Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Former political prisoners frequent targets of re-arrest at Container Checkpoint outside Bethlehem

07.09.09 - 13:19

Bethlehem / PNN – Some seven Palestinians are arrested per day at Israeli military checkpoints dotted throughout the West Bank, reports the Ministry of Detainees and Ex Detainees.

Director of the Department of Information in the Ministry, Riad Ashkar, noted that the occupying forces maintain 630 checkpoints within the West Bank, including 93 fixed military checkpoints and 537 barriers composed of sand and concrete blocks and walls. In any given week there are some 70 flying checkpoints imposed.

The basic objective of these barriers, the Ministry said Monday, is to impede movement. Palestinians become obliged to obtain Israeli permission in order to pass from one West Bank town to the next. The Ministry of Detainees focused today’s comments on the use of barriers in the arrest of Palestinians.

“The prisons are full of political prisoners and Administrative Detention detainees, without charge or trial. Barriers allow soldiers to check the identities of citizens, and therefore it is easier to kidnap them and thrown them into investigation and detention centers and prisons.”

The Container Checkpoint on the Bethlehem route to Ramallah or Jericho along Wadi Nar Road is a frequent sore spot. Sometimes stretching back two hundred cars, the barrier is now being used by the Israelis to make arrests of former political prisoners.

The latest example is 23 year old Bethlehem resident Aisha Mohammad Ahmed Abiyat who was released after six years in Israeli prison only to be re-arrested after an ID check at the checkpoint 10 kilometers northeast of Bethlehem.

Abeer Awda of Tulkarem was searched in a provocative and hostile manner before being arrested at same checkpoint a few weeks ago. She has been arrested, released, and taken again. The woman had been in prison for three years and released only a few months ago.

The Israelis intend to ensure that political prisoners are never free, that they have no freedom of movement, and no security upon release from prison, says the prisons ministry.

University professor Mona Hussein Ka’adan of Jenin was arrested for the third time at Container Checkpoint. Israeli soldiers checked her ID and then told her to phone her family to inform them she was being again arrested. The woman was taken to an unknown location and then given a term under Administrative Detention, meaning no charge or trial.

Israeli forces positioned at the checkpoint went after former prisoner Mohammad Sharif Abdel Kader Jaradat. The31 year old from the town of Seir, northeast of Hebron, was questioned and then arrested without being given cause.

Not everyone arrested at Container is taken to prison. Some are detained for hours, miss their public transportation, and lose the fare they already paid, miss school or work, or are late arriving home. During Ramadan it is especially painful as the sun sets on the detained and the day’s fast remains unbroken.