Monday, August 31, 2009

Group: Israeli forces detained Palestinian journalist

Published yesterday (updated) 31/08/2009 18:09

Nablus – Ma'an – The Palestinian Media Coalition denounced the seizure of Palestinian journalist Serri Sammour from his home in Jenin on Monday.

Sammour was detained just two days after Israeli forces took female journalist Ghufran Zamil from Al-'Ein Refugee Camp, as well as Muhammad Muna from Nablus.

The coalition named six other Palestinian journalists who were in Israeli custody: Walid Khalid, Nizar Ramadan, Muhammad Al-Qeiq, Amjad Shawamra, Husam Badran, and Sami 'Asi, all from the West Bank

Prison conditions plummet during month of Ramadan when family visits are banned and food is inedible

31.08.09 - 11:02
Nablus / PNN – Abu Amara was just released from Hasharon Prison. The Nablus resident told the Center for Prisoners Studies that conditions during the month of Ramadan are particularly harsh.
Relations between political prisoners and Israeli management are especially tense after last week. Palestinians refused to comply with invasive inspections, which Abu Amara believes will result in the withdrawal of basic achievements.
In a report drawn up by the Center for Prisoners Studies upon his release, Abu Amara also remarked on the problematic situation for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. Due to the siege, Israeli forces are not allowing citizens of the Strip to receive visits. Bans of family visits are among the most devastating aspects of prison life, the Palestinian Prisoners Society has reported on several occasions.
The Center for Prisoners Studies wrote in its most recent report that Palestinians can spend lifetimes not knowing their children or parents due to a lack of family visits.
As the holiday passes without family and under the Israeli gun, Muslim prisoners complain of unsuitable food for breaking the fast. Dates, a staple of Ramadan and the first bite taken to break the fast for the evening meal, are unfit for consumption due to inadequate quality, the latest study indicates.
After his recent release from Hasharon, Abu Amara described violations by the Israeli administration that include inhumane conditions, harsh policies, strict punishment, illegal actions, failure to respond to medical needs, provocative inspections, constant intrusion of guards, overcrowded rooms, lack of cleaning materials, prevention of taking the secondary examination (Tawjihi)and banning parents from providing clothing or special needs.

Western Ramallah town hit again early Saturday, two more arrests

29.08.09 - 12:08
Bil’in / PNN - Early this morning Israeli forces again invaded Bil’in Village. The frequent night raids are the stuff of daytime protests that bring international supporters to Palestinian activists who are normally rallying against the Wall and settlements.
Around 3:30 am Saturday several military jeeps entered the western Ramallah town through the gate in the Wall, and from the neighboring villages of Kofr Ni’ma and Saffa. Israeli forces broke into two homes, arresting two Palestinians.
Eyewitnesses describe at least 40 soldiers raiding the houses simultaneously. Ashraf Mohammad Al Khatib, 29, was arrested, as was 24 year old Hamru Hisham Burnat.
Cameraman Haitham Al Khatib, was on the scene as Israeli soldiers broke into his home. He began filming the arrest of his brother, but was repeatedly forcibly moved and hit. Soldiers declared the Al Khatib home a “closed military zone”, and threatened him with arrest unless he stopped filming.
No military order stating tat the home was a military zone was produced.
The two men were put into military jeeps that had parked in front of the village mosque before being driven out through the Wall.

Night raids continue in Bil’in

Posted on: August 31, 2009
Support Bil’in’s struggle

“Just as a simple man named Ghandi led the successful non-violent struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple people here in Bil’in are leading a non-violent struggle that will bring them their freedom. The South Africa experience proves that injustice can be dismantled.”– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a visit to Bil’in on 27 August 2009
The Israeli military’s most recent attempt to crush Bil’in village’s ongoing popular non-violent resistance campaign against the Apartheid Wall is a wave of night raids and arrests targeting protesters and the leadership of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.
The recent raids began concurrently with the opening of a legal trial in Montreal. The village of Bil’in has taken two companies registered in Canada (Green Park International & Green Mount International) to court for participating in war crimes by building settlements on Bil’in’s land under the 2000 Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute (which incorporates both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute into Canadian federal law).
According to Bil’in’s attorney Emily Schaeffer, the judge Justice Louis-Paul Cullen is meant to give a decision very soon about whether the Canadian court has jurisdiction to hear Bil’in’s claims.
Since the trail began Israeli forces have arrested 30 people (most of which are under 18). Twenty-one residents of Bil’in remain in Israeli detention.
Through Israel’s interrogation and intimidation tactics, some of arrested youth have falsely ‘confessed’ that the Bil’in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With such ‘confessions’, Israeli forces then proceed to raid the village at night , invade homes and arrest leaders of the non-violent struggle in the community.
Two of the three popular committee members who traveled to Montreal to represent the villages case , Mohammad Khatib and Mohammad Abu Rahme were arrested and have since been released on bail. (see B’Tselem report:
Another leading Bil’in non-violent activist, Adeeb Abu Rahme, remains in detention since his arrest during a non-violent demonstration on 10 July 2009 (see report & video: Adib has been charged with “incitement to damage the security of the area.”
On 29 August 2009, two additional Bil’in houses were simultaneously raided by at least 40 soldiers, arresting Ashraf Al-Khatib (age 29) and Hamru Bornat (age 24). A local cameraman, Haitham Al-Khatib, brother of the arrested Hamru, was repeatedly forcibly moved and hit, and threatened with arrest unless he stopped filming. Soldiers declared his home a “closed military zone” but could not produce any military order.
What can you do? Attempts to criminalize the leadership of non-violent protests where curbed in the past with the help of an outpouring of support from people committed to justice from all over the world.
Please protest by contacting your political representatives, as well as your consuls and ambassadors to Israel to demand that Israel stops targeting non-violent popular resistance and release Adib Abu Rahme and all Bil’in prisoners.
The Popular Committee of Bil’in is in desperate need for funds in order to pay legal fees both for the trail in Montréal and for representing the arrested protesters in the military courts and bail.Please donate to the Bil’in legal fund through PayPal. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in the US or Canada contact:

