Tuesday, June 30, 2009


30 June 2009

For more information contact:
Greta Berlin (English)

tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."

Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release."



CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!
Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370
tel_aviv.tel@icrc.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280
Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009


Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:
Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His
documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson
and presidential candidate.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.
Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Raids and arrests for the second week in a row in Bil'in

Tuesday, 30 \ 6 \ 2009

The force of the Israeli occupation army raided the village at dawn today, and Bilin surrounded the house of Suleiman Seif (17 years) and then for his arrest after they searched his home and tampering with its contents, this has a military force composed of seven other troops yesterday raided the home Emad Mahmoud Yassin (16 years), Hosni Rasim al-Khatib (16 years) and the arrest after they searched the home and tampering with its contents, and will continue this campaign for the second week in a row, with last week's arrest of four boys who are: Kamel Kamal Khatib (16 years), and Khalil Ibrahim Yassin (16 years), and Mohammed Khalil Abu Rahma (23 years), and Moatassem Faisal Al-Khatib (17 years).

The result of this campaign for the continuation of the people of the village of Bil'in in their confrontations to build the apartheid wall and settlements, where the extremists, the Israeli army for many of the means to discourage citizens from further trained to resist, including the arrest, which used this method before, but could not find the benefit ,the people of Bil'in continued their action During the past five years. The Popular Committee has to continue to maintain in terms of resistance to the occupation that the arrest will not stop them from doing so.

For more information, Please call

Abdullah Abu Rahamah, the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bilin.

0547258210 or 0599107069

e-mail – lumalayan@yahoo.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is what occupation looks like: Bil’in invaded by Israeli soldiers


29 June 2009

We give a lot of attention to the weekly nonviolent protests in the village of Bil’in as they are an inspiring example of popular resistance in the face of Israeli repression. But the truth is that the village is under constant threat of attack from the Israeli military, not just during protests. The video below should be an international scandal, instead it’s just another night in the occupied territories. From the Friends of Freedom and Justice – Bilin:

At around 2:30am two groups of around 35 soldiers (70 total) descended on the village of Bi’lin. They raided several houses, detained their inhabitants, and searched the inside of the houses. When members of the ISM and the Popular Committee of Bi’lin confronted the soldiers, they called all of Bi’lin a closed military zone and threatened to arrest anyone out of their house or anyone on top of a house taking pictures. In the course of these house raids, they kidnapped a 16 year old boy (Mohsen Kateb) from his house and took him away into the night. And they kidnapped a 16 year old boy (Hamoda Yaseen)from his house and took him away into the night. Haitham al-Katib, a respected Palestinian activist in Bi’lin was video taping the raids when soldiers aggressively pushed him against a wall and threatened him with arrest. Two members of the ISM intervened on his behalf and were able to wrest him out of the grasp of the soldiers. They then raided the house of Iyad Burant, the head of the popular committee, and threatened his 9 year old son (Abdal kalik) with physical harm if he didn’t produce a camera he was holding. After several people including 2 internationals intervened by blocking the soldiers path, they were also threatened with arrest and were pushed by the soldiers. After repeated efforts, the soldiers gave up and left that particular house.

This raid follows on the heels of others that have happened almost every night for 2 weeks. Today’s arrest now brings the total to seven people, who have been arrested and taken away since the onset of the raids. Bi’lin currently is facing the loss of sixty percent of its farmland due to the construction of the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements that have followed in the wake of the wall.

Updated on June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Khafsh: The world's stand on kidnapped Palestinian MPs big shame

[ 28/06/2009 - 09:00 AM ]

NABLUS, (PIC)-- Fuad Al-Khafsh, the director of the Ahrar center for prisoner's studies, has underscored the importance of launching a solidarity campaign with the kidnapped Palestinian lawmakers, describing their kidnapping as "a shame on the world".

In an interview with the PIC on Saturday, Khafsh underlined the importance of launching more solidarity campaigns with the kidnapped lawmakers in a bid to grab the world's attention to their issue, describing such campaigns as "the minimal thing the Palestinian people should offer in support for their elected representatives".

He also pointed out that the issue of the kidnapped legislators wasn’t given the attention it deserves, stressing that the world's indifference towards that issue proves it deals with issues in a double-standard manner.

"We hear about lawmakers jailed for embezzling public funds, fraud, and corruption, but in our country (Palestine) our lawmakers are kidnapped for adhering to the legal rights and national constants of their people. This is a big shame on the civilized world", Khafsh emphasized.

He also revealed that his center sent letters to all Arab parliamentarians urging them to take an honorable stand in solidarity with their kidnapped Palestinian colleagues, but their reactions were limited to condemnation only.

He also criticized Palestinian lawmakers for not giving that issue a priority, saying "I wonder how many of our lawmakers know the exact number of their abducted colleagues?"

He also underscored that his center was the pioneer in highlighting that issue of the kidnapped Palestinian lawmakers through a campaign it launched on its website on the internet that, according to Khafsh, gained the support of no less than 250,000 supporters.

"Indeed, I' am proud that my website was the first to defend and highlight the issue of the kidnapped legislators, and we did that out of faithfulness and sincerity for those who offered their souls and freedom to make us free and happy", Khafsh accentuated.

Finally, Khafsh called on all legislators around the world to break their silence and to firmly call for the immediate release of the kidnapped Palestinian MPs.

Bahar: Kidnapping MPs failed in blackmailing them

[ 27/06/2009 - 03:19 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), has said that Israeli kidnapping of PLC members did not succeed in blackmailing them into offering political concessions.

