Jeff Handmaker

Travel bans violate freedom of movement

Despite international media attention and considerable diplomatic pressure from the Netherlands, Israel did not allow the general director of the Palestinian organization Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, to travel to the Netherlands to receive the prestigious Dutch Geuzenpenning award for human rights defenders on 13 March 2009. Israel’s travel ban on Jabarin and other human rights defenders on the basis of secret evidence violates principles for a fair trial and the basic human right of free movement, resembling the behavior of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Adri Nieuwhof and Jeff Handmaker comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

Global boycott movement marks its successes

Responding to the many calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, solidarity movements around the world have marked many successes. It is important for human rights advocates to build on this momentum and seize the opportunity to do what is within their power to try and hold Israel accountable for its abuses of human rights and other international laws. Jeff Handmaker comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Dutch bank must disinvest from rights abuses

On 26 August 2008, a group of human rights advocates attended a meeting at the offices of SNS Asset Management in Utrecht, the Netherlands. We were there to urge the bank — a full subsidiary of SNS Bank, one of the top five banks in the Netherlands — to withdraw its investments in the French Veolia Corporation because of Veolia’s direct and indirect involvement in Israel’s violations of international law in occupied East Jerusalem. Jeff Handmaker comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

'Israel's right to exist': Is it a real issue?

There are many aspects of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in urgent need of legal scrutiny as part of a much-needed critical dialogue. One such issue is Israel’s claim towards Hamas to acknowledge that it has a ‘right to exist’. This claim has not only been uncritically taken on board by the Quartet. It has become one of the top conditions to be fulfilled by Hamas for receiving aid by the Quartet and other international donors. At the risk of stating the obvious, we argue that this position lacks any basis under international law and will serve no constructive political purpose in seeking to resolve the conflict. 

Silence breeds impunity - investigations are needed

First there were allegations of illegal tactics. Now it is the illegal use of certain weapons. As Jeff Handmaker writes, such allegations are hardly new. Israel has for years been accused of both in its systematic dispossession, oppression and killing of Palestinians. However, the continued silence on the part of the international community has sent a dangerous message to Israel that it need not feel restrained in either the methods or weapons it uses in its military operations, and so it has set the bar of violence ever higher. The new level of disregard for international law granted tacit permission to Israel’s war commanders to experiment with a vast and sophisticated weaponry. 

In search of a true humanity

As Lebanon and Gaza burn and the laws of war are violated with impunity, the terrible erosion of international law represents a critical challenge for the international community. Reflecting on the South African apartheid regime’s efforts to gain supremacy in South Africa and the Southern African region, Jeff Handmaker and Bangani Ngeleza argue it is imperative that we continually raise our voices against Israel’s brazen impunity until a real and lasting ceasefire is in place, war criminals are brought to justice and the Israeli regime is held accountable for decades of repression and regional destabilisation. In doing so, we will surely find a true humanity. 

Israel must be stopped

In the early morning hours of 29 June 2006, the Israeli military ordered a massive bombardment of Qana, a village in southern Lebanon. A few days earlier, the military had dropped leaflets from the air, warning that the entire area was a potential military target. At the same time, the Israeli military continued its ongoing destruction of roads and other civilian infrastructure such as petrol stations and continued to target certain vehicles (for example, minivans and pick-up trucks). For those few who were in possession of transport and fuel, it was an almost impossible choice: flee and risk being killed on the road or stay behind and risk being killed in their homes.