Friday, October 28, 2011

Zionist court refuses to release Muna Qaadan

[ 28/10/2011 - 09:55 PM ]

JENIN, (PIC)-- The Zionist military court in Salem refused to release Muna Qaadan (39), from Arraba in Jenin district, on bail despite the fact that she was brought before court previously on the same charges.
Local sources said that the occupation authorities refused to release despite the fact that she denied the charge that she works for a charity, which is allegedly associated with the Islamic Jihad, in reference to Bara'a Society for Muslim Young Women. This is the same charge she was arrested on previously and then released.
Qaadan has been arbitrarily arrested since the end of last May, only days after the arrest of her brother Sheikh Tareq Qaadan from their home in Arraba.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Group: Israel resumes isolation of PFLP leader

Israeli prison guards stand at the entrance to Ketziot prison in southern Israel,
ahead of a prisoner swap on Oct. 18. (Reuters/Yehuda Lachiani/Maariv)

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said Thursday that an Israeli court in Beersheva decided to extend the isolation of Popular Front secretary-general Ahmad Saadat for a year.

The association added that the court ruled on secret documents that were presented by the Shin Beit which were released on August 8. Thus, the decision to extend his detention was made before the prisoners strike.

The association also said that Saadat was present in the court without his lawyers.

The court decision is the opposite of what the prison administration had reportedly promised the prisoners. They were to end isolation and other policies following the hunger strike, according to the association.

Saadat was recently taken to hospital in Ramle prison as his health deteriorated after the hunger strike. Saadat’s family has not been allowed to visit him since March 2009, according to the prisoners rights group.

The Israeli prison administration has not fulfilled its commitment to stop holding Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement, the ministry of prisoner affairs in Ramallah said Wednesday.

Around 20 detainees are still in isolation despite Israel's pledge to end the practice following a 3-week mass hunger strike in jails across Israel to protest the policy, the ministry said in a statement.

Prisoners suspended the strike on Oct. 17 after they said Israel had announced it would meet the strikers' key demand.

Israel promised that detainees would be released from isolation immediately after 477 prisoners were released in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Oct. 18, minister of detainees affairs Issa Qaraqe said, announcing the agreement.

Some prisoners who remain in solitary confinement have been in isolation cells for many years, including Hassan Salama, Ahmad al-Mughrabi, Abdullah al-Barghouthi and Saadat, the ministry noted.

The UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez told a UN General Assembly panel last week that all governments should ban solitary confinement except in extreme circumstances.

"Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole ... whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique," he said.

He also said indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be ended, citing studies that have established that lasting mental damage is caused after a few days of isolation.

"Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles," he said.


Israeli Court Renews Solitary Confinement Of Saadat For Additional Year

Friday October 28, 2011 04:07 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Ad-Dameer, stated that the Israeli District Court in Be’er Shiva ordered a one year extension of the solitary confinement of the detained Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Saadat.
Ahmad Saadat - Image Al Manar
Ahmad Saadat - Image Al Manar
The court stated that “it based its ruling on secret files provided by the Israeli Shabak on August, 8, 2011”.

The imprisoned PFLP secretary-general was sent to court without his lawyer, who never received a notice regarding this court session.

The Ad-Dameer stated that by sentencing Saadat to solitary confinement for an additional year, the court violated vows by the Israeli Prison Administration to end its solitary confinement policies, and to implement the demands of the detainees to receive treatment that abides by the International law. The vows came after that detainees conducted hunger-strike for 22 days.

The Ad-Dameer added that this ruling violates the International Law and all Human Rights treaties, especially international agreements concerning prisoners of war, and added that after 22 days of hunger-strike, Saadat was moved to the Al Ramla Prison hospital, after a sharp deterioration in his health condition.

The PFLP Secretary-General has been in solitary confinement also since March 16, 2009, not allowed any visitations and denied of his right to even write or receive letters from his family. Every isolation order issued against him since then was based on “secret information” to which not even his lawyer was allowed to have access to.