Bahar in an exclusive statement to the PIC on Saturday said that while in captivity the Palestinian MPs did not budge from their insistence on national constants and did not accept any bargaining over legitimate rights topped by the right of return and establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

After three years of kidnapping and illegal detention in Israeli occupation authority jails, the Palestinian MPs still insist on their legitimate representation of the Palestinian people, the deputy speaker underlined.

He said that release of Dr. Aziz Dwaik, the PLC speaker, on the third anniversary of the kidnappings points to failure of American-backed Zionist schemes hatched with the collusion of certain Palestinian parties.

Dr. Bahar highlighted that the warm reception accorded to Dr. Dwaik reflects that he is the real representative of Palestinian legitimacy and that the three years of custody did not affect the people's confidence in their representatives.

Israeli forces arrest Israeli and international activists in Safa

From the ISM webpage

For Immediate Release

27 June 2009: Israeli forces arrest 24 solidarity activists and 2 hired Palestinian Israeli drivers in the West Bank village of Saffa.

At 7.30am, 35 Israeli and 10 international solidarity activists joined 3 Palestinian families from Beit Ummar to harvest their land. As the group tried to go down to their lands, 50 soldiers and border policemen stopped them.

Before reaching the land, Israeli forces arrested 10 Israeli and international activists, under the premise that Saffa was under a Closed Military Zone*. The army was aggressive towards the group and used violence against them.

After pushing the group, border policemen arrested another 9 activists.

Yousef Abu Maria from the Palestine Solidarity Project, had his leg broken from the use of excessive force. Israeli soldiers tried to arrest him, but the solidarity activists negotiated for the soldiers to release him and allow him to be taken by an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent. He is currently being treated at a Hebron hospital.

A female Israeli activist from Tayyoush was also injured and is currently at an Israeli hospital seeking treatment for a potentially broken hand.

As 2 cars with hired drivers were leaving the area with other activists, Israeli forces stopped them and arrested 5 more activists and the 2 Palestinian Israeli drivers.

The arrested were taken to the Israeli prison in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion.

The activists are members from Palestine Solidarity Project, Tayyoush, Anarchists Against the Wall, and the International Solidarity Movement. They have been accompanying Palestinian farmers to document and deter violence from Israeli forces as the farmers harvest their land.

Last Saturday, 8 Israeli activists were arrested as they accompanied Palestinian farmers.

*Israeli forces have declared the area in Saffa a Closed Military Zone (CMZ), in direct violation of an Israeli Supreme Court decision. The Israeli Supreme Court determined that Closed Military Zones cannot be issued on Palestinian agricultural land, cutting off Palestinian farmers, or prolonged periods of time. However, Israeli forces have been regularly declaring a Closed Military Zone on farm land in Saffa since 2 April 2009.

UPDATE: 1pm, 27 June 2009, All the activists and drivers have been released.

Torture against Palestinians practiced in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, rights groups demand end

27.06.09 - 12:09

Gaza / PNN – Within Palestinian and international human rights circles it is an unfortunate but well known fact that the Israeli administration commits torture against political prisoners.

It is less publicized that within Palestinian jails torture is used against Palestinians.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) joined the Office of the Ombudsman for a meeting on the Prevention of Torture held at the headquarters of the Bar Association in Gaza City this week. Lawyer Salah Abdel Atti, Director of the Office of the Ombudsman for Gaza City and the northern Strip says that the definition for torture falls within the parameters for both.

The Convention against Torture is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed.”

The lawyer from the Ombudsman office, Salaeh Abdel Atti states that he has reviewed the set of international standards related to torture, and that the reality of the situation is that the occupying Israeli administration has long since adopted the policy of torture in its prisons. “It offers systematic support for this torture through Israeli political and judicial institutions.” The Israeli government does not deny the use of torture.

With respect to the practice of torture in Palestinian jails against Palestinians (no Israelis have been captured save for the single Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Atti explained that the Office of the Ombudsman has received dozens of citizen complaints regarding allegations of having been tortured. The Office of the Ombudsman, in a follow-up to these complaints, has asked President Abbas and the Palestinian Legislative Council to enact legislation to criminalize torture.

The participants in this week’s meeting recommended international bodies and institutions responsible to protect human rights and to prosecute violators. They said the most egregious violator is the State of Israel and its practice of torture.

Rabid violations of Palestinian human rights are record with human rights officials and international officials.

Tulkarem commander releases Al-Aqsa Brigades member

Date: 28 / 06 / 2009 Time: 15:00

Al-Ashqar [Ma'anImages]
Tulkarem – Ma’an Exclusive – Commander of Palestinian security services in Tulkarem Misbah Al-Baba on Sunday released an Al-Aqsa Brigades member after 16 months of detention on Sunday.

The man was identified as Issa Al-Ashqar from the northern West Bank village of Sayda north of Tulkarem.

Al-Baba told Ma’an the release came after he received directives from the Palestinian interior minister, who explained that Al-Ashqar had received partial amnesty from Israel that enables him to stay in areas A, which are under control of the PA.

However, Al-Baba said he personally preferred that Al-Ashqar remain inside the Palestinian security compound because it is safer for him, yet Al-Ashqar's family exerted pressure on the Palestinian political echelon to release him.

For his part, Al-Ashqar explained that he will stay within the borders of Tulkarem, asserting that he is not afraid of being apprehended or even assassinated by Israeli forces who have attempted to do a number of times. Al-Ashqar’s father also said preferred that Issa remain in PA custody, but the son refused.

