Friday, January 15, 2010

Democracy Now! reports on release of Palestinian activists, detention of U.S. journalist

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reports on the release of Palestinian activists and human rights defenders Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman, as well as the detention by Israel of Jared Melsin, a U.S. citizen who is the chief editor of the English desk at the Ma'an News Agency. Ma'an and the BBC both have further details on this latest targeting of U.S. citizens by the Israeli government because of their activity in occupied Palestinian territory. Melsin was traveling with another U.S. citizen, Faith Rowold,who was a volunteer with the Lutheran Church. Their detention and deportation appears to be yet another aspect of the campaign of repression directed against activists, journalists, and church and aid workers who are critical of Israeli policy. In addition to the many Palestinian anti-apartheid activists and Israeli activists who have been arrested in recent months, Israeli forces have arrested and deported Eva Nováková, a Czech activist who had recently taken on the role of media coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement, as well as Ryan Olander, a U.S. citizen who was arrested for his involvement in protests against settlement expansion and house evictions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. For more on increased Israeli repression, and the international pressure required to end it, read yesterday's blog post: "Release of Jamal Juma' and Mohammad Othman demonstrates importance of international grassroots pressure."