The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements
BackgroundThe Palestinian village of Bil’in has become an international symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle. For almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands, confiscated for the construction of the Apartheid Wall.
In a celebrated decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on the 4 September 2007 that the current route of the wall in Bil’in was illegal and needs to be dismantled; the ruling however has not been implemented. The struggle of the village to liberate its lands and stop the illegal settlements has been internationally recognized and has earned the popular committee in Bil’in the Carl von Ossietzky Meda award.
Updated on September 1, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Israel: Palestinian with knife arrested in Hebron

Published Saturday 29/08/2009 (updated) 30/08/2009 18:17

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Soldiers arrested a Palestinian outside Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque on Friday, according to Israeli news reports. The Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that border guard forces seized the Palestinian "who received a knife from another Palestinian" outside the mosque. It was not immediately clear what suspicions led to the detention, which the newspaper said was still being investigated, nor why only one of the two Palestinians allegedly involved was detained.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PPS appeals urgent medical treatment for two detainees

Thursday August 27, 2009 00:21 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) published a press release appealing the International Community and Human Rights Organizations to intervene, and to pressure Israeli into allowing two Palestinian to receive urgent medical treatment due to the severity of their conditions.

The PPS stated that Sa’id Omran, from Jenin, and Ahmad Ja’afra, from Al Sawahra near Jerusalem, needs urgent attention, and needs to be hospitalized without any delays.
The PPS sent a letter to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, appealing him to help in ensuring that the detainees receive the needed medical attention.
Omran, imprisoned at the Ohali Kidar detention facility, was kidnapped by the army five years ago, and was sentenced to 23 years.
He suffers from mitral valve prolapsed, a valvular heart disease, since 1995. He used to receive medical treatment in Jordan until 1999, and when he came back to the country he received treatment at the Biblical hospital in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Al Araby Hospoital, and in several other hospitals.
But when he wanted to go back to continue his treatment in Jordan, the Israeli authorities barred him from travelling.
He was kidnapped in 2004; he was interrogated and later moved to the Al Affoula Israeli hospital, Israeli Physicians said he needs urgent surgery, but the Israeli Prisons Authority did not approve it.
Right now, he remains in a serious condition, and needs urgent treatment.
Detainee Ahmad Ja’afra, 42, was healthy before he was kidnapped in 2004. In August 2008, he suffered a heart attack and was moved to a hospital where he underwent a hearth cauterization procedure.
He was recently examined and was informed that he needs urgent surgery, but the prison doctor at the Ohali Kidar prison, said that he “has to wait for his turn”, and refused to give him a referral.
There are 12 detainees with heart conditions in Ohali Kidar Prison; the rooms are small and lack proper ventilation, an issue which is causing further deterioration in their condition.

Israeli soldiers broke into Telmond Prison for Women

Tuesday August 25, 2009 05:01 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat) stated that an under-cover Israeli military unit, known as Dror, broke into the Telmond prison for women, and violently searched the rooms of 32 Palestinian female detainees.

The center added that the soldiers were very violent in dealing with the female detainees and terrorized them while breaking into their rooms and while searching them, paying no attention to their privacy.
One of the detainees, Fatima Al Ziq, is detained with her infant, Yousef.
The Center stated that Israeli soldiers carried repeated attacks against the female detainees in Telmond, and that the prison administration is depriving them from their basic rights, guaranteed by the International Law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.
The Al Hurryyat center demanded the UN Human Rights Committee to intervene and stop the Israeli violations against the detainees and the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation.
It added that Israel is holding captive more than 9500 detainees, including 650 women, 340 children and hundreds of patients who need urgent medical attention.
The center added that sick detainees are deprived from basic medical attention and treatment. The detainees are deprived from their visitation rights, education and are not even allowed to receive clothes from their families.
It also said that the detainees are harassed for their religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Hurryyat center demanded the Palestinian Authority to focus of the detainees, and present their case to the international community, especially since thousands of detainees, including women and children, are facing bad living conditions, malnutrition and is subjected repeated attacks.

Israel establishes special courts for Palestinian child detainees

Tuesday August 25, 2009 03:20 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Israeli occupation Authorities announced the formation of special courts for Palestinian children detained by the Israeli Army in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
The decision is the first since Israel occupied the Palestinian territories 42 years ago.
Israeli sources reported that Brigadier general Gadi Shamni, GOC Central Command of the Israeli Army, had signed decision number 1644 ordering the establishment of a Military Court for the Youth. The court will be in charge of all cases against underage detainees.
According to the decision, judges who received special training in dealing with young detainees will be appointed by the head of the Israeli Court system.
Israel always interrogated and tried Palestinian children in ordinary interrogation facilities, and ordinary courts.
Imprisoned children are also held with adult detainees and even with Israeli prisoners who committed criminal offences.
Israel courts never gave special consideration for underage Palestinian political prisoners, and disregarded the fact that the vast majority of the “confessions” were extracted under torture and abuse.
Lawyer Khaled Quzmar, head of the Legal Unit at the Defense For Children International (DCI) – Palestine branch, said that the new military court is a late Israel confession of the failure of their legal system that prosecuted the children as adults.
Quzmar added that he does not expect fundamental changes that would end the bad treatment of the child detainees, and that the new court will most likely allow wide intervention from the Israeli Prosecution.

