Posted by on April 04, 2012 in Blog
On Monday, April 2, Israeli security forces once again raided the offices of Al-Quds University’s Institute of Modern Media, shutting down the office and arresting several key staff members. The crackdown – sanctioned by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security – was aimed at blocking the launch of an online multi-media community network called Hona Al-Quds (Jerusalem is Here), a project of Al-Quds University. The organization has operated as a recognized NGO for over 16 years, and has been funded – and vetted – by countless foreign and international organizations including USAID.
The raid constitutes the second Israeli attack on the project in less than two months and demonstrates an egregious violation of universal rights of free speech, free press, and academic freedom. It has been condemned by Al-Quds University, the International Press Institute, and Human Rights Watch, who warned that "These attacks send a chilling message about exercising the right to free expression."
Equally concerning, however, is the contribution of these events to the growing Israeli pressure on Jerusalem’s large Palestinian community, who have already faced evictions, home demolitions, and increasing violence and arrests. The heavy-handedness exemplified by these raids only further exacerbates tensions, and actively reverses efforts at dialogue, reconciliation, and peace.
This disturbing trend is a dangerous development in the worsening conditions of the occupied Palestinian territories, and AAI calls for an immediate end to these punitive investigations, a return of all equipment confiscated by the Israeli authorities, and the release of Al-Quds Administrative Director of Jerusalem Affairs Adel Ruished.
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