Tag Archives: Geoffrey Bindman

British Labour MP: “No justice in Israeli legal sytem. Palestinian children found guilty on flimsy evidence.”

Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign's Sara Apps in Parliament last night.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Sara Apps in Parliament last night.

In the House of Commons last night Wigan’s Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) described how she found herself disturbed by a recent visit to an Israeli military court after seeing how “Palestinian children were treated” and how they were found “guilty on flimsy evidence”. She said there was “no justice in the (Israeli legal) system”. Judging by Nandy’s articles she is no friend of Israel anyway.

The event was commemorating one year since the publication of Children in Military Custody, a report compiled by nine lawyers on a UK Foreign Office funded trip to the West Bank. The nine lawyers reported on:

1. The formal differences affecting Palestinian and Israeli children respectively in Israel’s criminal justice process and

2. The welfare of Palestinian child suspects.

The lawyers hard at work. Jude Lanchin is on the left. (http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/background/)

The lawyers hard at work. Jude Lanchin is on the left. (http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/background/)

Last night’s event was held to review whether the situation had improved for Palestinian child suspects since last year. You wouldn’t be shocked to hear that the answer given by Jude Lanchin was “not much”.

Lanchin, one of the nine lawyers and who, herself, works for Bindmans solicitors, said that apart from two military orders nothing much had changed on the ground for Palestinian child suspects. She highlighted the main procedural differences still affecting Palestinian and Israeli children respectively in the criminal justice process (see page 7 of the report).

During the Q&A I asked Ms Lanchin whether the procedural differences in the criminal justice process between Israeli and Palestinian child suspects could possibly be attributed to the difference in the nature of offences committed by Israeli and Palestinian children with Palestinian children being mainly arrested for stone throwing; a security/terrorist type offence that can kill and maim Israelis.

Unbelievably, Lanchin responded that there was too little evidence of death or injury caused by stone throwing. As the nine lawyer committee reported last year (see para 46):

We were grateful to receive a response to a comprehensive list of enquiries from the Israeli Government; however, the evidence was limited to one stone-throwing incident in September 2011 which caused the death of an adult and a child, and sight of a photograph of a man with fairly severe facial injuries.

“The evidence was limited” to two deaths? How many more do these lawyers want?

This is the same argument put forward when Israel is accused of acting disproportionately in defending itself against Kassam rockets that have killed relatively few Israelis but which are, still, deadly.

Stones, like Kassam rockets, kill and maim. Ask the family of the murdered “adult and child”: Asher Palmer and his infant son, Yonatan.

Asher Palmer and his son both murdered by a Palestinian stone-thrower.

Asher Palmer and his son both murdered by a Palestinian stone-thrower.

The report also criticises Israel’s welfare treatment of Palestinian child suspects. However, the evidence relied on by the nine lawyer committee is both mainly anonymous AND provided by organisations traditionally hostile to Israel like Breaking The Silence, Btselem and Defence for Children International Palestine, to name but a few.

A main criticism of Israel in the report is Israel’s arrest of Palestinian child suspects very late at night. Israel’s Ministry of Justice responded that “nighttime arrests are necessary for security” (see paras 51 and 52 of the report). The report recommends that a summons should be used instead, but the Ministry of Justice replied that this is not feasible.

Israeli police or soldiers entering a Palestinian neighbourhood during the day to make arrests would have major security risks. As ever, Israel is criticised whatever it does.

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, of Bindmans solicitors (Jude Lanchin’s employer), was also on hand last night to condemn Israel as usual. He spoke of “Israel committing outrageous and illegal acts, yet getting away with it” and said it was all part of Israel’s strategy “to maintain the occupation and prevent a Palestinian state being created”.

In summary, the self elected jury of nine lawyers who put the initial report together last year did so while shamefully accepting at face value anonymous evidence from organisations traditionally hostile to Israel while rejecting the legitimate concerns of Israel’s Ministry of Justice.

However, it was the presence of another parliamentarian last night, which really spoke volumes: Jenny “Israel won’t be here forever” Tonge.

Tonge was sat next to Jude Lanchin while Lanchin repeatedly referred to the help that Tonge was offering the nine lawyer committee, especially in trying to get questions asked in Parliament about Israel.

If there was ever evidence of the contempt of court in which this nine lawyer committee should now be held, what more does one need than this?