Number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons for more than 20 years reaches 106

27.08.09 - 15:43

Gaza / PNN – Prisons affairs expert Abdel Nasser Ferwana issued new statistics today indicating that there are now 106 Palestinians who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons.
A former political prisoner himself, Ferwana said that the passing of 20 years by Ra’ed Al Sa’adi brings the number to 106.
In his role of Director of the Department of Statistics in the Ministry of Detainees and Ex Detainees Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, Farawana said that Al Sa’adi was arrested on the eight of August, 1989. The 43 year old is a Jenin resident belonging to the Islamic Jihad movement, imprisoned for allegedly engaging in armed resistance activities against the occupation.
The number of people inside for 20 years was 106 last month, but the number decreased by one for a short amount of time with the release of Mohammad Mansour from Tulkarem after 25 years in prison.
Three people from the Gaza Strip have entered the twenty-second year, noted Ferwana, with the longest-standing political prisoner having been in custody for over 30 years.

Suffering of Palestinian prisoners during Ramadan

Wednesday, 26 August 2009 10:29 Added by PT Editor Nour Scardina

Gaza, August 26, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Mothers, wearing deep wrinkles on their face and carrying pictures of their sons held captive in Israeli prisons, assemble every Monday morning in the courtyard of the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza.

The Monday meetings have become a tradition among Palestinian families living in Gaza. For ten years mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters all stand in solidarity and support. They stand in solidarity with their children and to denounce all forms of torture used against those held in Israeli prisons. Sadly, the holy month of Ramadan has not changed the status of those imprisoned or the torture received at the hands of their Israeli captors. They continue to suffer.

Suffering of the prisoners

"Is Israel a democracy?" queried the mother of Ahmed, who is held captive in an Israeli prison. "We talked to Ahmed two days ago, at the start of Ramadan, and he complained of being tortured during the fasting period." Ahmed's complaint is shared by many Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The mother of Raed hajj Ahmad said, "For more than two years we have been barred from visiting our son. The only news heard is that of torture and the treatment received. We send money, but we have been told that it does not reach him. We are especially worried for him during Ramadan. " Raed hajj Ahmad is being held in an Israeli prison.

The father of Shadi el-baba agreed and told of his own son's mistreatment at the hands of his captors. "The money we send for our son takes at least four months to be received. With this delay, how can my son eat or drink? How can he enjoy the breaking of his fast during this Ramadan with the money being delayed?"

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from morning to night, breaking their fast at the time of the Maghrib (sunset) prayer. As the Adhan is heard, Muslims around the world break their fast with dates and water. They then perform the Maghrib prayer. The prayer is followed by a meal. For prisoners held captive in Israeli prisons, this is not the case.

A former prisoner, Massod Ayad, shared that during Ramadan many prisoners are prevented from reading newspapers or watching television to find out the prayers times or to know when to break their fast. Mohammed Faraj al-Ghoul, Minister of the Prisoners, said many prisoners are not able to learn of when it is time for iftar (evening meal, after the breaking of the fast) and sahur (pre-dawn breakfast) because their confinement prevents them from seeing the setting of the sun and their ears from hearing the Adhan.

Conditions of the Prisons

There are hundreds of prisoners who are held in isolation cells, and detention and interrogation centers, said the Minister of Prisoners. The cells in which Palestinians prisoners are held are not comparable to those in which westerns are kept.

Massoud Ayad sheds some light on what it is like from the inside, from the perspective of someone who has be subjected to the harassment described by the Minister of Prisoners. "Imagine being locked in a closed room for five to six months at a time." In this closed room or, rather, cell chamber, there is only one small window. Each cell contains around 10 prisoners. In such a small space, it is hard to move and the smell is overpowering.

Ghoul further explained the methods of harassment and provocation against Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli Occupation Authority. Methods of harassment include constant body searches; storming of cells; confiscations of personal effects such as pictures of children; deprivation of clothing; arbitrary solitary confinement; closure of canteen accounts; and, prohibitions against communication within and outside the prison, including with family members.

There are more than 1600 prisoners needing medical treatment; and, many more who are deprived of visits from their families. The Israeli Occupation Authority claims that families are prevented from visiting for security reasons. Many families are prevented for years from seeing their children, while others are able to only see their children every 26 months.

Are not so-called "democracies" supposed to respect human rights? Putting aside the question of democracy, what of the universal human rights recognized under international law and adopted by states and the United Nations? Palestinians are human beings just like any other individual living in the United States or the United Kingdom. They too deserve protection guaranteed and granted under international law. They do not deserve to be tortured and subjected to humiliation at the hand of their captors in Israeli prisons.

Salem El-rayyes
PT Reporter in Gaza

PCHR weekly report 20-26/8/2009:

excerpt from PCHR weekly report 20-26/8/2009

At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived for family visitation for more than two years.

In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 18 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children.

Thursday, 20 August 2009
· At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Louza neighborhood in the west of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. 'Eissa Mohammed al-Shloudi, 24;
2. Saleh Hussein al-Shoubaki, 21.

· Also at approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bal'ein village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Rahma, 48, member of the Public Committee against the Wall and Deputy Mayor of Bal'ein village, and arrested him. On Sunday, 23 August 2009, the Israeli military court decided to release Abu Rahma on bail, and under strict conditions: Not to participate in demonstrations; to be at least 6 kilometers away from the Annexation Wall every Friday; and to be present at an Israeli police station everyday from 14:00 to 17:00.

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Samer Tayseer al-Zubaidi, 22.

Saturday, 22 August 2009
· At approximately 00:00, Israeli forces moved into Sourif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. Sa'ed Mahmoud Ghunaimat, 22; and
2. Mo'in Mahmoud Ghunaimat, 20.

Monday, 24 August 2009
· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. Mohammed Faisal Abu al-Sakha, 22; and
2. Muntasser Mohammed al-Staiti, 20.

