Wednesday, November 26, 2008

B'Tselem Joins Facebook (and you can too =)

I just discovered that B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has a facebook group. I'm not sure if this is a new development, or if I've just been oblivious. Either way, I encourage you to join. If you happen to be a facebook hater, I exert no pressure (and respect your position), but if you're already a member, this is a good way to dialogue and make connections.

They have a recent news column, and lots of links to related topics (most not posted by B'Tselem, just those interested). They also give an email address (mail@btselem.org) and offer to respond to any questions.

If you're not already familiar with B'Tselem's work, I strongly suggest you become so. Their website (www.btselem.org) is an excellent source of information, whether you want general information, or specific statistics related to home demolition, the separation barrier, Israeli settlements, casualty counts, or related topics.

Here's the blurb from their facebook group, which gives an idea of who they are, and what they do:
B'Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The name means "in the image of God" in Hebrew, conveying that we are all born equal.

_________________Our Intentions_______________
We endeavor to educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the OPT, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.

As an Israeli organization, B'Tselem acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the OPT and to ensure that its government, which rules these territories, protects the human rights of its residents and complies with its obligations under international law.

________________Shooting Back_________________
In this video project that has been running for the last two years, we distribute video cameras among Palestinians that live in areas of especially high conflict in the OPT, so they can film violations on human rights. The films are used as court evidence. Also, they have become a non-violent weapon that we use to advocate justice, to protect the rights of Palestinians in the OPT, and to show how life under the occupation really is.

_______________Getting Involved__________________
Sign up at our website to get RSS feeds or bi-weekly updates by email (Hebrew or English) on new publications and recent incidents B'Tselem has dealt with.

We'll be happy to answer any questions - by email or here on the wall.
One interesting element of the facebook group (which I haven't found on their website) is a link to videos. Among others, there's the July film clip of a soldier firing a rubber bullet at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian (the event that inspired Amal's "Inappropriate Behavior: the Art of Shooting Blindfolded Palestinians," which I posted back in August). Here's the blurb B'Tselem posted:
On 20 July 2008, B'Tselem was given a video cassette a Palestinian youngster filmed through the window of her home, in Ni’lin. The footage, filmed on 7 July, shows a soldier firing a rubber-coated bullet at a handcuffed, blindfolded Palestinian from almost point-blank range. Several security forces were present, among them a lieutenant-colonel who was holding the Palestinian’s arm when the shot was fired. B'Tselem immediately published the footage and sent a copy to the Military Police Investigation Unit. The media reported that following the airing of the video, the army opened an investigation, and that the Judea and Samaria Division Commander had known about the incident but had taken no action in the matter.

The video was shot by SalamAmira, a Palestinian high school student, from her family home window, in the village of Ni’lin. The ‘Amira family did not earn any material reward for the video, but paid a high price for its brave act. Three days later, the family’s head, Jamal ‘Amira, was arrested at a protest in his olive grove, and was detained for over three weeks.

Following an appeal by Adv. Gabi Laski, Jamal ‘Amira was released on bail. The military appeal judge strongly criticized the handling of the case by the military prosecution, and wrote that: "It is doubtful that the evidence in the case will lead to a conviction". The judge treated seriously the family’s allegation that the arrest was official revenge for the video’s release.
The family is still struggling to pay legal costs.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

We're really pleased to see that you're excited about our Facebook group. Do visit regularly!

On Dec. 10th we'll be holding a virtual event on Facebook to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our CEO and Head of Research will be available to answer any and all questions you may have - this is your chance to ask all those little questions you always had and never felt comfortable mailing us about.

We'll update on the details towards the event.

Keep up the good work!

Michelle Bubis
Communications
B'Tselem

Jordan and Marisa said...

Sweet.