Daoud al-Ghoul, 32, the director of youth programs for the Health Work Committees in Jerusalem and the Kanaan Network of Palestinian civil society organizations and a prominent community organizer, was arrested by Israeli occupation military forces on 25 June. Al-Ghoul has been subject to repeated attacks on his freedom and ability to move and live in his homeland, being issued an Israeli military order displacing him from Jerusalem, his home and the city of his birth, on 30 November 2014 followed by an order banning him from the West Bank a week later, and then an order banning him from travel abroad until October 2015.
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Al-Ghoul’s detention will be up for review and probable extension at the end of this week. No reasons for the detention have been made public, nor were any reasons ever given for the multiple bans on his movement and his forcible displacement from his home; all were done by arbitrary military order. The orders were renewed upon their expiration in April and June of this year. Al-Ghoul is a resident of the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan; he was forced to live in Haifa following his expulsion from Jerusalem and the West Bank.
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The attacks on Al-Ghoul began shortly after his return from Brussels, Belgium, where he presented on 17 November 2014 to the European Parliament on the increasing Israeli restrictions and infringements on the work of Palestinian health workers and organizations in Jerusalem, as well as the ongoing ethnic cleansing and threats to Palestinian existence in the city.
It appears that the targeting of Al-Ghoul came in retaliation for his exposure of the home demolitions, large-scale colony building, stripping of IDs and residency and ethnic cleansing to which Palestinians in Jerusalem are subjected by the Israeli military occupation. Al-Ghoul is an internationally renowned human rights defender who has also participated in the World Social Forum and in numerous international arenas to advocate for Palestinian rights and freedom.
The Jerusalem HWC office where Al-Ghoul works was forcibly closed by the Israeli military in May. The Health Work Committees (HWC) is a non-governmental health and development organization, established in 1985 to meet the health care needs of the Palestinian population living under occupation. Its Shuafat office in East Jerusalem housed the group’s school health prgramme, which since 1990 has provided medical exams, preventative screenings, health education and vaccinations to Palestinian students in more than 62 schools in Jerusalems.
The arrest of Al-Ghoul is another escalation of the attempts to silence this youth leader and human rights defender. Human rights defenders are defined by the United Nations as those who, individually or in association with others, work to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Al-Ghoul’s work clearly falls within this mandate, and his forcible displacement and arrest violates the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
At the time of his forcible displacement from Jerusalem, Al-Ghoul said “We are not afraid. We are fighting for our future and we have nothing to lose. We refuse this decision. It is our homeland. It is our basic right to live in our houses in Jerusalem. We must stop Israel and their racist policies of ethnic cleansing, collective punishment and forced displacement in Jerusalem. I call on the international community to act.”
The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits individual or collective transfer of persons under occupation from one area of occupied territory to another. This forced expulsion comes following the stripping of Jerusalem ID’s of elected Palestinian Legislative Council members Mohammad Abu Tir, Ahmad Atoun, Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafah; as well as the stripping of the Jerusalem residency of Nadia Abu Jamal, the widow of Ghassan Abu Jamal.
Interview with Daoud Al-Ghoul:
The Health Work Committees condemned the arrest of al-Ghoul and “called on all local and international human rights organizations to act quickly in order to secure his immediate release.”
1. Demand the release of Daoud al-Ghoul. Sign on to this letter demanding his immediate release.
2. Call for the European Union to take action. The targeting of Al-Ghoul appears to be in retaliation for his testimony before the European Parliament. The EU cannot be silent on this case. Click here to call for action.
3. Demand an end to the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Join over 300 civil society organizations and trade unions to demand “No Association with Occupation!”: http://freepalestine.eu/
4. Protest at the Israeli consulate or embassy for Daoud Ghoul and Palestinian prisoners. Bring posters and flyers and hold a protest, or join a protest with this important information. Hold a community event or discussion, or include Daoud’s case in your next event about Palestine and social justice.
5. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Don’t buy Israeli goods, and campaign to end investments in corporations that profit from the occupation. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.
I write today to demand the immediate release of Daoud al-Ghoul, a Palestinian human rights defender from Silwan, East Jerusalem. I also demand the immediate lifting of the orders barring him from his hometown of Jerusalem, from the West Bank and from international travel.
Al-Ghoul is an internationally renowned human rights defender and youth leader who coordinates programs for the Health Work Committees in Jerusalem. It is clear that he was attacked for his advocacy for Palestinian rights in Jerusalem, expelled from his home only weeks after testifying before the European Parliament on the attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem.
I also demand an end to the policies that Al-Ghoul has exposed: the home demolitions, residence revocations, mass arrests, arbitrary detention, and large-scale colony building against Palestinians in Jerusalem, aimed at emptying Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents and erasing its Palestinian character.
Al-Ghoul’s forcible displacement and arrest violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
I demand his immediate release and an end to the targeting of this Palestinian human rights defender.