· Also at approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Bourqin village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Munadel Mansour Abu Khaled, 21.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009
· At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Nizar Maher Turkman, 21.

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Fwzi Jebril al-Jabali, 23.

· At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Taffouh village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ahmed Ghanem Erzaiqat, 42, and summoned him for interrogation.

· Also at approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Leqia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and summoned two Palestinian civilians for interrogation.

At approximately 23:00, Israeli forces moved into al-'Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian children:

1. Mohammed 'Emad Abu Sharar, 17; and
2. 'Omar Zuhdi Mahfouz, 16.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009
· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Bir Zeit village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Tha'er Mohammed Wash'ha, 26.

· Also at approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ra'ed Mohammed 'Obaid, 23.

· At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Jiftlek village, north of Jericho. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Tariq Ahmed Isma'il, 36, from Jaba' village south of Jenin.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Israel cancels family visits for Palestinians in two prisons

Published yesterday (updated) 24/08/2009 20:15

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The Israel Prison Service has decided to cancel family visits for Palestinian political prisoners at two jails on Tuesday after protesters threatened to stop the families.

In doing so, Israel is violating the Geneva conventions.

According to the Website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli supporters of captured soldier Gilad Shalit planned to hold demonstrations at two prisons where so-called “security prisoners” are held.

The protesters, calling themselves an "Army of Shalit's Friends" planned the protests, calling for Israel to impose harsher sanctions on Palestinian prisoners in order to convince Hamas to release Shalit, who has been held by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. The protests were to coincide with Shalit’s 23rd birthday.

The Prison Service announced that family visits will be cancelled on Tuesday at Hadarim Prison in the town of Tel Mond and Shikma Prison in the city of Ashkelon, according to Yedioth. However, visits will be carried out as per usual at Megiddo Prison, where the Shalit campaign will also be protesting.

Israel holds 11,000 Palestinians in its jails. Since June 2007, Israel has denied the right to family visits to more than 900 detainees from Gaza. The International Committee of the Red Cross has pronounced this a violation of international humanitarian law.

Palestinian workers injured in Israel after police chase

Published yesterday (updated) 24/08/2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Twelve Palestinian workers from the West Bank were injured in a car accident near a Kibutz in the Negev desert in Israel on Monday after Israeli border guards chased them.

According to Israeli sources, border guards perceived three cars as suspicious and chased them. During the chase one car overturned and the workers in the car were injured.

In the same regard, Israeli forces detained three Arab residents of the city of Rahat, also in the Negev, on charges of helping Palestinian workers sneak into Israel from the West Bank. Israeli authorities claimed the workers injured in the road accident were had entered without work permits.

Medical sources said two of the injured Palestinians sustained moderate wounds and the rest were slightly injured.

A mass demonstration will be held outside Ofer prison in the West Bank

For Immediate Release:

Monday, 24 August 2009 at 9am:
A mass demonstration will be held outside Ofer prison in the West Bank.

Palestinians, alongside Israeli and international solidarity activists will gather in front of Ofer (on the Palestinian side) to protest against Israeli arrest and intimidation campaigns of Palestinians.

Israeli forces have conducted arrest and intimidation campaigns on villages that resist Israeli apartheid infrastructure. According to a joint report from Addameer and Stop the Wall, Israeli forces have arrested 176 Palestinians from 5 villages alone in their resistance against construction of the Wall.

The family of Na’el Barghouthi will be in attendance to demand for his release. Barghouthi was taken by Israeli forces on 4 April 1978 and has been behind bars for 31 years.

An estimated 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners are currently being held in Israeli jails.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DCI Israel and Palestine submit alternative report on child recruitment

[JERUSALEM, 13 August 2009] – Defence for Children International (Israeli and Palestinian sections) is releasing a joint report on Israeli authorities’ use of Palestinian children in hostilities. The report was submitted on 17 July 2009 to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is scheduled to review Israel’s compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in January 2010.

The report focuses on the ongoing use of Palestinian children as human shields by the Israeli army, and their recruitment as informers by the Israeli Security Agency, in violation of Article 2 of the Optional Protocol, ratified by Israel in 2005. The issue of recruitment of children by Palestinian armed groups does not fall in the remit of the Committee. However, a report on the Palestinian armed groups’ behaviour regarding the terms of the Optional Protocol is being prepared and will be released in the near future.

The present report covers the period January 2005–June 2009. During this period, at least 11 Palestinian children were used as human shields, or coerced to assist Israeli soldiers in military operations, in six incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in contravention of the October 2005 ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice. At least six children were used as human shields by Israeli troops during Israel’s recent Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Most of these children were subjected to abuse and ill-treatment while detained and have been psychologically scarred by the experience.

One child who was used as a human shield said: I am sometimes ashamed to talk about things in detail with people I do not know... I don’t even talk about it with my mother. I prefer to forget, and sometimes I cry when I remember. (Majed, 9 - p.21 of the report)

The report also contains five testimonies from former child detainees alleging that they were asked to become informers under duress. The Israeli Security Agency continues to seek to recruit Palestinian children as informers through coercive interrogation techniques despite the October 2005 Israeli High Court of Justice ruling that banned this practice. Children coerced into assisting the occupying power might be exposed to lethal threats within their own community.

The 82-page report makes five recommendations focusing on accountability and is supported by over 35 pages of sworn testimonies contained in an annexure to the main report.

Additional information

For further information contact:

Rifat Kassis,
Te: +972 (0)2 242 7530

Hadeel Younis,
Tel: +972 (0)2 623 5450

Two Gazan boys seized after escaping to Egypt

Published yesterday (updated) 22/08/2009 17:20

Al-Arish – Ma’an – Egyptian border police seized two Gazan boys as they escaped the Strip into Egypt, local security sources said.

