ADC Welcomes Release of California Doctor, Urges US Government to Protect Other Americans Held by Israel

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today welcomed the release of Dr. Riad Abdelkarim, but reiterated its call on the Bush Administration to ensure that Americans being held by Israel are given their due process rights and are not subjected to mistreatment. ADC is specifically concerned about the fates of five men, Thomas Koutsoukos, Nathan Musselman and Nathan Maugar, Nauman Zaidi and Robert O’Neill, who were arrested after delivering food to Palestinians in the Church of Nativity on May 2. At least some of these men are reported to be American citizens.
The Palestinian human rights group LAW, which visited the men today in several Israeli prisons, reported that some of the men were being held with criminal suspects and others with migrant workers detainees awaiting deportation. LAW points out that the men were illegally detained by Israeli forces from Bethlehem, which is located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in area A, and is supposedly under Palestinian control
ADC called upon the State Department to ensure that Americans being held by Israel are not subjected to mistreatment, and that the Israeli authorities allow them their full human and legal rights. ADC is aware of numerous cases of Arab Americans being tortured while in Israeli detention, and being subjected to trials involving secret evidence, military judges and inadequate representation.
ADC is also aware of numerous instances in which Israeli authorities have refused to recognize the American citizenship of Arab Americans in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. ADC calls upon the United States government to provide equal protection to all of its citizens abroad, regardless of their ethnicity and regardless of which state’s authority they are under. ADC urges the State Department to do everything in its power to ensure that Americans are not subjected to mistreatment while in Israeli custody.

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