Jerry Merriman reviews the case of the Holy Land Five – five Palestinian-American men convicted in November 2008 of giving humanitarian aid to Palestinians that indirectly benefited Hamas – and writes, “Not one of the five humanitarians should have spent a single day in prison. Their good names must be cleared, and they must be released from prison. It cannot happen too soon.”
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A rally for the Holy Land Five in New York City, October 25, 2012. The Supreme Court has denied the Holy Land Five appeal and will not be issuing a decision in the case. This almost definitely marks the end of the legal appeal process. The Holy Land Five — Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad el-Mazain, Ghassan […]
On Thursday, Holy Land Five supporters rallied outside Barack Obama’s presidential campaign headquarters in Chicago. (Photo: Roger Beltrami) “Ultimately the only recourse is likely a political one,” attorney Stanley Cohen tweeted about the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) case yesterday. He may be right. Of course I (and Stanley, I am sure) […]
Holy Land Foundation Press Conference from Sparrow Media on Vimeo. On Monday the Supreme Court is expected to decide if it will hear an appeal that could overturn the conviction of the co-founders and chief staff of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based humanitarian organization and once was the largest Muslim charity in the United […]
Its been 4 years since he has been in prison. 2 years since I last hugged him. I hate it when I think too much. I was thinking about what could have been. How it could have been. At my graduation, I could have been able to hug him, like all my other colleagues. My […]
My friend Noor Elashi, the daughter of imprisoned Holy Land Foundation for Human Relief and Development (HLF) chairman Ghassan Elashi (also my friend), just arrived in New Orleans. She’s there to watch the long-awaited appeals of her father and the rest of the Holy Land Five, Palestinian-American men convicted of providing charity to Palestinians. Federal prosecutors […]
In July 2004, federal agents raided the homes of five Palestinian-American families, arresting the fathers, who had been leaders of a Texas-based charity called the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Until 9/11, the HLF was the largest Muslim charity in the United States, but their trials resulted in very lengthy sentences for the men—for “supporting terrorism” by donating to charities in Palestine that the U.S. government itself had long worked with. The men remain in prison. Miko Peled’s new book “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five” tells the story of the landmark case and the families it impacted. In this excerpt he tells the story of Shukri Abu-Baker.
HLF co-founder Ghassan Elashi: “We at the Holy Land Foundation were giving hope and providing the basic essentials of life to the Palestinians, basic essentials—oil, rice, flour. And what was the occupation giving them? The occupation was providing them with death and destruction. And then we are turned criminals. That is irony.” On Wednesday, December […]
After Ala Wafeth Nadan, 28, was killed Wednesday by an Israeli security guard at Qalandia checkpoint while allegedly holding a knife, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the incident appeared to resemble past instances in which Israel used excessive force. “What is clear is that such an incident should not have ended with a fatality.”
Azmi Doghmush says he got a phone call from an Israeli intelligence officer giving tenants of his apartment building five minutes to evacuate before it was destroyed Sunday. “I was screaming hysterically. Five minutes is not enough to pick up even a pencil, but the officer insisted that the countdown is running.”
The underground excavations carried out by Israeli settlers beneath Palestinian buildings in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan have caused landslides following the last winter storm. One slide has undermined a wall on a playground, and could be life-threatening.
On Wednesday Israeli police removed Coptic priests holding a sit-in at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City and arrested one. The clergy were protesting a renovation dispute that arose because the historic site’s roof is nearing collapse.
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh writes, “For many of us who are Palestinians, we fight and sacrifice for those things we have yet to touch, experience, or see. In the 27 years of my life I have never smelled or gazed upon land that was once Palestinian and now part of Israel. Therefore it is through the eyes of others that I tell this story. Recently some friends managed to obtain much coveted permits to visit Israel, which in Gaza is commonly referred to as ‘our occupied lands.'”
Haaretz reports: “A group of around 30 demonstrators from the left-wing Jewish group “If Not Now” gathered Monday in front of the office of Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to protest Israel’s use of deadly force against thousands of Palestinian demonstrators on the Israel-Gaza border in recent weeks.”
Christian leaders in Jerusalem announced Sunday they will close one of Christianity’s most sacred sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in protest of an Israeli bill targeting church-owned lands, and the repeal of the church’s tax-exempt status. “This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe,” Christian leaders said in a statement.
Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israel’s travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS). Rabbi Alissa Wise: “We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasn’t even able to get as far as checking my bag.”
“[Palestinians] have been living here for ages. Like, forty, fifty, some of them one hundred years here,” says activist Guy Hircefeld in the Jordan Valley. “And suddenly, fucking Jewish settlers are coming and saying ‘That’s mine, you don’t allowed to come here anymore. And the army protects them.”
AFP reports: “When wedding planner Salama Al Odi was blocked by Israel from importing a limousine for his business in Gaza, he was not dissuaded. Instead, he built his own – from five other cars.”
Ma‘an reports: “Israeli authorities have banned 5-year-old Ibrahim from visiting his father, Palestinian Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fatah Abu Fanunah, in prison, Abu Fanunah’s wife said to Voice of Prisoners (Sawt al-Asra) radio on Sunday. Umm Mahmoud told the radio station that she has also been banned from visiting her husband ever since he was detained on Oct. 22, 2015, calling the Israeli policy of preventing family visits a means to pressure Palestinian prisoners.”
Ma’an reports: “Israeli forces shot and injured at least five Palestinians and detained three others in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Saturday, as Israeli forces continued to impose a strict siege on the village of Sair after an Israeli man was shot and injured while driving his car around midnight near the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa.”
Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, Kufur Qaddoum town, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, and assaulted the weekly protesters, wounding two siblings with live rounds. The army also sprayed many homes with wastewater mixed with chemicals.
IMEMC reports: Monday at dawn, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, and killed two Palestinians, identified as Laith Ashraf Manasra, 25, and Ahmad Abu al-‘Aish, 30. Army sharpshooters also occupied the rooftops of several homes in the refugee camp and shot and injured 34 Palestinians with live rounds. 88 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 1st.
On October 16th, a large crowd of Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus surrounded the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb and proceeded to light the shrine on fire. The attack elicited widespread outrage and for Israelis it seemed to indicate yet again that Palestinian violence is motivated by anti-Jewish hatred. The reality, however, is far different than the Israeli narrative would seem to suggest. The attack had almost nothing to do with religion, but instead how the Israeli military and settlement movement have used religion to expand their control over Palestinian land and holy places.
Yesh Din petitioned Israel to evacuate the settlement of Adei Ad, east of Shilo. Instead, Israel intends to legalize Adei Ad and four other illegal outposts, which contain settlers who have committed violence against Palestinians
An average of two Israeli civilians per week have sustained injuries from Palestinians so far this year, and one was killed. In the same time period, an average of 39 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces per week, with 13 killed