The boys, aged 12 and 14, were reportedly spotted by Egyptian border guards as they jumped the iron wall near the Brazili neighborhood in Gaza. Security forces said the boys were from the Rafah neighborhood of As-Salam.

During interrogation the boys revealed miserable living conditions in Rafah on account of the continued Israeli siege on the area. The final straw, they said, was family tension that hit its peak as Ramadan fasting began. They said they only planned to amuse themselves in Egypt for a few days or weeks and then return home.

The boys, as minors, will not be charged, and will be handed back to their families at the Rafah border crossing as soon as possible, according to the security sources.

Farwana: "All facts on the ground prove Swedish report correct"

Saturday August 22, 2009 00:05 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Former Palestinian detainee, researcher Abdul-Nasser Farwana, stated that all facts on the ground, since decades, prove that the Israeli occupation executed Palestinian detainees after they surrendered and refused to hand their bodies to their families. Hundreds of bodies were transferred to the families days, months or even years after the fact, and when the bodies were sent back, they were missing vital internal organs.

Bilal AhmadGhanan, 19,Photo: Donald Boström
Bilal AhmadGhanan, 19,Photo: Donald Boström

Farwana added that the Swedish report, written by Donald Boström and published by Aftonbladet Swedish paper, regarding illegal trafficking of body parts of Palestinians is directly connected to the execution of Palestinians after they surrendered to the army, and is connected with the arrest of 40 well-known figures, including Rabbis in New Jersey for money laundering and corruption, in a scheme that involved sales of Israeli kidneys in the US and other corruption rackets.

Farwana added that one of the illegal acts carried out by Israel is having secret detention facilities in which dozens of detainees were imprisoned and never heard of anymore. This is in addition to the “Numbers Graveyard” in which “unknown” Palestinian and Arab fighters are buried.

He said that Israel still denies it is holding hundreds of Palestinian and Arab fighter, and refuses to cooperate with the Red Cross on the issue.

The researcher added that Israel is the only state that had a policy of detaining the bodies of slain Arab and Palestinian fighters, and that some 300 fighters are buried in the numbers graveyard.

Hundreds of bodies were returned during prisoner-swap deals, including the latest swap-deal between Hezbollah and Israel in which some 200 bodies were moved to Lebanon.

Farwana further said that dozens of detainees died in Israeli prisons, some due to torture, and their bodies were not immediately sent to their families, but instead were moved to forensic center, and some of their body parts were removed before bodies were sent back to the Palestinians.

He said the Swedish paper said in its report that Palestinians youth were abducted by the Israeli army from their homes, were killed later on, and when their bodies were return, they were cut open and vital organs were missing.

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Rosenberg, who was recently arrested in New York, is believed to be involved in illegal trade of organs, and that he sold Kidney to patients in the United States for 160.000 USD.

The Aftonbladet report placed the Israeli-Swedish relations at odds, and some Israel officials demanded Sweden to officially apologize, while other officials said that this report in part of the efforts to demonize Israel and the Jews.

This is the link for the full Aftonbladet report, in English, with pictures attached

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry summons Israel’s ambassador

Saturday August 22, 2009 05:20 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
As the Israeli-Swedish relations stand at odds over an article regarding Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians for their organs, and Israel’s demand for official apology, the Swedish government summoned the Israeli Ambassador for talks on the issue.

Swedish Ambassador in Israel - Carl Bildt
Swedish Ambassador in Israel - Carl Bildt

Israeli officials reported that comments made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also caused anger in Sweden as he said that Sweden did nothing while the Nazis were killing the Jews.

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the meeting was scheduled even before the article was published, but would now focus on it as its causing tension between the two countries.

Lieberman said that this article is part of what he described as “defamation of the Jews”, and connected to the Swedish stance during World War II “When it failed to intervene”.

Israel demanded the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, to condemn the article, but he refused to issue an official statement in this regard.

Bildt said that the article was published because Freedom of Expression is part of the Swedish Constitution.

He said that he can understand why the article is causing this anger and emotions in Israel, but it is part of the freedom of speech.

Israel says that the article is racist, but Sweden said that the only issue that united the Swedish parliament at all times is the condemnation of anti-Semitism.

Haaretz said that the Israeli Foreign Ministry knows that it is unlikely that Sweden would publish a condemnation, and therefore it is studying a number of measures including canceling the visit of Bildt who is expected in Tel Aviv after 10 days.

Another idea is to allow Bildt into the country but have him publicly slam the article and to have Israeli officials refusing to speak to him on any issue except the article.

Israel insists on a public official apology from Sweden while several Israeli officials said that there is no other way to resolve the issue.

Lieberman had already instructed Foreign Ministry employees not to grant press cards to Aftonbladet reporters, and to refuse to assist in covering news from Israel.

Israel is also weighing the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the author of the article, Donald BOSTRÖM.

Italy attacking Nativity Church deportees, Fateh criticized for not addressing issue at Conference

22.08.09 - 21:54

Gaza / PNN – The Palestinians deported and exiled by Israeli forces from the Church of Nativity are still outside.

Some were deported to the Gaza Strip with instructions to not leave Gaza City and to not engage in any political activity. If they did, their fates would be more unknown than they are now.

Those exiled to Europe have had as difficult time as the Gazans, and perhaps much more so. Most cannot work and are allotted a paltry sum by the Palestinian Authority in order to survive.

It was only supposed to last a year or two, three at the most. It has been more than seven.

The concern today was issued by the deportees in Gaza who are calling to end the suffering of those exiled to Italy. It has been more than two years that the Italian government has not fulfilled the obligations it agreed to toward the Palestinians living in exile. The West Bank residents now in Gaza are asking that the Palestinian Authority pressure the Italian government.