Italy expels Achille Lauro hijacker

Date: 28 / 06 / 2009 Time: 16:19

[Ma'anImages - Archive]
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Italy has decided to deport to Syria a Palestinian man who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise liner and killed an American passenger in 1985, AP reported on Sunday.

According to an attorney, Youssef Magied Al-Molqui was to be flown from Palermo, Sicily, to Rome and then on to Damascus on Saturday, AP said.

In April, Italy transferred Al-Molqui to a holding center for migrants in Sicily after spending 23 years in prison.

Al-Molqui was a member of the four-man team that seized control of the Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast. He was convicted of shooting Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly Jewish man from New York, and ordering him to be dumped in the sea while in his wheelchair.

The four were members of the Palestine Liberation Front faction, had demanded that Israel release 50 Palestinian prisoners. The hostages on board the ship were eventually released in Egypt after negotiations involving representatives of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Last week, another Palestinian man involved in the hijacking, Khaled Hussein, died in an Italian jail of a heart attack. He was 73.

Israeli hackers target Prisoners' Society website

Date: 27 / 06 / 2009 Time: 13:36

Salfit – Ma’an – Israeli hackers on Saturday mounted a second attack against the electronic website of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in six months, according to Salah Awwad, head of the society’s information department.

He explained that Israeli hackers attacked the website in order to prevent conveying Palestinian prisoners' messages to the world. However, the prisoners’ society asserted nothing would prevent them from sending prisoners’ news abroad.

However he did note that the website will be shut down during the coming few days until it is reconstructed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

PCDP: 98% of Palestinian prisoners in IOA jails subjected to torture

[ 27/06/2009 - 08:51 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners (PCDP) has charged that Israel was among the few countries in the world to exercise excruciating torture in its prisons in a bid to extract confessions from detainees.

The PCDP report said that the Israeli occupation authority's (IOA) practices were in blatant violation of heavenly and earthly laws that incriminate torturing human beings.

The report, issued on the occasion of the international day against torture on Thursday 26/6/2009, said that torture is practiced in IOA jails with official approval.

It noted that the vast majority of Palestinians detained in IOA jails were tortured without any interference of the human rights groups that champion protection of prisoners.

Revealing a number of torture methods being used in IOA jails, the report pointed out that 98% of Palestinian detainees were tortured in around 30 prisons and detention centers, adding that 88% of prisoners were hanged from their hands naked for long periods of time.

It said that 196 Palestinian prisoners died in IOA jails mostly under torture or in extra judicial execution after detention, and charged that 1,600 sick prisoners in Israeli jails are deprived of adequate treatment.

It recalled that many of those sick prisoners contracted their diseases while in custody due to the severe torture rounds.

The report beseeched human rights groups and institutions catering for the prisoners to exert utmost efforts and to pressure Israel into ending the "horrific humiliation practices against prisoners".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Israeli army detains 9 Palestinians in West Bank

Ramallah, June 25, 2009 (Ramattan) – The Israeli forces arrested on Thursday nine Palestinian citizens in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus, Palestinian security sources said.

Sources added that the Israeli forces thrust into the village of Balata in Nablus and arrested four Palestinians, taking them to an undisclosed area.

In a separate incident, five Palestinians were detained as the Israeli forces stormed their homes in the city of Ramallah, Palestinian local sources said.

The Israeli army claimed that the detainees were "wanted" and were taken for interrogations.

Israeli forces frequently launch search and arrest campaigns against the Palestinian across the West Bank. There are more than 10.000 Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails, including children, women, patients and lawmakers.

Prisoners in Israel refuse to don orange coveralls

Date: 25 / 06 / 2009 Time: 11:45

Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian prisoners at the Ramon facility in Israel signed an “accord of honor” in which they pledged to reject the "Israeli decision of wearing the orange costume that negatively affects the prisoners."

The Ramon prison is in Israel's southern Negev. As of 2008 the prison was a camp of tents next to the Nafah, or Negev, Prison, which is known for its harsh treatment of prisoners.

The declaration, delivered to the public via an official from the Palestinian Prisoners Society in Nablus, also detailed the poor living conditions in the prison from the account of detained leader with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Wajdi Joudeh.

Director of the prisoner society Raed Amer noted that the prisoners in the facility are united, and have expressed the wish that internal division come to an end.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hamas' Dweik has "message of unity" in first interview since release from Israeli detention

Date: 24 / 06 / 2009 Time: 19:53

Hebron - Ma’an Exclusive - Freed Hamas leader Aziz Dweik was released from Israeli prison Tuesday, and gave an exclusive interview to Ma’an where he spoke at length about his quest for unity, and the validity of his arrest at the hands of Israel.

Dweik was taken by Israeli forces in July 2006 following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza. Dweik was one of more than two dozen PLC members taken by Israeli forces that summer. He was sentenced to three years detention.

“I was not released early” said Dweik, though Israel announced his sentence would end in August 2009. “I should have been released the day after I was detained.”

On his time in prison he called every day after his detention a “sin,” and condemned Israel for the detention of more than 40 PLC members and their attempts to intervene in Palestinian legislative elections.

“They intended to isolate us from our families and from our role in society,” Dweik said.

A Quest for Unity

Since he was released Dweik has addressed the issue of Palestinian factionalism and condemned the Fatah-Hamas split as something that only hurts the Palestinian cause. Hours after his arrival in the West Bank, Dweik addressed the public on the steps of the PLC, and promised to work for unity.

During his interview, Dweik also promised that the PLC members in the West Bank would meet soon and discuss the issue of unity.