On December 28, 2008, an Israeli court sentenced Saadat, who is also an elected Palestinian Legislator, to thirty years, despite the fact that it dropped charges alleging that he planned the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was killed in Al Hayat Hotel on 17 October 2001.

Saadat became the PFLP secretary-general in October 2001 after the Israeli army assassinated the former secretary-general, Abu Ali Mustafa, when two Israeli Army Apache helicopters fired missiles at his office in Ramallah, in the central West Bank, on August 27, 2001.

MADA: Israel extends journalist's detention without trial

Journalists light candles to commemorate their colleagues killed in Israel's last
war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, in Gaza City on Jan. 6 2010.
(MaanImages/Wissam Nassar, File)

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel on Wednesday extended the imprisonment of a journalist who has not been charged or tried for any offense, a press freedom watchdog said.

Israeli forces detained Nawaf al-Amer, a program coordinator for Quds satellite TV station, in June from his home near Nablus in the northern West Bank.

On Wednesday, Israel extended al-Amer's detention for four months, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a statement.

Al-Amer has not been tried or given any reason for his arrest or imprisonment. His wife told MADA that Israel has prevented their sons from visiting their father since his arrest.

The center strongly condemned the extension of al-Amer's detention, noting that it stood "in flagrant violation of legal due process under international law."

Al-Amer is being held in administrative detention, a practice widely used by Israel against Palestinians under which detainees are held without charge or trial.

The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem says administrative detention "is carried out under the thick cover of privilege, which denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense."

MADA urged international organizations to protect Palestinian journalists and to lobby on behalf of those in detention.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eshel's captives await a reply

[ 25/10/2011 - 01:27 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) on Tuesday said that most of the captives in Eshel who suspended their hunger strike, especially those affiliated with the PFLP, were returned to the prison wards. The PPS's lawyer who visited the prison said that a number of PFLP captives who were on hunger strike were moved to solitary at HaliKidar prison.
Following the suspension of the hunger strike the captives, especially those in ward 10, sent letters to Israeli prison officials explaining that the suspension was in order to give the Israeli prison service time to improve the detention conditions. The captives have so far not received any replies.

Egypt releases 6 Palestinians

File photo of the Rafah crossing on the border of Egypt and Gaza.
(MaanImages/Hatem Omar)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities on Tuesday released six Palestinians who had been detained for illegally entering Egypt without permits.

Palestinian sources told Ma'an that six men from Rafah and Khan Younis in southern Gaza were returned to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing.

They were identified as Ahmad al-Banna, Shadi al-Qirm, Iyad Mishal, Adnan Muhsin, Samir Arraj, and Ahmad Bardaweil.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aruri: Israel's exile of prisoners strategic mistake

[ 25/10/2011 - 12:58 PM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Senior Hamas official in charge of the prisoners' file Saleh Al-Aruri said Israel makes a strategic mistake when it exiles Palestinian prisoners from their occupied homeland.

"The occupation's decision to banish prisoners cannot break their determination in terms of their insistence on struggling and fighting against the occupation, but on the contrary, this strengthens them and make them stronger and more motivated to resist and fight," Aruri said in a press release.
He pointed out that the second batch of the swap deal, due to be completed within two months, would include the release of longtime prisoners jailed for alleged security reasons and they would return to their homes without any exile.
In a related incident, Maariv newspaper said on Monday the majority of Palestinian prisoners released as part of the swap deal with Hamas Movement refused to sign a pledge not to return to resistance activities against Israel.
A few hours before implementing the swap deal, Shabak officers visited the jails from which those prisoners were released and failed misrably to force them to sign a written plegde to give up their activities against Israel, according to Maariv.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Israeli police detain 14 at prison protest

Demonstrators at Israel's Ofer prison express support of detainees' hunger
strike on Oct. 5, 2011 (MaanImages)

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained 14 Palestinian citizens of Israel on Thursday during a demonstration at Israel's Hasharon prison calling for the release of all Palestinian detainees, a human rights organization said.

