Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Boston Activists Slam Israeli Human Rights Violations against Palestinians

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Boston Activists Slam Israeli Human Rights Violations against Palestinians

Article excerpt

Boston Activists Slam Israeli Human Rights Violations Against Palestinians

On the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, a group of Boston activists charges Israel with blatant and serious human rights violations. In fact, the group accuses the Jewish state of abrogating most of the declaration's provisions, including the torture, arbitrary arrest, oppression, discrimination and land expropriation of Palestinians.

Activists held placards, each citing one of the 50 major Israeli violations of the declaration in Dec. 10 vigils outside the Israeli Consulate to New England, in Boston's Park Square, and later in Government Center. Each poster listed one of the provisions of the declaration and then explained how Israel was in violation. Speaking into a bullhorn, every marcher in turn read the violations listed on his or her sign.

Nancy Murray of the Boston Committee on the Middle East, one of the groups taking part in the protest, said, "We have 50 signs to reflect each of these 50 reasons."

For instance, the group charged Israel with four violations of Article 5 of the declaration, which states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The protesters charged "Israel has legalized torture and uses it routinely in interrogations, even against children." They also stated that Palestinians have died under interrogation and in Israeli custody; that Palestinians face inhuman conditions in Israel's prisons and that prisoners, including children, have been denied visits from relatives.

Israel was also accused of denying Palestinians the right to their own nationality, with interfering with religious observances by preventing Palestinians under 30 from participating in the pilgrimage to Mecca and preventing Muslims in the occupied territories from praying in mosques in Jerusalem and Hebron. In addition, Palestinians face destruction of their homes and property, as well as land confiscation and expulsions from Jerusalem.

During the demonstration, a staffer from the Israeli Consulate accepted a letter addressed to Consul General to New England Yitzhak Levanon from The Coalition for Palestinian Rights. The letter urged Israel to "respect the human rights of the Palestinian people as a necessary and long overdue step toward the achievement of peace, justice and genuine co-existence in the region." In addition, the letter charged that the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention have been denied to Palestinians under occupation. …

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