PSC brings allegations of Israel torturing children to the National Union of Teachers.

Photo on flyer for last night's Palestinian Child Prisoners event held at NUT.

Photo on flyer for last night's Palestinian Child Prisoners event held at NUT.

Israel hate came to the National Union of Teachers last night when the PSC was allowed to hold one of its meetings at the NUT’s sumptuous Hamilton House HQ in Euston, London.

About 80 teachers heard PSC Honorary President Betty Hunter call for a boycott of security firm G4S because of its work with Israel. G4S is tasked with securing the Olympics. Imagine the chaos in the UK this summer if the PSC had its way.

Chairing the event was Geoffrey Bindman of Bindman’s solicitors and the event was opened by Kevin Courtney, the Deputy General Secretary of the NUT, who welcomed us.

The title of the event was Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted: Palestinian Child Prisoners and the main speaker was Gerard Horton of Defence for Children International – Palestine Section who presented us with his organisation’s just released report Bound, Blindfolded & Convicted: Children held in military detention.

Horton had recently presented a similar talk at this year’s NUT annual conference.

Here is the 144 page report which took four years to compile. The report was based on interviews with 311 Palestinian children mainly aged from 14 to 17 (116 were 14-15 and 176 were 16-17).

97% of the testimonies were by males. Most arrests were for alleged stone throwing.

The report also contains 25 individual case studies of alleged bad treatment and/or torture by Israel.

The range of common complaints of the 311 included hand ties (95%), blindfolds (90%), physical violence (75%), detention inside Israel in violation of article 76 (63%), arrested between midnight and 5am (60%), confession during interrogation (58%), threats (57%), verbal abuse and/or humiliation (54%), strip searched (33%), transferred on floor of vehicle (32%), signed/shown documents written in Hebrew (29%), solitary confinement (12%).

So either Israel has a lot to answer for in its treatment of Palestinian children or someone somewhere is making a lot of money at the taxpayers’ expense producing what amounts to nothing more than anti-Israel propaganda.

Here’s some information about Defence for Children International – Palestine Section courtesy of NGO Monitor:

Its revenues in 2008 were $1,084,357. Known support includes a 600,000 Euro grant from the EU for the period 2009-2012 for a project called “Promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children affected by armed conflict and occupation.” It is receiving $639,000 from Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Holland and £12,500 from the UK. It is an active supporter and promoter of boycott campaigns against Israel. It supported the Goldstone Report. It published a list of 352 children who died during Operation Cast Lead but some of them have been identified by B’Tselem as combatants. It continues to promote the libel of a “Jenin massacre” on its website. It calls for Israel to recognise the “right of return” for Palestinians.

The main problem with the report is that, unless I am missing something, you cannot properly identify any of the 311 who gave testimony. There is also an interview with an Israeli soldier from Breaking The Silence where the interviewee is merely known as “Soldier”.

Last night Gerard Horton quoted from Breaking The Silence’s own website, a website that, again, contains anonymous testimony from Israeli soldiers.

But surely, with the alleged offences being so serious some people, at least, need to be named. As a solicitor Geoffrey Bindman, himself, would acknowledge that the report lacks credibility and wouldn’t stand up in a proper court of law.

Gerard Horton seemed to be very pleased with himself that testimonies from 311 people had been taken. But even if the report was based on the testimonies of 3,110 people the result is the same if they are anonymous.

After his short talk Gerard Horton showed us this Defence for Children International propaganda clip starring both himself and anti-Zionist activist Jeff Halper who wishes to boycott Israel out of existence. We  are shown Palestinian children with bruised eyes and swollen wrists allegedly inflicted by Israeli soldiers, but who really knows the truth behind the bruises and swellings.

On her way out one of the teachers told me that Israel is acting like the Nazis did. It’s a frightening prospect if any of your children are being taught by her.

In the meantime NGOs like DCI- PS need to be producing properly substantiated reports. Only then can the quote by Mark Regev, that Gerard Horton is so keen on, that “The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors” be tested with reference to Israel.

Otherwise what is the point of this NGO being heavily financed by us, the taxpayer? And what is a union like the NUT doing hosting what amounted to an evening of anti-Israel propaganda? Hasn’t the NUT got enough problems to sort out for its own members?