Around 40 Palestinian-Israelis gathered to wave Palestinian flags and demand the release of prisoners that were not part of an exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, the head of Israel-based human rights group Huriyat Muhammad Kananeh told Ma'an.

Israel released 477 prisoners, including 27 women, in return for Hamas handing over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Tuesday, and 550 additional prisoners will be released in two months under the swap deal.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said he could only confirm 12 were detained at the scene.

He told Ma'an the protest was illegal as it lacked coordination with authorities, and that protesters called for the kidnap of more soldiers and attacked a police officer.

Kananeh said police dispersed the protest by force, adding that three women were among those detained.

Demonstrators were calling for the release of the nine women still in Israeli jails, he said.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Thursday that Egypt has assured the movement that the remaining female prisoners will be released "in the coming days," as part of the swap deal.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Egypt arrests Israeli national at border crossing

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities arrested a Palestinian citizen of Israel at the Egypt border Thursday, saying they discovered a weapon and large quantity of ammunition in his possession.

The Palestinian-Israeli, who was not otherwise identified, told Egyptian security forces he worked for an Israeli tourism company and was traveling with his wife to the northern Sinai city of Taba, officials said.

Forces discovered an American-made weapon when searching the man's car as he entered Egypt via the Taba border crossing near the southern town of Eilat, Egyptian security officials told Ma'an.

The suspect was detained when he failed to provide an adequate explanation for the weapon and ammunition, and has been transferred for investigation to facilities in southern Sinai, they said.

The arrest comes amid a breakdown in Israel-Egypt relations, although they have improved in recent days following Cairo's successful mediation of a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

Egypt is also considering swapping a US-Israeli joint national, suspected of spying for Israel, for 81 Egyptians detained in Israel, the state-owned daily Al-Ahram said Sunday.

Israel enjoyed close ties with deposed President Hosni Mubarak, brought down in February in a popular uprising. Relations have remained tense as Egypt struggles to maintain security in the Sinai.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Freed Detainees Are Now In Gaza, Ramallah

Tuesday October 18, 2011 13:50 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

All Palestinian detainees released under the first phase of the prisoners-swap deal between Israel and the Hamas movement, except those sent to Egypt, are now in Gaza and Ramallah. This article includes the speeches of President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and Hamas leader, Hasan Yousef, standing next to him.
Gaza Strip - Detainees Welcome Cermony - Still from Al Jazeera
Gaza Strip - Detainees Welcome Cermony - Still from Al Jazeera
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, held a conference welcoming the detainees, and said “you are freedom fighters, for God and the country”.

Abbas said that he hopes that all detainees in Israeli prisons will be freed, and will be able to return home.

The President further stated that the suffering and steadfastness of the detainees will never be wasted.

“You sacrificed, you struggled, and you will see the outcome of this struggle; a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital”, Abbas said, “Your case was always our main focus around the world, we will continue to act for the release of all detainees”.

“God willing, we will soon see, brother Marwan Barghouthi, brother Ahmad Saadat, Ibrahim Hamed, Abbas Al Sayyid, and every detainee, coming back home”, Abbas stated, and also wished speedy recovery for Ahmad Saadat after his health condition deteriorated as he and the rest of the detainees continue their hunger-strike. Saadat is the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He also thanked Egypt for its role in the deal and in the reconciliation agreement between Fateh and Hamas, adding that this deal was initiated by the detainees in Israeli jails “who acted for the unity of their people”.

“Brothers and sisters, we are acting to achieve an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The future state will be in the 1967 borders, and Israel must stop all of its settlement activities and violations”, Abbas said, “I won't be telling a secret when I say that there is an agreement between us and and Israel for the release of more detainees after this deal is concluded, therefore, we are asking them (Israel) to abide by their vows. if they give weight to their own promises”.