Fahmi Canaan is a spokesperson for the Palestinians deported to the Strip. He said Saturday, “Our brothers are exiled in Italy where they are now sitting at the Palestinian embassy. The Italian government is engaged in trying to crush them and repeatedly expel them from Italy.”

Canaan also issued a sentiment that is shared by hundreds of people involved, saying that he “strongly deplores the great failure on the part of the Palestinian Authority on the issue of deportees.”

Canaan directed additional criticism of the Fateh Sixth Conference held earlier this month in Bethlehem. During all the back-slapping there was no talk of the issue outstanding since Spring 2002. “It did not address the issue of deportees at all, even though it took place in Bethlehem, the birthplace of the exiles.”

He added, “We are still suffering the pain of distance and separation from our families and loved ones.”

Bethlehem deportees: Hunger strike against Italy, not the PA
Published Friday 21/08/2009 (updated) 22/08/2009 16:01

Bethlehem – Ma'an – Palestinians deported from Bethlehem during the 2002 siege of the Nativity Church insisted on Friday their hunger strike at Palestine's embassy in Rome was meant to pressure Italy, not the Palestinian Authority.

The hunger strike, which began on Thursday, was started to pressure Italian authorities to abide by conditions the prisoners said were promised to them, including living a decent life in Italy and eventually returning to Bethlehem, following their agreement in 2002 to end their shelter inside the Church of the Nativity in exchange for guarantees they would not be killed or jailed by Israel.

The three Palestinians involved in the strike were identified as Mohammad Abu As-Sa'eed, Khaled Abu Nejmah, and Ibrahim E'beyat. They were deported to Europe as part of an agreement that would see Israel end its siege of Bethlehem in exchange for the Palestinian militants' deportation to Europe and Gaza.

On Thursday, Abu As-Sa'eed told Ma'an in a telephone interview that he and his fellow deportees would "sleep on chairs inside the embassy until our demands are met."

A similar hunger strike was carried out some two months earlier and ended upon the Italian government's promise to meet their demands, they said. But Italy's failure to abide by its commitment has forced the deportees to begin anew, they insisted on Friday.

"Our primary demand is either to return to Palestine, but if that's not possible, the Italian government should respond to our demands that we live in dignity on its soil for the period of our deportation," Abu As-Sa'eed said.

Rather than blaming the PA for their predicament, Abu As-Sa'eed said Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat and the staff of the Palestinian embassy in Rome had "supported our stance through intensive contacts [with Italian authorities]."

Abu As-Sa'eed urged media outlets to continue focusing on their plight, including that of deportee Jihad Ij'areh in Ireland, and threatened to expand the strike to all of Europe if progress is not made soon.

If parents are imprisoned, who will provide for the children during Ramadan

20.08.09 - 11:34

Ramallah / PNN - As Ramadan nears, concerns are raised toward the children of political prisoners. Some 9,500 to 11,000 Palestinians are behind the barbed wire and bars of prison camps.

Conditions are getting worse says Ahmed Said Abd Rabbo, who also notes that familial visits are on the downturn.

Saber Muhtaseb is concerned about his kids. All are in school, but who is supporting them now that their father is in prison. He asks how he can spend Ramadan behind bars, not providing anything of the holy month for his family.

He had been working in East Jerusalem’s Beit Hanoun, but making only 700 shekels per month, which is less than 300 dollars. “How can we even afford school uniforms or the basics for Ramadan?” Abed Rabbo asks.

A call for help was issued to all human rights organizations dealing with the issue of political prisoners. “How can we survive in the face of the occupier?”

The brother of Abed Rabbo said that his brother is the sole bread winner for the family and that he supports his mother and eight young siblings. The situation is growing increasingly desperate for Palestinian political prisoners who want to see their families as Ramadan approaches.

Daughter of former member of Israeli Knesset taken prisoner: arrest purely political, says dad

21.08.09 - 10:20

Nablus / PNN – The Israeli Magistrate's Court extended the detention of Laila Taha until Monday after prosecuters were found to have no evidence against the woman.

She is the daughter of former Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset, Wasil Taha, and was arrested earlier this week by the Israeli intelligence service and police on suspicions of violating a blackout imposed by a court order requested by police.

Israeli special forces and police stormed the home of former MK Wasil Taha and took his daughter’s personal computer.

Taha state today that the arrest is purely political.

Israeli Court extends remand of Laila Taha

Friday August 21, 2009 10:59 Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli District Court extended the remand of Laila Taha, the daughter of former member of Israeli Knesset, Wasel Taha, until next Monday to place her under further interrogation.

Laila Taha - Image by Arabs48
Laila Taha - Image by Arabs48

Taha was arrested earlier this week while the Israeli court imposed a gag order on the case refusing to reveal any further information on the case.

Laila was arrested at a military roadblock in the occupied West Bank and was immediately taken for questioning.

Following her abduction, the Israeli police and Special Forces broke into the house of her father, searched it and confiscated her personal computer.

Wasel Taha is the head of the National Democratic Assembly in Kufur Kanna, north of the country.

His daughter was arrested along with two young men. She is a member of National Democratic Youth Union, and studies Political Science and Arabic at Haifa University.

Her father described the arrest as a provocative act, and an attempt to intimidate his politically and socially active daughter.

Taha added that his daughter and the youths detained with her are not involved in any illegal activities.

He accused Israel of escalating its violations against members of supporters of the Assembly.

The Public Committee for Defending Freedoms, part of the Higher Arab Follow-up Committee, considered the arrest as another attempt by the Israeli security apparatus to intimidate politically active Arab youth.

The committee demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Laila, adding that such violations will only make Arab youth more determined to counter provocative Israeli acts against the Arab population.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

PCHR report 13/8 - 19/8/2009

excerpt from PCHR weekly report No. 33/2009 13 - 19 August 2009 published on 20/8/2009

At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been denied family visitation rights for more than two years.

