Free Mahmoud Nawajaa!

In a night raid, on 30th July, tens of Israeli occupation soldiers stormed the home of Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), near Ramallah, handcuffing, blindfolding and taking him away from his wife and three young children. This represents a significant escalation in Israeli actions against the BDS movement.

Please support the BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality by emailing your MP with a version of the following message (text adapted from an original by the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign). Be sure to include your first and last name, a location address and a phone number to contact you; or they may not respond.

We are delighted to report that, as a result of international pressure, Mahmoud has been freed.


Dear….

Please take urgent action to secure the release of human rights defender Mahmoud Nawajaa. 

On the 30th July at 3:30am, Israeli forces arrested Mahmoud from his home near Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). They stormed his house, blindfolded and handcuffed him, and took him away from his wife and three young children. No charges or evidence of criminal activity have been presented against Mahmoud, yet he remains in administrative detention in Israel. 

Mahmoud Nawajaa is the General Coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). BNC is the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society, and leads the peaceful global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom, justice and equality. 

Mahmoud’s arrest comes at a time when Palestinian civil society is calling for effective accountability measures by the international community – including New Zealand parliamentarians – to prevent Israel’s planned de jure annexation of 30% of the occupied West Bank (and end the de facto annexation and system of apartheid already in place). 

On the day of his arrest, Mahmoud – who is a resident of the occupied Palestinian West Bank – was forcibly transferred to the Jalameh prison in Israel. He remains detained here away from his home. This transfer constitutes an act of unlawful deportation, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Articles 49 and 147), and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 8). 

Mahmoud Nawajaa is far from being the only Palestinian subjected to the Israeli authorities’ practice of arbitrary arrest, detention, and imprisonment. Israel currently holds in its jails approximately 4,700 Palestinians for alleged offences against its “security”. This includes hundreds of children, and also those held without any charges or evidence against them being kept in administrative detention. 

In the face of the COVID crisis, Israeli authorities have disregarded the call of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on all governments to release “every person detained without sufficient legal basis,” including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views. 

As a leading BDS activist, Mahmoud Nawajaa is without doubt a human rights defender as defined in the EU Guidelines: Mahmoud has been promoting universally recognised human rights, in particular the rights to self-determination, non-discrimination and equality, as well as the right to return to one’s country, by strictly nonviolent, anti-racist BDS campaigning. 

Israel’s arrests of human rights defenders, like Mahmoud, is to a large extent a result of the failure of world powers to apply the effective accountability measures they have at their disposal to end Israel’s impunity and ensure its respect of IHL and Palestinian human rights. 

With this in mind, I would like to kindly ask you to use your position as an MP to: 

• Call on the New Zealand Government to take all actions at its disposal to ensure Israel’s immediate release of Palestinian human rights defender Mahmoud Nawajaa. 

• Click here to tweet this statement (or something similar) to publicly condemn Israel for its policy of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders who, like Mahmoud, are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention for their active defence of the human rights of the Palestinian people.

I would be very grateful if you could let me know how you plan to respond to this request.

Thank you.

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