“We are building the institutions of our future state, we have strong institutions, not found in other countries”, the president added, “brothers and sister, your families and friends wherever they are, are happy for you, for your release, but, let me say, that we owe all of this, after God, to all of the martyrs who sacrificed for our country”.

Abbas also thanked Egypt for its important role in reaching the deal.

Standing next to Abbas, Hamas leader, Hasan Yousef, stated in his speech the followed Abbas' speech that, “as much as we are happy for the release of the detainees, we are also in pain, because we still have brothers and sisters in Israeli jails”, and added that the Palestinian people will always act for the release of all detainees.

Yousef further stated that the Palestinian people have the capabilities to act for the release of all detainees, and that this prisoner-swap deal is a proof that resistance is an effective measure, to be conducted side-by-side with other venues of resistance and politics.

“Mr president, we all came here, to your home, representing all factions and segments of the society, to affirm our unity, we have no choice but to unite”, he added, “Mr. President, we all stand together, united, to counter the illegal Israeli policies that deny our legitimate rights. We want to thank Egypt, for its important local and regional role, and we want to thank every side that helped in achieving this deal, we want to thank the president, and all Arab countries, we are all brothers, and we must send a special thank you for our people in the Gaza Strip”.

Thousands then started chanting “With our soul and blood we sacrifice for Palestine”, and Yousef chanted with them.

In Gaza, Ismail Haniyya of Hamas and several political and military leaders of the movement and other factions, welcomed the detainees who were sent to Gaza and affirmed that resistance fights for the liberation of its people, and managed to achieve victories.

Meanwhile, Cairo declared a state of emergency at the Cairo International Airport as 40 of the released detainees will be flown out to Turkey, Qatar and Syria, as Israel conditioned their release with their exile.

It is worth mentioning that clashes were reported at the Betunia terminal leading to Ramallah, after the Israeli army closed the terminal as thousands of residents gathered there to welcome the detainees.

Thousands of residents, and families of the released detainees gathered near the terminal awaiting to greet and welcome the freed detainees.

The army used waste-water cannons, and fired gas bombs, to force the residents away, and said that the released detainees will be sent to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah through another terminal.

The army then said that nobody will be allowed to greet the detainees at the terminal and forced the Red Cross out of the area before attacking the residents.

There are approximately 5000 detainees who are still imprisoned by Israel, dozens of them have been imprisoned since 20, 25 years or more.

First prisoners freed in West Bank, Gaza Strip


RAFAH (AFP) -- The first Palestinian prisoners freed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of a landmark deal for the return of a captured Israeli soldier arrived home on Tuesday, an AFP reporter said.

Israel freed 477 Palestinian prisoners, most of them to the Gaza Strip, where Hamas leaders greeted former prisoners piling off buses bearing Red Cross insignia.

"We are going home with dignity, thank God," one prisoner told Egyptian television from the bus.

"Thank God for this great achievement. The Palestinian people deserve to live in freedom like everyone else," said another freed prisoner, thanking Egypt for mediating the deal.

"This (exchange deal) is the first step towards the full liberation of the Palestinian people," he said.

Three cars belonging to the ruling Hamas movement followed by a Red Cross vehicle accompanied a convoy of eight buses carrying the prisoners to their waiting relatives in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

"More than 200,000 people have gathered now at the Katiba (in Gaza City) to participate in the main festival welcoming the prisoners," one of the Hamas officials involved in organizing the welcome rally said.

Buses carrying the first Palestinian prisoners to be freed in the West Bank headed towards the city of Ramallah on Tuesday, an AFP reporter said.

A convoy of several buses was heading to the seat of the Palestinian presidency, the Muqataa, in Ramallah, where the detainees were expected to be greeted by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Gaza's Hamas government had earlier released captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who in an interview shortly after said he hoped the prisoner exchange could lead to peace between both sides.

Crowds gathered in both Gaza and the West Bank awaiting the return of their prisoners.

"This is the greatest joy for the Palestinian people," said Azzia al-Qawasmeh, awaiting at a West Bank checkpoint for her son Amer, who she said had been in prison for 24 years.