“I hold a message from all Palestinian detainees to all the free Palestinians,” Dweik said during the first moments of the interview, “which is to unite and work as one hand to avoid all internal clashes.”

Unity was the central theme for the Hamas-affiliated politician, and he mentioned several times that his current “duty is to fulfill the needs and desires of Palestinians,” he said he would work to “bleach the hearts of Palestinians and start a new, clean page” in Palestinian history.

“I hold a message of unity,” Dweik said, and added that he respects “all the Palestinian figures affiliated to all factions.”

On Gaza

Hamas members in Gaza were slow to welcome Dweik and congratulate him on his release. Notably, both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called Dweik as he entered the West Bank. Late in Tuesday night de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh released a statement calling Dweik’s release a “triumph.”

Language was welcoming but luke warm; Haniyeh said Hamas was “satisfied” with “Dweik’s release as he represents originality and he is keen on the reconciliation and ending the [Palestinian] division to achieve freedom.”

Dweik, though he remains a staunch Hamas member, did not have strong comments to make about the political situation in the Gaza Strip, or ideological differences between the West Bank and the coastal area.

“I see the Gaza Strip as a sad but at the same time hopeful situation,” he said. “I see hope in [Gazan’s] steadfastness and I call to lift the blockade imposed.”

Sending words to Hams leader in exile Khalid Mash’al, Dweik asked him to support unity and to work only “for the sake of the people.”

Dweik also expressed little hope for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. “It may be soon and it may not be soon,” he said despite recent rumors of an imminent prisoner swap.

He did, however, take the same line as Hamas critics on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most recent policy speech. “Netenyahu played with words,” Dweik said “he just played with the words to deceive us.”

“Who has patience will win”

Dweik extolled steadfastness and patience during his interview, but warned Palestinians that they must make use of their time waiting for peace. “As time passes, the settlements are increasing and when the time comes for peace, there will be no land left for us to build a state on.”

He repeated several times during the interview that Palestinians must be “more clever” or else they will be left “biting their fingers” in the years to come.

Addressing US President Barack Obama, Dweik had a simple message, “We want good deeds like your good statements.”

***Aziz Dweik was interviewed by Ma’an’s Chief Editor Nasser Lahham; the interview will air on Palestine TV during the show, Hard Questions.

Report: Israel painfully shackles Palestinians in interrogation

Date: 24 / 06 / 2009 Time: 11:00

Palestinians in Gaza act out Israeli
treatment of detainees [Ma'anImages]
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) issued its annual report highlighting ongoing abuse of Palestinians by the Israeli army and intelligence services.

The report recorded testimony of some 600 Palestinian prisoners, according to the Hebrew newspaper Ma’ariv. Many of the testimonies were of prisoners recounting interrogations meant to produce confessions.

The report shows that Israeli soldiers systematically shackle and blindfold prisoners then beat them while they are transported to prisons and detention centers. Detainees are frequently left handcuffed to chairs for hours on end.

Other reports detailed soldiers handcuffing prisoners in painful positions that sometimes caused extreme back pain, with no medical treatment available during interrogation or minimal treatment long after permanent damage had been done.

"Painful shackling is done for invalid and irrelevant reasons, which include causing pain and suffering, for punishment, or intimidation, and illegally eliciting information and confessions," the report says. In addition to producing confessions, these tactics are “intended to humiliate Palestinians.”

According to PCATI, the hundreds of accounts of torture gathered during the research for the report “surely” only reflect the “tip of the iceberg." The central victims of torture are the Palestinian prisoners, the report said, “yet the culture of contempt for the dignity of detainees gravitates inward in Israeli society itself, at times harming detainees who belong to other groups."

About the policy of shacking-as-torture, PCATI said, "This practice cannot be justified by the concerns for the safety of the interrogators or prevention of escape attempts offered by officials. The unacceptability of this claim is further demonstrated in light of the fact that these detainees – restrained in interrogation chambers – are brought before police interrogators so that they can take their confession while the detainee is left unrestrained,” the report continues.

“These facts leave no room for doubt: Painful shackling is designed to break the interrogee's spirit and to illegally extract a confession or information from him,” it said.

"In addition, there are occasions when the Shin Bet interrogators will shackle the interrogee in an additional pair of manacles that are fastened on the forearm or on the upper arm and which the interrogators then pull on in a manner that is clearly designed to cause intolerable pain," the report said.

In response the Israeli military said that it works in accordance with international and Israeli law while pursuing “terrorists” who threaten the security of their state. They also claimed to investigate each complaint of abuse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Second PLC member released after seven years in Israeli detention

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 21:16

Hebron – Ma’an – Under the shadow of the freed PLC speaker, a second lawmaker, Jamal Hweil, made his way to his home city of Hebron Tuesday evening after serving a seven year prison sentence.

Hweil was detained in 2002 following the Israeli invasion of Jenin, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council while in Israeli custody. He was received in Hebron by Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi’a, Governor of Hebron Hussein Al-A’raj, and a number of Fatah leaders.

Fatah Spokesperson Fahmi Za’arir congratulated Hweil on being released and called on the government to prioritize the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s custody. He reminded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to remain adamant about not returning for Peace talks until the prisoners were free.