In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Israeli forces arrested 28 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and one woman, in the West Bank, and two fishers in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops positioned at military checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 8 Palestinian civilians, including two children and two women.

An international human rights defender was injured and 4 others were arrested by Israeli forces during protests against Israeli settlement activities.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

· At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Deir Estia village, north of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ashwas Daoud 'Obaid, 18, and arrested him.

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Oula village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ahmed Mahmoud al-Sarahna, 40.

· At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Namrea area in the north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Mustafa Khalil Ghaith, 22.

· At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested two Palestinian university students:

1. Ahmed Habes Sukkar, 23; and

2. ‘Anan ‘Issam Mohammed Swaidan, 23.

Friday, 14 August 2009

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Madama village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses, and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:

1. Mursi Nizar Zeyada, 22;

2. Jihad Edris al-Qet, 20; and

3. Fakher Samir Nassar, 29.

· At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Leqia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. Nayef Hassan 'Assi, 42; and

2. Adeeb Mohammed Mafarja, 22.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

· At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into 'Aaroura village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and summoned Nour 'Abdul Rahman al-'Aarouri, 19, for interrogation.

· Also at approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Mazare' al-Noubani village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and summoned Rashad 'Ali Mesfer, 20, for interrogation.

Monday, 17 August 2009

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Arrana village, northeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. Majd Mohammed d Jalamneh, 20; and

2. Ahmed Wassef Abu Hanani, 20.

· At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Jayous village, northeast of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ra'ed Mohammed Salim, 23.

· Also at approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into 'Assala village, south of Qalqilya. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 'Alaa' Ra'ed Abu Radi, 20

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

· At approximately 00:00, Israeli forces moved into Hares village, northwest of Salfit. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian children:

1. 'Alaa' Husni Sultan, 15;

2. Farid 'Ata Sultan, 16; and

3. Edris Ahmed Klaib, 14.

· At approximately 00:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Shaheba village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 4 Palestinian civilians (3 brothers and their nephew):

1. Ahmed Khalil Abu 'Arqoub, 37;

2. Jihad Khalil Abu 'Arqoub, 39;

3. Na'el Khalil Abu 'Arqoub, 43.

· Also at approximately 0:30, Israeli forces moved into Souba village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:

1. 'Ali Ahmed Ebryoush, 24; and

2. Fawaz al-Rajoub, 27.

· At approximately 01:0, Israeli forces moved into Sa'ir village, northeast of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 'Ezzat Shalalda, 48.

· At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Wadi al-Hariya area in the south of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Mohammed 'Ata Shloudi, 31.

· Also at approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Mahmous Yasser Braighaith, 18.

· At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Nisrine 'Aatef Abu Zaina, 25, who has been recently released from Israeli prisons. They confiscated her mobile phone and some photos.

· Also at approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Eyad Mousa Jabarin, 28.

· At approximately 06:00, two Israeli gunboats approached to within 500 meters of Rafah beach and arrested two Palestinian fishers: Mohammed Mahmoud Hassouna, 45; and his son Shihab, 18. They also confiscated the fishing boat. The two fishers were released at approximately 19:00.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

· At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into the south of Qalqilya. They demolished a number of car maintenance workshops over their contents causing large losses. The owners of those workshops have been detained by Israeli forces: Mohammed al-Sarrawi; Bassam Zaid; Daoud Baker; and Mohammed Zaid.

Night raid Bil'in 20.08.09

Once again the night in Bil'in was disrupted by a raid ending with the arrest of one Palestinian man. This occurred in the night after the children's demonstration Wednesday morning where the children had chanted slogans like "We want to sleep," "Stop the night raids" and others.

The house of Mohammed Ibrahim Achmed Hassan Abu Rahma (age 50) was invaded shortly before 2am on Thursday morning, 20.08.09, ending with his arrest. His son Nashmi Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Rahma (age 14) had been arrested 5 days ago.

About 25 soldiers had come to the village on foot with their faces disguised. While taking the victim away, the soldiers threw a sound bomb into Palestinian and international activists who tried to interfere and de-arrest the man. A shuffle occurred during which the soldiers hit Palestinians and international activists, knocking one international female activist to the ground and pulling the hair of another.

As the cameraman was filming the arrest, one soldier hit and broke his camera. The occupation forces succeeded in taking the victim away escaping through the fields, closely followed by Palestinian and international activists. Jeeps were waiting at a fair distance and picked up the soldiers with their victim.

The Head of the Bil'in Popular Committee Iyad Burnat says that in spite of the continuing arrests, the resistance and demonstrations against the military occupation and the Apartheid Wall will continue. "This is our right and we want our lands back now, not tomorrow."

The Head of the Bil'in Popular Committee Iyad Burnat says that in spite of the continuing arrests, the resistance and demonstrations against the military occupation and the Apartheid Wall will continue. "This is our right and we want our lands back now, not tomorrow."

Thank you for you continued support,

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

Mobile- (00972) (0) 547847942
Office- (00972) (2) 2489129
(00972) (0) 598403676

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PPS: 47 Palestinian prisoners died in captivity due to medical neglect

[ 19/08/2009 - 08:38 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Palestinian prisoners' Society (PPS) has said that 1,500 Palestinian sick captives are threatened with death in Israeli jails due to the deliberate medical neglect.

The PPS, in a report on Tuesday, said that 47 prisoners died in the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails due to such intentional medical neglect while 70 were tortured to death in IOA dungeons and 73 were executed in cold blood.

The report noted that IOA jails are void of specialized medical teams and some of them do not have a doctor at all or at best a doctor would be present for only two hours.

