Grassroots Activist and Human Rights Defender Jamal Juma' Arrested
Electronic Intifada, 21 December 2009
Juma', 47 years old, was born in Jerusalem and has dedicated his life to the defense of Palestinian human rights. The main focus of his work is on empowering local communities to defend their human rights in the face of violations brought about by the occupation. He is a founding member of a number of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations and civil society networks. Juma' has been the coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign since 2002. He is widely respected for his work and has been invited to address numerous civil society and UN conferences. His articles and interviews are widely published and his work has been translated into several languages. As a highly visible figure, Juma' has never attempted to hide or disguise his activities.
Jamal Juma's is the most high profile arrest within an intensifying campaign of repression of grassroots mobilization against the wall and the settlements. Initially only arresting local activists from the villages affected by the wall, the Israeli authorities have recently begun to shift their attention to the detention of internationally-known human rights defenders such as Mohammad Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahmeh. Othman, another member of the Stop the Wall Campaign, was arrested nearly three months ago when returning from a speaking tour in Norway. After two months of interrogation, the Israeli authorities were still unable to find charges to level against Othman and therefore issued an administrative detention order so as to prevent his release. Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, a leading figure in the nonviolent struggle against the wall in Bilin, was taken from his home by masked soldiers in the middle of the night a week before Jamal was jailed.