Israeli occupation forces stormed the village of Bil'in for the night

Broke into a large force of Israeli occupation army at three in the morning on Tuesday, the village of Bil'in. And they searched the houses. They also kidnapped two children ,Khalil Yassin fifteen-year- years and Kamil Alkatib fifteen-year-. On the other hand they arrest all of Hassanain Mansour Mansour, the struggle of returning from the land located behind the house in the village of Bil'in, and took them to an unknown destination

Thank you for you continued support,

Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
co-founder of Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin

Email- bel3in@yahoo.com


Israeli army seizes two Bil'in boys
Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 15:26

A Palestinian looks accross the barrier
at Israeli jeeps in Bil'in [Ma'anImages]
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized two fifteen-year-old Palestinian boys from their homes in the West Bank village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, on Tuesday morning.

Bil’in is known for its tenacious weekly demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall, which is being built on the village’s land.

Iyad Burnat of Bil’in’s Popular Committee identified the two boys as Khalil Yassin and Kamil Al-Khatib. He said Israeli soldiers invaded the village at 3am and conducted house to house searches. The Israeli military confirmed that it arrested two people during an overnight raid in the village.

Burnat told Ma’an he did not know why the two were arrested, though he said, that like many people the village, they were known to attend the weekly demonstration, suggesting that the raid was intended to discourage protest.

On Monday, Burnat said, two other boys, Hassanain Mansour and Kifah Mansour, were arrested when they ventured out to their family’s farmland in the village. They, like the two arrested today, are being held at an unknown location.

These arrests come as court proceedings begin in a lawsuit Bil’in brought in Quebec against two Canadian companies involved in constructing the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Ilit on the village’s land. Bil’in is pursuing legal action against Park International and Green Mount International for building, marketing and selling settler homes in contravention of international law. Hearings began on Monday in the case.

Burnat said he did not see a connection between the hearing and the arrests, noting that the Israeli army comes “many times in the night – every week,” to the village.

Israel may prevent Palestinian prisoners from writing high school exams

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 15:09

Ramallah - Ma’an - Israeli prison authorities have yet to give the go ahead for Palestinian prisoners to write the high school matriculation exams, the Tawjihi, said Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi’a on Tuesday.

High schoolers across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem began writing their matriculation exams three weeks ago, and will finish the tests, which determine university eligibility, next week. In past years prisoners have started the tests two weeks following the close of testing in schools.

This year there are 1,821 Palestinian prisoners registered to take the exams, and officials from the Ministry of Prisoners Affairs have requested permission to have the tests administered. Israeli officials, however, have given no answer to requests, saying they are awaiting approval from Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Qaraqe said any attempt to prevent the prisoners from writing the tests would be seen as a great provocation and would be “in contravention of the Geneva convention.”

He said court action would be taken against prison authorities if the exam was not written, and planned to contact members of the international community to help push forward his request.

Last year 361 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centers passed the Tawjihi and started distance learning classes at the Hebrew Open University. In 2008 there were 100 Palestinian prisoners who completed their bachelors degrees.

PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik freed from Israeli prison; Calls for unity

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 14:01

Dweik crosses into the West Bank
on Tuesday [Ma'anImages]
Ramallah – Ma’an – “Unity, conciliation, and dialogue are my message on behalf of all Palestinian prisoners” released PLC speaker Aziz Dweik said in his first major public address since his release Tuesday morning.

Dweik said the message came from the other Palestinian lawmakers in Israeli custody, as well as Nael Barghouthi, the longest serving prisoner detained more than 30 years ago.

“Detained Palestinian lawmakers are currently exerting efforts to make a clear path for healing the rift between the Palestinian rivals and restore Palestinian unity,” Dweik said on the steps of the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah.

Another initiative of the detained lawmakers was to find a way to get the PLC functioning again. “I extend my hand to any party planning to unite the Palestinian people,” he said.

Dweik also said he would put his efforts toward the release of all Palestinians detained in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for political reasons, and condemned those responsible for such infighting.

Multi-faction welcoming party

Dweik was released from an Israeli prison Tuesday morning and arrived at the At-Tayba military checkpoint in the afternoon following three years of detention.

Dweik was received by a large delegation of political supporters from both Fatah and Hamas including Palestinian lawmaker and Minister of Prisoners Affairs in the caretaker government Issa Qaraqe. They were joined by Hamas leaders Omar Abdul-Raziq, Mahmoud Ar-Ramahi, Fathi Qar’awi, and Abdul-Rahman Zeidan who gathered to receive the PLC speaker.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Dweik as he arrived at the checkpoint to congratulate him on his release. The call was followed by a second congratulatory call from Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Dweik delivered a short speech to the assembled leaders, saying he had a “pleasant surprise for the Palestinian people” which he would announce at the gate of the PLC in Ramallah. Dweik is a celebrated political figure in all party ranks, and is seen as a unifying force within Palestinian politics.

Dweik, a Hamas member, was due to be released on 6 August at the end of a three year sentence, according to a court decision handed down last week. Hwiel, a Fatah member, finished his jail term on 20 June.

Fares said that the Israeli military court in the settlement of Ofer, near Ramallah, issued the decision to release the two on Tuesday.

He also called for the release of all of the PLC lawmakers still held by Israel.

At least one Fatah official did not join in the display of unity. Tulkarem governor Talal Dweikat, originally reported to be attending the welcoming ceremony at the At-Taybeh checkpoint, phoned Ma’an to say, “I am not prepared to be courteous with any of Hamas leaders whether it is Aziz Dweik or others as long as there is still a coup in the Gaza Strip.”

Prisoners Society: Israel to release two PLC lawmakers on Tuesday

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 12:12

Ramallah – Ma’an – Israel has decided to release Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) speaker Aziz Dweik and lawmaker Jamal Hwiel later on Tuesday, according to Qaddura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

Dweik, a Hamas member, was due to be released on 6 August at the end of a three year sentence, according to a court decision handed down last week. Hwiel, a Fatah member, finished his jail term on 20 June.

