Thursday, August 26, 2010

Former fighter detained in Nablus

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said the detention of one member, Steven Anabtawi, by Israeli forces on Wednesday, would secure the continuation of armed struggle and resistance.

Anabtawi, 23, was detained by Israeli forces outside of Nablus, which a statement from the Israeli military said was a violation of his pardon agreement.

As a Fatah fighter, Anabtawi was granted amnesty under a deal with Israeli forces, which saw him turn in his weapons and pledge to forsake an armed struggle against Israel. In return, the men were taken off Israel's list of "wanted" individuals, and could cease what was often a years' long period of hiding.

"Anbatawai was released from prison in the past as part of a pardon agreement, but has violated the terms of the agreement several times," the military statement said.

Current brigades leader Abu Al-Muntaser Omar condemned the Palestinian Authority for "putting pressure on the brigades, forcing them to hand in their weapons and join the security forces," and said the detention of Anabtawi proved that Israel did not respect the amnesty agreements that were signed.

"Israel understands the language of weapons only," he said, and called on brigades members to continue their fight against the occupation, and to refuse amnesty calls as a lie and a false promise.

In December, three former fighters in Nablus were shot dead during an overnight invasion by Israeli forces. Sources said two of the men were "killed in cold blood" by soldiers in their homes in Nablus' Old City. The two were identified as Raed Sakarji, 38, and Ghassan Abu Sharkh, whose brother Nayif was a former Al-Aqsa leader in Nablus and killed by the Israeli several years earlier.

Israeli army: Anbatawai violated terms

The arrest was made in the area of Al-Badhan, north-east of Nablus, an Israeli army statement said. It added that by leaving Nablus, Anbatawai was violating the terms of his amnesty agreement.

While in principal the amnesty pledge allows former fighters to return to civilian life, often only partial amnesty is granted, mandating former fighters to sleep in PA detention centers, or to remain inside prescribed areas, like Nablus city, or within zones demarcated as "Area A" under the Oslo Accords.

The Israeli army said Anbatawai was detained with a 20-year-old brigades member, identified as Wazir Isa, who was allegedly assisting Anbatawai in activities to resist Israeli forces.