The Brussels-based Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) has announced that over 100 European parliamentarians have signed its petitions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. According to the CEPR announcement:
Brussels/London – May 10, 2012 After the first week of the CEPR petition to implement human rights standards in Israeli jails for Palestinian prisoners, there are now over 100 parliamentarians from different parts of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, and from the European Parliament that have become official signatories, such as:
Barbara Lochbihler – Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) – Greens/EFA
Joanna Senyszyn – Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Vice-President of the Polish SLD party – Socialists & Democrats
Willy Meyer – Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) – GUE/NGL
Sir Robert Atkins – European Ccnservatives and Reformists (ECR)
Ivo Vajgl – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe (ALDE)
Martin McGuiness – Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, MLA, MP
Gerry Adams – Teachta Dála (TD)
Joe Costello – Minister of State, TD
Jan O’Sullivan – Minister of State, TD
The campaign comes as a result of the ongoing hunger strike of a growing number of Palestinian prisoners over the past month. At the end of 2011 there were a handfull of prisoners on strike, now there are over 1,500. The campaign aims to address the undemocratic treatment of civilians who are detained without charge or trial for indefinite amounts of time, often secluded in solitary confinement in cramped cells with little to no sunlight or food. After the release of 1 Israeli soldier in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners last autumn, there are still approximately 5,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli jails – a majority of which are civilian women and children. Apart from the illegal nature of the Israeli military occupation under international law, the treatment of these prisoners in particular must be addressed so they are allowed proper medication, food and family visits – that is what the Palestinian hunger strike is about. This is not the first time Palestinian choose the non-violent method of hunger strikes, but it is the first time that there is such international support to see their treatment improved. The petition also calls upon HRVP Catherine Ashton to intervene and put pressure on Israel to treat the prisoners according to international law. The CEPR is grateful to the parliamentarians who have signed the petition to implement human rights in Israeli jails and encourages others to join.
A post from earlier this month reported that a European Muslim Brotherhood initiative described as a “broad campaign in solidarity with the prisoners in occupation jails” was launched at the recent Palestinians in Europe conference held in Denmark.
The CEPR Web site describes the organization as follows:
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) is an independent not-for-profit organisation which has been established to promote dialogue and understanding between European, Palestinian and Arab parliamentarians and policy-makers. It seeks a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on justice and the restoration of Palestinian rights in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.
Despite its claim of independence, the CEPR is headed by Dr. Arafat Shoukri (aka Arafat Madi, Arafat Madi Shoukri) who is also the executive director of the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) in the U.K. The PRC has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood and two PRC directors are also directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), generally regarded as part of the UK. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) dominated by UK. Muslim Brotherhood groups. PRC activities are frequently promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good and part of the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas fund-raising network . PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi is also head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” Dr. Shoukri is also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) which was the main organizer of the unsuccessful Second Gaza Flotilla and which operates from the same address and has the same telephone as the PRC.
In March, a post reported that the CEPR issued a statement condemning Israel’s latest military actions in Gaza.