Free Issa Amro #FreePoliticalPrisoners
New York City, NY (January 14, 2021) — Following a four-year legal battle in Israeli military courts, Palestinian activist Issa Amro has been convicted on six counts related to his activism in the occupied West Bank, including in his hometown of Hebron.
Issa Amro should be free. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians resisting Israeli apartheid. The international community must speak out against Israel’s intimidation and imprisoning of human rights defenders. As Amnesty International reports, the charges against him are “baseless” and “politically motivated.”
In 2017, four Senators and 32 Representatives of the U.S. Congress, and members of the U.K. parliament, sent letters calling for Israeli authorities to reconsider the charges against Mr. Amro. Mr. Amro’s Israeli lawyer stated that “the fact that in this case he was released dozens of times over the years without any indictment, and suddenly an indictment is served that collects all the conduct for which he was released, absolutely seems to be a matter of political persecution.”
The charges against Issa Amro stem from a context of long-standing anti-Palestinian persecution by the Israeli government. In the past 50 years of Israeli occupation, an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli security forces – constituting approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population. And the rate of conviction for Palestinians in Israel’s military courts is a staggering 99.74%, according to the military’s own statistics.
As a report from Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem details: The military judges and prosecutors are always Israeli. They are soldiers in uniform, enforcing martial law on the civilian Palestinian population living under military rule. The people who take part in administering the occupation are on one side, while the regime’s subjects are on the other. Military courts are not an impartial, neutral arbitrator. They are firmly entrenched on one side of this unequal balance.
When an occupying army is both judge and jury for the occupied, where does one go for justice?
Jewish Voice for Peace supports the rights of Palestinians to protest their inhumane conditions. Issa Amro is one of many Palestinian activists who are being prosecuted on politically motivated charges. If he is convicted by an Israeli court, he is undoubtedly a political prisoner.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 500,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.