In the early hours of Thursday 19 September, Israeli military forces raided the Ramallah office of War on Want’s partner Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, taking laptops, hard drives, books and memory sticks belonging to the organisation. This equipment was used by Addameer to carry out its bold work advocating for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners and exposing how Israel's system of arrest and detention is an integral part of its political repression of the Palestinian people.
Addameer staff are regularly targeted with defamation and smear campaigns, travel bans, restrictions on lawyers’ access to clients, and arbitrary arrest. The raid of Addameer’s office is an escalation of this harassment, and has come at a moment when the organisation’s work is more critical than ever. Addameer is currently advocating for the rights of several political prisoners on hunger strike, protesting inhumane conditions and administrative detention, and working to raise awareness about the case of Samer Arbeed, a Palestinian detained by Israeli forces who was tortured so severely during his interrogation that he ended up unconscious, with injuries including broken ribs and a failed kidney. This case received international attention, and shone a light on Israel’s regular use of torture against Palestinian political prisoners.
Working under increasingly challenging conditions, Addameer has been served a gag order by the Israeli occupation forces, prohibiting publication of names of several detainees under arrest and interrogation. Addameer’s own legal unit coordinator, Ayman Nasser, was arrested by Israeli forces a year ago, and has been held in administrative detention since then on the basis of secret evidence, and without charge or trial.
These current events have piled more pressure on to Addameer's already overstretched staff, on top of their day-to-day work monitoring the dire situation of the 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners held by the Israeli state, 425 of whom are held in administrative detention, and 190 of whom are children. Israel's entire system of arrest and detention violates numerous elements of international law, including that civilians should not be tried in military courts (see more details on Palestinian political prisoners and their struggle for justice here).
War on Want values the critical work of Addameer and other Palestinian human rights organisations in standing up for their rights. We know that this attack on Addameer is an attack on the values it works towards, which are our shared goals of promoting human rights, and of calling out the systems that underpin poverty and inequality, including colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid.
For decades War on Want has been at the forefront of campaigns for Palestinian rights, as a part of our larger commitment to standing in solidarity with our partners around the world, fighting human rights violations and oppression.