Fares said that the Israeli military court in the settlement of Ofer, near Ramallah, issued the decision to release the two on Tuesday.

Israeli forces seize six Palestinians overnight

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 10:20

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said on Tuesday morning that it detained six Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank overnight.

In a statement the army said the “suspects” were seized from the Qalqiliya area and from the village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, which is known for its weekly nonviolent demonstration against Israel’s separation wall.

The Palestinians are being held at an unknown location.

Israel delays release of Palestinian woman prisoner

Date: 23 / 06 / 2009 Time: 09:53

Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israel refused to release a Palestinian political prisoner, Sana Atef Amro, from the village of Dura, near Hebron on Monday, although she was scheduled to be released.

According to Sima Anbas, herself a former prisoner, the 23-year-old was expected to be released at the end of a six and a half year prison term on Monday. Her family members have been waiting since the early morning at the Al-Jalama checkpoint near Jenin.

Amro is the sister of Abir Amro, who is serving a 16-year prison term.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gaza man given 19-year jail term for armed action against Israel

Date: 22 / 06 / 2009 Time: 20:57

Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man from Gaza to 19 years in prison for manufacturing pipe bombs and projectiles and firing them at Israel, the Israeli news site Ynet reported on Monday.

The Beersheba District Court also convicted the man of laying pipe bombs, one of them 15 kilograms in weight, in various places in the Gaza Strip with the intention of injuring or killing Israeli soldiers.

According to the report the man was a member of Hamas’ armed wing from the city of Khan Younis.

The report did not say when or how he was arrested. During its invasion of Gaza in January, the Israeli military detained dozens of men and women, bringing many of them to the Negev (Naqab in Arabic) prison camp.

IOF troops round up 12 Palestinians

[ 22/06/2009 - 12:41 PM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces at dawn Monday rounded up 12 Palestinians from the West bank districts of Al-Khalil, Bethlehem and Qalqilia, the IOF command announced.

An IOF unit on Sunday night stormed the Safa village northwest of Beit Ummar in Al-Khalil district and detained seven citizens.

Eyewitnesses reported that the IOF soldiers broke into and searched civilian homes before taking away the seven citizens to the nearby Etzion interrogation center.

The IOF troops had backed Jewish armed settlers in burning and damaging crops of villagers in Safa over the past few days.

The Israeli occupation authority had confiscated thousands of dunums owned by inhabitants of that village in order to build the racist, separation wall north of the village.

Israeli forces apprehend 12 Palestinians near Hebron
Date: 22 / 06 / 2009 Time: 09:58

Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized 12 Palestinians from the villages of Safa, north of Hebron in the southern West Bank, and Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa in the south after ransacking several homes.

A local Palestinian security source told Ma’an’s correspondent that an Israeli military force stormed Safa nad ransacked several homes before apprehending the men.

They were identified as: 28-year-old Abdul-Fattah Khlayyil, 24-year-old Alaa At-Teit, 20-year-old Eid Shweiki, 24-year-old Isam Aadi, 20-yerar-old Mahmoud Khlayyil, 22-year-old Layth Addi, and 19-year-old Omar Di’mis.

The source added that Israeli forces stormed Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa and seized Samir Shawamra, Luay Shawamra, Iyad Dardoun, Uday Shawamra, and Badawi Shawamra.

Seven arrested as dozens support farmers picking grape leaves in Saffa

Palestine Solidarity Project

20 June 2009

Despite understanding that they would only be able to harvest for one hour at most, that they would be met with settler aggression, grape leaves need to be picked and so, for another Saturday, a group of approximately 30 International and Israeli activists joined Hamad and Jabber Soleiby and their families as they tended their land in Saffa, near the Bat ’Ain settlement. For yet another Saturday, the group was greeted to the land by a crowd of masked right-wing Israeli settlers.

The group of farmers and activists slowly headed down the hill and toward the orchards as the settlers hurled stones from slingshots. A group of settler girls could be heard repeatedly screaming “Mohammad is a pig!” from a higher location on the hillside. This continued for approximately ten minutes before the first army jeep arrived, which sent most of the settlers running up the hill. The first car of soldiers came in short physical contact with two of the settlers, who had not immediately moved from their positions, but no arrests or detentions were made. At that point, a group of Israeli activists and journalists crossed the valley and approached the soldiers to ask why they had not arrested the settlers for illegally attacking the farmers. This gave the farmers and the rest of the activists some time to simultaneously pick grape leaves and document evidence of trees that had been destroyed, either by being lit on fire or by being chopped down, in settler attacks that had happened the day before. A verbal argument ensued between the Israeli activists and the Israeli soldiers on the hillside as the grape leaves were picked, until 6 Israeli activists were grabbed and arrested; forced into the police jeeps. After the arrests were made, removing the rest of the group from the land became the army’s focus.

At first, the group was yelled at from the loudspeakers on the army jeeps to leave because they were breaking the law by being in a “closed military zone”, though the activists had copies of the Israeli Supreme Court decision forbidding the continuous designation of an agricultural area off limits to Palestinian farmers.. Then the soldiers came in a group on foot and began yelling, pushing, and forcefully herding the group away from the grape vines and towards the path that led back up the hillside. At one point, with no apparent motivation, the soldiers threw a sound bomb at the group.

