One of the organizations that organize and sponsor these trainings is the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The AJC’s Project Interchange brings government officials, policy makers, media officials, civic and student leaders to Israel to meet with their counterparts, including senior Israeli government officials.
The Police Department of Montgomery County, Maryland, is among the departments that have sent delegates to Israel. Officials serving in the Montgomery County Police Department attended a training in Israel with the AJC as delegates of Project Interchange in 2010. Russell E. Hamill has served as Assistant Chief of the Montgomery County Police Department since 2007. Assistant Chief Hamill attended a training in Israel with the AJC as a delegate of Project Interchange in 2012. One of the training sites he visited was Megiddo Prison, where Israeli Prison Services have imprisoned child prisoners and administrative detainees, and contains a special section for isolation.
Israel’s policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in Megiddo Prison, and any prison inside Israel, is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. International law requires that Israel detains prisoners from occupied territories inside occupied territories, and not in the territory of the occupying power. The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Israel to respect its obligations under international law, including respecting Palestinian prisoners’ rights to receive visitors, especially close relatives, regularly and frequently, a right commonly denied by Israel. Previously, mass hunger strikes in the Megiddo prison have demanded that Palestinians be moved to a prison that is managed by the Occupation forces.
In addition to serving in the Montgomery County Police Department, Assistant Chief Hamill is also a lecturer at the University of Maryland in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.