War on Want
|War on Want|
War on Want is an anti-poverty charity based in London that works to challenge the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice through partnership with social movements in the global South and campaigns in the UK.
War on Want does this by working in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations to empower people to fight for their rights
- running hard-hitting popular campaigns against the root causes of poverty and human rights violation
- mobilising support and building alliances for political action in support of human rights, especially workers’ rights
- raising public awareness of the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice, and empowering people to take action for change.
Report on the occupied West Bank
In March 2021, War on Want published its 50-page "Judge, Jury and Occupier" report on Israel’s military court system in the occupied West Bank. This is the preface to the report:
Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land is now in its 54th year. Throughout this time Palestinians have never stopped fighting for their inalienable rights; rights denied to them by the systemic and daily violence of occupation. This violence is manifested in settlements, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall – and in Israel’s far reaching system of military rule in the West Bank, enforced by military courts and prisons: the topic of this report.
As of January 2021, Israel holds 4,500 Palestinians as political prisoners, 450 of whom are held in administrative detention, and 140 of whom are children. Like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before them, they have either been sentenced in Israel’s military courts run entirely by Israeli military personnel; or in the case of administrative detainees, imprisoned without charge or trial. Their imprisonment ‘offences’ include possession of political pamphlets, holding political meetings, and participating in peaceful demonstrations. Children are often imprisoned on charges of throwing stones at the heavily armed soldiers invading their villages.
The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the plight of Palestinian political prisoners. Despite calls from UN experts for their release, and despite the release of hundreds of Israeli prisoners, Israel has used the pandemic as a pretext to further repress Palestinian political prisoners. Instead of releasing them, they have stopped family visits and restricted access to lawyers.
This report follows years of research and campaigning by War on Want on Israel’s system of arrest and detention. This includes our leadership in a campaign targeting British security company G4S for providing services to Israeli prisons – which, in 2016, saw G4S succumb to public pressure and sell its Israeli subsidiary. Building on this victory, this report focuses on Israel’s overarching system of arrest, detention, and military courts, of which prisons are just one part.
Palestinian human rights defenders including War on Want’s long-term partner Addameer, a West Bank-based NGO, work tirelessly in defence of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Addameer’s staff suffer the daily violence of Israeli occupation, and are specifically targeted because of their human rights work. Attacks are becoming even more extreme due to a disturbing increase in cynical disinformation campaigns aimed at Palestinian human rights organisations.
In this environment, it is even more important for overseas allies to defend the defenders. The fight against colonialism, occupation, and apartheid must be part of any commitment to upholding human rights. This is core to War on Want’s mission: from our historic opposition to apartheid in South Africa to our ongoing support for the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
The publication of this report is a part of War on Want’s commitment to exposing the human rights violations faced by the Palestinian people. Solidarity is our duty: it is our collective responsibility to make their story heard, and to foster an unrelenting groundswell of support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, until Palestine is free.
Asad Rehman, Executive Director