Although moving, the group was often forced to pause behind a tractor that was also making its way out of the area. When the tractor would hesitate momentarily, though this was obviously not a deliberate act made by the farmers, the soldiers would charge towards the group, pushing and hitting with their batons and tugging people by their clothing at random. At one point, an Israeli soldier grabbed another Israeli activist by the arm and threw her to the ground before detaining her as well.

All 7 Israeli activists were held for a short period of time, before being driven to a major checkpoint and being released without charge.

Like many families in Saffa, the Soleiby family relies solely on their land to make their income. As settler violence continues to rise and Israeli army persists to declare the designated land as being a “closed military zone”, it has become nearly impossible for many farmers to be able to make a living.

Comrade Sajid Mlitat released from the occupation jails

from the PFLP website

Freedom to All Palestinian Prisoners
Comrade Sajid Mlitat was released from the Negev desert prison after two years of imprisonment on Thursday, June 18, 2009. A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, he is a resident of Beit Furik in Nablus district.

Comrade Mlitat is one of many heroic strugglers from his family; he is the son of the martyr, Comrade Abdul Latif Mlitat, and the brother of the martyr Comrade Amjad Mlitat, who was the commander of Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades in the city of Nablus prior to his assassination by the occupation forces in 2002.

Hamas MP denounces IOA refusal to release Fatah MP after completing his sentence

22/06/2009 - 09:41 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas MP Dr. Salem Salama has condemned the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for refusing to release Fatah MP Jamal Huwail after completing his sentence.

Salama in a statement on Sunday said that the IOA aims at absenting Palestinian legitimacy and obstructing work of the honorable Palestinian deputies.

He drew the attention to the fact that the IOA policy in this regard was not new but rather it pursued the kidnap of Palestinians and holding them in administrative custody without leveling any charge against them then renew their detention in a bid to weaken their determination.

Huwail was elected as MP while in jail and was supposed to be released on Sunday after his seven and a half years sentence had ended but the IOA did not release him.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military court in Ofer on Sunday endorsed the 43 and a half months sentence along with around 500 dollars fine against Hamas MP Abdul Aziz Mubarak from Ramallah district.

The office of Hamas deputies in the West Bank described the ruling as political par excellence with no legal justification, and charged that such rulings targeted paralyzing the work of the Palestinian legislative council.

Israel postpones release of senior Fatah deputy
Date: 21 / 06 / 2009 Time: 13:16

Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli authorities have decided to postpone the release of Fatah-affiliated lawmaker Jamal Hwiel from prison, according to reports on Monday.

The Fatah leader from Jenin Refugee Camp finished a seven-and-a-half-year sentence on on 20 June, a Saturday, but was postponed due to the Jewish sabbath, or Shabat.

Regardless, Israel also on Monday refused to release the man, despite that his sentence has expired now by two days. Authorities did not provide an explanation.

Huweel was originally arrested on 11 April 2002 from Jenin Refugee Camp.

International solidarity for Saadat continues

from the PFLP website

Latin American organizations join campaign in solidarity with Comrade Sa'adat

Palestine/El Salvador: The Struggle Continues, The Revolution Wins
A number of left, progressive and labor forces in Latin America, as well as Palestinian community institutions, have joined in a campaign to support Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These organizations signed on to the campaign in response to Comrade Sa'adat's recent nine-day hunger strike in protest of the policy of isolation and denial of rights used against Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails.

The organizations that signed on to the campaign, as of June 19, 2009, were:

Palestinian Federation of Chile
Palestinian Democratic Committee - Chile
General Union of Workers of Chile
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian people - Ecuador
The Revolutionary Left Movement of Ecuador, MIR
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Argentina
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Uruguay
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - Brasil

Palestinian institutions in Europe stand in solidarity with Comrade Sa'adat and all prisoners

Freedom for Ahmad Sa'adat
Palestinian institutions in Europe expressed their outrage and anger about the repression directed at prisoners in the Zionist jails, and the ongoing violation of their rights and dignity.

The organizations sent a letter in solidarity with Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat, protesting his mistreatment in the occupation prisons. Comrade Sa'adat is the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and has been imprisoned since 2002 - from 2002-2006 in a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho under PA, British and U.S. guard, and since 2006 in a Zionist jail after the occupation army raided the prison in order to capture Comrade Sa'aat and his comrades held there. The letter, sent on June 17, 2009, protested the imposition of a uniform policy on Palestinian prisoners requiring wearing orange jumpsuits, medical negligence, and the isolation of prisoners in solitary confinement. This policy of isolation, under which more than 30 prisoners suffer and which has been applied to Comrade Sa'adat for over three months now, prompted his recent nine-day hunger strike, despite his own poor health.

The Palestinian institutions in Europe demanded that human rights organizations and all progressive forces in the world intervene to end these policies of oppression and humiliation directed against the brave Palestinian prisoners in the occupation jails. It stressed that the Israeli government bears full responsibility for the lives and health of the Palestinian prisoners.

Furthermore, the letter called upon all Palestinian and Arab entities, associations and centers in Europe to hold activities and events to support the campaign for Palestinian prisoners in all European cities. The letter was signed by a number of Palestinian community groups, including the Union of Palestinian Students, the Union of Palestinian Engineers, the Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists - Berlin, and the Association of Friends of the Palestinian Prisoners Society in Europe.

Events in solidarity with Comrade Sa'adat continue


Protests, actions and symposia continued to take place throughout Palestine and Lebanon in solidarity with imprisoned General Secretary Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat, including the below events in Saida and Sour,Lebanon, and in Rafah, Gaza and Nablus in the West Bank.

