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Legal Defense for Palestine (LDP) is an independent, grassroots initiative dedicated to Palestinian political activists who are arrested and indicted for their political work. Such activists are tried by the Israeli army in military courts within an extraneous judicial system. LDP provides quality legal support for those individuals who resist Israel's system of oppression by means of organized popular struggle and who work within the movement for Palestinian liberation. The movement that is supported by LDP has been organizing for over a decade in villages all over the occupied West Bank, including Bilin, Nilin, Nabi Saleh and Qadum. LDP was initiated by volunteer activists involved in these long-running struggles and the movement that has grown out of it.

Legal Defense for Palestine 2017 Campaign

Background

The struggle for Palestinian rights and liberation involves millions of people around the world who participate in many different ways. Amongst the most crucial, and most fragile, parts of the struggle take place on the ground in the West Bank in the form of organized demonstrations. One of Israel's most effective ways of suppressing that resistance is through its military court system. There is virtually no Palestinian family in the West Bank that has not had a family member imprisoned. LDP helps to alleviate this condition by providing the highest quality legal representation to Palestinian activists and others.

LDP represents a movement that spans much of the occupied West Bank. This movement is connected through a network of activists and village-run committees that have formed over the last 15 years. This network centers in villages such as Bilin, Nilin, Nabi Saleh, Maasara and Budrus. Over the last decade and a half, Palestinians from these villages, together with their Israeli and International supporters, have struggled to carry out thousands of demonstrations. These communities are particularly targeted by the Israeli forces in a continuous effort to quash their struggle. Night raids by armed soldiers who invade homes, which are a regular occurrence throughout the West Bank, are especially frequent in these centers of struggle. The detainees then face harsh interrogation methods that include the practice of security personnel posing as fellow prisoners and the use of threats and violence. The single hope of detainees subjected to such treatment is to be taken out of interrogation by meeting with lawyers who can advise them of their rights. In many cases, the LDP legal team has been able to disprove the truthfulness of the forced confessions and testimony by finding internal contradictions or external evidence to refute them.

The Military Prosecution has a much harder time convicting activists who are represented by the highest quality legal representation. The ability of Palestinian activists to resist this form of oppression, even when the odds of winning are slim, is crucial to sustaining a popular movement. The LDP has been instrumental in championing justice for Palestinian activists and relies on grassroots support to maintain its vital work.