country and President for the last 7 years, to spread his propaganda and lies.

    Call CAP at 202.682.1611 and DEMAND her resignation. Let their phones be jammed with calls.

    • Kathleen
      November 10, 2015, 9:36 pm

      lthanks…add in the piece that Glenn Greenwald wrote about Aipac/Ann Lewis influence on CAP and what they write and say…and we can bet she will not be asking BB any tough questions.

      • TwoRedDogs
        November 10, 2015, 10:34 pm

        Indeed. NYT just published a piece on the so-called discussion, which was nothing than a forum for Netanyahu to spread his propaganda and lies, while Tanden melted with laughter a la Hillary, without mentioning the AIPAC/Tanden email scandal.

      • Kathleen
        November 11, 2015, 10:41 pm

        As BB said “had to get my commercial in” Just so happened that Neera Tanden provided him with one hour of an on going “commercial” for Israel.

  2. inbound39
    November 10, 2015, 7:24 pm

    When you look at Netanyahu’s statements today on Haaretz he claims issues with Arabs and Temple Mount(Al Aqsa) are unsolvable and Israel may have to take unilateral action. In order to do that, he said,Israel would need wider World Support. What happened to him assuring people the status quo was and is unchangeable? What happened to Israel honouring its peace agreement with Jordan? Apparently none of that now does not matter and threatening Middle East Peace further is apparently on Netanyahu’s agenda….more expansionism. Somehow I can’t see him getting wider World Support. In fact the World needs to insist Israel leaves occupied territory immediately.

  3. Rusty Pipes
    November 10, 2015, 8:07 pm

    What should someone claiming to represent the concerns of Progressive Democrats ask? Here are a few:

    Were you involved in the theft of American nuclear triggers?

    Why is Mordechai Vanunu prevented from leaving Israel, even Jerusalem, and why has he been penalized for talking with reporters when all of the top secret information he knew became public record almost three decades ago?

    Do you anticipate being able to travel abroad when you are no longer Prime Minister?

  4. Kathleen
    November 11, 2015, 12:00 pm

    Listening to the conversation. Sounds like a fund raiser for CAP and for Israel. Tanden allows Netanyahu to control the conversation. Not one objection on her part. He opens up with a comment about an Arab business that he knew had flooded. He went in and acted as if he was surprised that this business had flooded because they did not have a sewer system, which he called a “tunnel”

    Tanden totally let this slide and did not ask the simple question” why no sewers” in Palestinian neighborhoods.

    When Tanden ask whether Israel will still occupy Palestinian territories in “20 years” Why not start by asking in “three years” She then allows BB to link Palestinian actions with Nazi’s.

    This is tough to listen to.

    Wondering if anyone on the Mondoweiss team can find out whether donations to Center for American Progress go up after they did this fund raising event with BB

  5. Kathleen
    November 11, 2015, 12:04 pm

    A credible fact check group needs to g o through BB’s “commercial” that Tanden gives him full reign with (never objecting to anything he is saying) distorted point after distorted point Sickening.

    So want to know if CAP’s coffers grow after this BB’s very long CAP ad for Israel.

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