Saida, Lebanon

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Saida (Sidon), Lebanon, held a meeting and demonstration in support of Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat on June 19, 2009, paying tribute to his role as a symbol of steadfastness against the fascist Zionist occupier.

Representatives of Palestinian forces and political parties, popular committees and trade union, youth, women's and students associations participated in the event. The attendees marked a moment of silence in solidarity with Comrade Sa'adat and all the martyrs and prisoners.

Comrade Dhafer Al-Khatib, member of the Central Committee of the PFLP, spoke at the event, calling Comrade Sa'adat an heir to Al-Hakim and Abu Ali Mustafa, a living witness to the falsehoold of international law to the occupation, and a steadfast symbol of Palestinian unity. The secretary of Fateh movement in Saida, Dr. Kassim Sabah, also spoke, as did Abu Nizar of the Palestinian Front and Comrade Kawash of the DFLP.

Sour, Lebanon

The Popular Committees representing the Palestinian camps and institutions in Sour gathered at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sour on June 18, 2009, where they met with the ICRC and delivered a letter addressed to the presidency of the ICRC in Geneva.

The delegation called upon the ICRC, which is responsible for monitoring conditions and providing a mechanism for communication to prisoners around the world, and all humanitarian and human rights bodies, international organizations and relevant UN bodies to intervene immediately to stop the persecution of Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat in the zionist jails, and to protect the rights of thousands of Palestinian prisoners lacking the most basic standards of life.

The letter also called upon these institutions to work to stop the practices against Comrade Sa'adat who was kidnapped contrary to all international law and norms, and warned of the dangers to Comrade Sa'adat's life and health, urging that it is critical to act to secure his freedom immediately.

Rafah, Gaza

The PFLP in Rafah held a mass rally on June 18, 2009 in Rafah Governorate, in solidarity with imprisoned General Secretary Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat. A number of leaders, cadres and members of the PFLP participated, including Comrades Imad Abu Rahma, Jamil Mizher and Mohammad Saqqa, as well as many leaders of Palestinian factions.

The participants carried Palestinian flags, PFLP banners, and posters of Comrade Sa'adat, and chanted for the lives of Comrade Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners in the Zionist jails.

Comrade Iyad Awadallah, member of the Central Committee of the PFLP, spoke on behalf of the Front, praising the steadfastness of Comrade Sa'adat and stressing the solidarity and support of the PFLP in Rafah with all of the prisoners in the Zionist jails confronting repression with steadfastness, stating the policies of abuse and isolation are intended to break their will and also are aimed at the liquidation in particular of the national leader Sa'adat.

Comrade Awadallah praised the strength of the prisoners and their example of national unity, calling for national unity to confront the occupier and struggle for the rights of the Palestinian people. He closed by paying tribute to Comrade Sa'adat and all prisoners and pledged to continue to struggle for return and liberation.




Nablus, West Bank

The Union of Palestinian Women's Committees held a forum in Nablus on June 20, 2009, under the slogan of Freedom for the Heroic Prisoners in the Occupation Jails, in solidarity with Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat, the imprisoned general secretary of the PFLP, and all Palestinian prisoners.

The forum was attended by many people and families of the prisoners. Comrade Khalida Jarrar, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, spoke at the forum, as did Samer Smaro, and Professor Esmet Al-Choukeir, of the UPWC and a professor at An-Najah University.

Professor Al-Choukeir discussed the history of Comrade Sa'adat's case, including the US/British/Israeli agreements with the Palestinian authority and the shameful US/British agreements with the Israelis to allow their siege and capture of Comrade Sa'adat and his comrades within Jericho prison in March 2006. She noted that this scene, including the destruction of the prison over the heads of Comrade Sa'adat and his comrades with heavy weapons and bulldozers, was broadcast via satellite to the world, and that this illustrated the strength of Comrade Sa'adat and that he would not be intimidated, that he showed an image of steadfastness, national pride and honor to the world in 2006, following an Israeli attack that shook the conscience of the world. Today, she said, Comrade Sa'adat is teaching us a new lesson in steadfastness and resistance and giving new momentum to the prisoners' movement.

Comrade Jarrar spoke about how Comrade Sa'adat was moved from Hadarim prison to Asqelan three months ago and isolated, because of the impact of his letters and messages on Palestinian political forces and society, calling for united resistance to the occupation and an end to so-called negotiations with the occupier. She described the isolation cell as a narrow cell with only one prisoner, no bath inside the cell, no communication or visitors, and prevention of newspapers and television. She described the cause of Comrade Sa'adat's hunger strike - not only his own isolation, but to highlight the case of the 30 prisoners in isolation in the occupation jails and the denial of prisoners' rights won by long struggle. She also described the penalties and punishments accorded to Comrade Sa'adat, including another month of isolation, and a two-hundred shekel fine, as well as further prevention of family visits.

Comrade Jarrar emphasized the role of the prisoners' movement in the struggle for national unity, particularly Comrade Sa'adat's leading role. She also emphasized the importance of the prisoners' movement in Palestinian society, noting that the occupation is attempting to foster discord among prisoners but failing. She focused on the need to end so-called negotiations with the Netanyahu government and reject any reliance on the U.S. or the occupier, and instead struggle against the settlements and for the prisoners' cause. She also denounced human rights violations and political detentions by the Palestinian Authority, including the closure of associations and the torture of Haitham Amro in the PA prisons.

Comrade Jarrar called for an end to external interference in the Palestinian cause, particularly that of the U.S. She called for an escalation of popular pressure to uphold the unity and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and loyalty to the prisoners and their cause, to confront the occupation.