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Appeal of the Israeli Action Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees

To change routine denial of parole to long-serving Palestinian 'security prisoners,' commutie the sentences of long-serving prisoners including those holding Israeli citizenship, equate the conditions of incarceration of those classified as 'security prisoners,' equating them to those of other prisoners

Israeli Action Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees

31 Aug. 2005

The Committee is an Israeli organization, which firmly believes that there can be no peace between Israel and Palestine so long as thousands of Palestinian so-called 'security prisoners' and hundreds of administrative detainees continue to be held in Israeli prisons.

Members of the Committee believe that the Palestinian prisoners can and should play a significant role in advancing the peace process and in spreading the message that co-existence in the Middle East is indeed possible - but only if Israeli society pays attention to their hardships and puts an end to the systematic institutional discrimination against them - which exists first at the judicial level, and later on with regard to their imprisonment conditions and parole opportunities.

Members of the Committee are in close contact with a significant number of long-serving Palestinian prisoners, imprisoned even before the signing of the Oslo Accords, who strongly believe in a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Therefore,

The committee members have made it their goal to:

- Work to change the existing norm, whereby parole boards routinely deny parole to long-serving Palestinian 'security prisoners' after they finish serving two-thirds of their sentence;
- Act towards commuting the sentences of long-serving prisoners, especially those whose cases the government of Israel refuses to even discuss with the Palestinian Authority (e.g., prisoners who hold Israeli citizenship);
- Advance a public discussion within Israeli society regarding the problem of the Palestinian prisoners, raising public awareness to their cause;
- Bring about a change in the incarceration conditions of those classified as 'security prisoners,' equating them to those of other prisoners.

In order to achieve these goals, the Committee is already operating, and will continue to operate, both in the public and the legal arenas. In its first year of activity, the Committee aims to represent several Palestinian 'security prisoners' who have already spent over 15 years in jail. The Committee will ask, on their behalf, that their sentences be commuted, and will represent them in parole board hearings. In addition, the Committee intends to launch a public campaign, which will include writing newspaper articles and holding at least one academic conference on the subject.

In order to advance its activities, the Committee needs some financial support. A large part of the activity is done by volunteers, yet the expenses involved in legal representation demand resources. The Committee’s legal dealings are coordinated by Adv. Michael Sfard of Tel Aviv.

Please help us achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Please distribute this appeal as widely as possible, write letters and articles about the problem of the Palestinian prisoners, and also, please help us cover the expenses of our activities.