The Society charged that medical neglect has turned into one of the weapons used by the IOA against those prisoners.

The PPS appealed to all human rights groups to expose the IOA violations against those prisoners and to shed light on their suffering.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian ministry of prisoners in the Gaza Strip said that the IOA released two Palestinians from its jails after nine years in captivity under the so-called detention of "unlawful combatants."

It noted that seven other Palestinians from the Strip are still held under the same pretext in IOA prisons, describing the pretext as an attempt to circumvent the international law.

The ministry explained that those Palestinians are essentially civilians and should be protected by the fourth Geneva Convention, while this pretext was exploited by the IOA to hold those citizens for unlimited periods and without any commitment to indict them.

In the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Wednesday rounded up 12 Palestinians in the districts of Ramallah, Qalqilia and Tulkarem for questioning, local sources reported.

The IOF soldiers on Tuesday launched a large-scale search campaign in Al-Khalil district that ended with kidnapping 11 citizens after claiming that a resistance cell was dismantled in the process.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IOF soldiers arrest prisoners' activist

[ 18/08/2009 - 10:02 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday arrested a Palestinian activist in the field of prisoners' affairs after searching her at the Qalandia roadblock near occupied Jerusalem.

Local sources noted that the young woman Leila Taha is the daughter of the Arab member of the Israeli parliament Wasel Taha.

They said that Leila cooperates with societies defending and supporting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails, adding that efforts for her release did not succeed so far.

Mother of three Palestinian prisoners appeals for allowing her visitation

[ 18/08/2009 - 04:42 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The mother of three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails has appealed to human rights groups and the Red Cross to pressure the IOA into allowing her to visit her sons.

The Wa'ed society for prisoners said that the mother did not see her three sons ever since their detention on 1st of January 2008 after a unit of the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) besieged their home to arrest their father but when the IOF troops found out he was not at home they took instead his three sons.

She added that their father died in the latest IOF war on Gaza "and now I am without a breadwinner or a shelter after the IOA blew up our home when they arrested my sons".

The mother said that the eldest Mohammed is 24 years old and is married, the second Muntaser, 22, is a university student and the third Muhanad, 20, is a freshman.

The society noted that around 1,000 prisoners in IOA jails are deprived of family visits for the past three years in violation of all international norms and doctrines.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian minister of prisoners' affairs, Mohammed Al-Ghoul, said in a statement to the PIC that factions capturing IOF corporal Gilad Shalit should stick to their demands.

He reviewed the tragic incarceration conditions of Palestinian women, children and the sick, asking the world community to support them and demand their freedom.

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Israeli forces detain Tulkarem woman, confiscate family photos

Published today (updated) 18/08/2009 16:12

Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained 26-year-old Nisrin Abu Zeina from her family home during a raid of the West Bank city of Tulkarem in the early morning Tuesday.

Israeli soldiers ransacked Abu Zeina’s home at 2am confiscating private photos and mobile phones before they handcuffed the woman and took her to an unknown location.

Abu Zeina was released from Israeli prison in 2007 after serving five and a half years in detention.

Annual day set to garner release of remains of those killed in the field and prison

18.08.09 - 10:37

Bethlehem / PNN - Minister of Detainees and Ex Detainees Affairs, Issa Qaraqe’, said today that 96 people were killed in Israeli prisons since 1967.

The last was Mousa Juma of Jerusalem who died due to medical negligence.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the former director of Bethlehem’s Palestinian Prisoner Society, Qaraqe’ said that the highest number of those killed fell during the past 10 years.

Regarding other deaths, Qaraqe’ noted that the official number of bodies that the Israelis are holding on to post-mortem is 300, while there are hundreds more Palestinians missing from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

For its part, the Israeli government refuses to hand over the remains to bereaved families for burial and closure.

Qaraqe’ made his statements during his visit to the family home of Shadi Al Darwish on the twentieth anniversary of his death.

“Shadi was one of the heroes of the movement and its captive leaders. On the twenty-seventh of July, 1989 he was able to escape from a prison in Hebron. He lived in the Hebron area, haunted and hunted. He was killed in a clash with Israeli special units on the sixteenth of August.”

The Israeli government kept his body for five years, until giving it back to the family on 31 August, 1994 after human rights institutions intervened. Shadi Darwish was arrested by the occupation authorities on 28 June, 1988 on charges of participating in the activities of the first Intifada.

Qaraqe’ revealed that 47 percent of the Palestinians killed within the Israeli prisons die from the torture they undergo during investigation, while the others died due to medical negligence and murder in the prisons and detention camps.

He pointed out that more than 200 executions were carried out in the field by the Israeli army and special units after they had been arrested. The injured are not given medical treatment and often die from blood loss before seeing a prison.

Qaraqe’ said that many of those who were executed outside the scope of the judiciary could have been arrested instead of killed, and a number of the martyrs were executed after they were handcuffed shackled.

The prisoners’ minister also noted that by keeping the bodies of the killed, the Israelis increase the suffering of Palestinian families and show that “Israeli figures are a blot on the conscience of humanity and the principles of human rights. These are war crimes.”

He said, “The government of Israel is still holding hundreds of bodies of the martyrs, as they have been for many years, with a notable surge during the last Intifada where the bodies of the dead and abducted are put in the tombs that lack of minimum humanitarian norms of religious cemeteries. These are closed military zones to prevent the citizens and journalists from gaining access.”

The tombs of which Qaraqe’ speaks are not named, instead they are numbers, and what is marked is eroding, according to sources.

Of his homes town, Qaraqe’ said, “Israel has been holding 18 people from the province of Bethlehem for seven years.”

The twenty-seventh of August is the annual day, says Qaraqe’, to push for the release of the bodies of the martyrs, whether they died in the field or the prison.