Visit by a Delegation from the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and
The Committee of the Victims’ Families of October 2000.
The Media Review Network (MRN), the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), the Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG), the End Occupation Campaign (EOC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcome the eminent group of lawyers and representatives of the families of the victims of the October 2000 massacre of Israeli Arabs by the security forces of the illegal state of Apartheid Israel. 13 defenceless Arab Citizens of Apartheid Israel were brutally gunned down by the Apartheid Israeli Police. Hundreds of others were injured. Earlier this year the Apartheid Israel’s Attorney –General informed the families of the victims that none of the policemen will stand trial because of a lack of evidence. In stark contrast to this, the official Commission of Inquiry concluded that the use of snipers and live ammunition by the police was illegal and that the demonstrators posed no real threat to their lives.
The Delegation will be hosted jointly by the Foundation for Human Rights and the Legal Resource Centre
The Media Review Network will be meeting the Delegation on Sunday, 20th April 2008.
We call upon the general public to show solidarity with our visitors by turning up in numbers at the OR Tambo International Airport. The group will be arriving at 8:00 am on Sunday, 20th April 2008. Also, they will be arriving at Cape Town International (Domestic Arrivals) on Tuesday, 22nd April 2008, at 21:00 pm.
For all media enquiries please contact our Media Review Network office at the above contact numbers.
Media Review Network
072 295 0088
Haifa, Israel – 17 April 2008
The High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel * The Committee of the Victims’ Families of October 2000 * Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel Advocacy Visit to South Africa: Truth, Justice and Accountability for the
October 2000 Families
Shawqi Khatib: “This is a first step towards the internationalization of the case, and it is no coincidence that it will begin in South Africa”
From 19-25 April 2008, the Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel, five members of Adalah’s Board of Directors and staff, and eight representatives of the Committee of the Victims’ Families of October 2000 will travel to South Africa for an advocacy visit to seek international support for the group’s demand for truth, justice and accountability for the October 2000 families. This visit marks the beginning of a series of international advocacy initiatives to implement the decision made by the High Follow-up Committee, the Committee of the Victims’ Families, and Adalah following and in response to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz’s decision to close the October 2000 killings cases.
AG Mazuz announced in January 2008 that none of the police officers or commanders involved in the fatal shootings of 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel in October 2000 and the injury of hundreds of others will face criminal indictment. His decision, stressing the lack of sufficient evidence to file indictments, stands in stark contrast to the conclusions of the Official Commission of Inquiry into the October 200036(the “Or Commission”) issued in September 2003. The Or Commission clearly concluded that the use of snipers and live ammunition by the police and security forces was illegal and that the demonstrators posed no immediate and real threat to their lives.
The delegation to South Africa will meet with South African officials, prominent lawyers, academics, and victims’ activist groups as well as members of and experts on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was established in 1995 and heard evidence from victims and perpetrators of apartheid. The delegates hope to learn from the experiences of the families of victims of apartheid in South Africa and to use these to identify new avenues of international advocacy to achieve full accountability and an end to the culture of impunity. The visit is being organized and hosted in partnership by South African organizations – the Foundation for Human Rights and the Legal Resources Centre – and Adalah.
Shortly before the visit, Mr. Shawqi Khatib stated that, “This is a first step towards the internationalization of this case, which for the first time is taking place within the framework
of a collective, representative political decision made by the Arab public. It is no coincidence that it will begin in South Africa, which swept away the racist Apartheid regime, along with all its symbolism.”
According to Mr. Hassan Asleh, the spokesperson for the Committee of the October 2000 Victims’ Families, “We are determined to prosecute the criminals through all legitimate means until they are given their due punishment, and to achieve justice and accountability. We will do everything in our power to make this visit a gateway, to let the world hear the voices of the victims of October 2000 and the voice of the oppressed among the Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice and discrimination at the hands of the State of Israel.”
The delegation is comprised of:
Mr. Shawqi Khatib, Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
From the Committee of the Victims’ Families (October 2000): Mr. Hassan Asleh, spokesperson; Mrs. Jamileh Asleh; Mr. Tarab Yazbak; Ms. Jamila Akawi; Mr. Abd el-Moniem Abu Salah; Mr. Ebrahim Jabarin; Mr. Fuad Ghanayim; and Mr. Abbas Zaidan
From Adalah: Mr. Marwan Dwairy, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Mr. Mahmoud Yazbak, Board of Directors; Attorney Hassan Jabareen, General Director; Ms. Rina Rosenberg, International Advocacy Director; and Attorney Orna Kohn.
Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is an independent human rights organization. It works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Visit our website at http://www.adalah.org/eng/index.php.
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International Advocacy Director, English Media