The landmark deal between Israel and Hamas will see Israel freeing a total of 1,027 prisoners in exchange for the release of Shalit, a soldier who has been held by Gaza militants for more than five years.

Reuters contributed to this report

Barghouti: Prisoners were not consulted over swap deal

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Detained Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said Sunday that Hamas did not consult detainees over its prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Hamas has agreed to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Several prominent political leaders, including Barghouti, were left out of the deal.

In a statement relayed by his lawyer Elias Sabagh, Barghouti said he had learned of the deal from media reports. Prison leaders -- including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine secretary-general Ahmad Saadat -- were not involved in negotiations, Barghouti said.

Further, prisoners who will be exiled under the agreement were not informed of the decision. Over 200 prisoners will not be released to their homes, but will be deported to Gaza or abroad.

Barghouti is a charismatic and popular figure widely viewed as a contender to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president.

Minister: Detainees suspend strike after deal on isolation

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinians jailed in Israel suspended a three-week hunger strike on Monday, the minister of detainee affairs in Ramallah said.

Issa Qaraqe told the official Wafa news agency that prisoners ended the strike after Israeli prison authorities agreed to end the practice of solitary confinement.

Israel will stop holding detainees in isolation on Tuesday, immediately after releasing 477 prisoners in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Qaraqe said.

Prisoners went on hunger strike on Sept. 27 to protest harsher conditions since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to toughen measures in June to pressure Hamas to free Shalit.

An end to solitary confinement was a key demand of the strikers.

The protest was started by detainees affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, whose leader Ahmad Saadat has been held in isolation for three years. Saadat, who joined the hunger strike, was one of several prominent prisoners left out of the swap deal.

PFLP central committee member Jamil Mizhir warned on Monday that the movement would take action against Israel after receiving reports that Saadat had been transferred to hospital.

Mizhir said in a statement that the group blamed Israel for his health condition,

"If Saadat's condition is at risk, the PFLP response will be very harsh," Mizhir warned.

According to recent estimates from the Palestinian Authority, there are currently 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Swap Deal Officially Kicked-Off

Tuesday October 18, 2011 09:49 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The prisoner-swap deal signed between Hamas and Israel has effectively entered the implementation process after the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected all appeals filed by Israelis against it. Shalit is now in Egypt; Egyptian sources reported. Hundreds of detainees loaded onto buses in preparation for their release.
Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit

The deal will set 1027 Palestinian detainees free on two phases in exchange for the release of corporal Gilad Shalit. Media sources reported that Shalit was moved to Egypt in preparation to be handed to Israel after it releases the first 477 detainees.

Egyptian media sources reported that Shalit was moved to Egypt and is now in the hands of the Egyptian security services awaiting to be moved back to Israel.

Shalit reportedly crossed into Egypt when an SUV loaded with Palestinian fighters crossing the border towards Egypt, and quickly drove back to the Palestinian side of the border after handing Shalit to Egypt.

The second phase will ensure the release of 550 detainees two months after the first phase is concluded.

The implementation of the first phase of the deal started at 2 on Tuesday at dawn when 96 detainees were moved from the Negev Detention Camp to the Ofer Prison in preparation to be released into the West Bank.

334 detainees were loaded onto buses that will drive them to the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing between Israel and Gaza.

On Tuesday around 4 at dawn, a bus loaded with 27 female detainees, 16 detainees from Jerusalem, and three from the 1948 territories drove off on its way to release them. Four female detainees were sent to Karem Abu Salem Crossing, while one detainee from the Golan Heights was moved to a local police station. Three detainees from the 1948 territories were moved to Majiddo Prison in preparation for their release.

On Monday evening, the Israeli High Court rejected four appeals filed by Israelis against the deal, stated that the swap-deal is totally legal, and granted the deal a green-light.

Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe', stated that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will personally welcome the West Bank released detainees at his headquarters in Ramallah. Leaders of different factions and institutions will be attending the ceremony.

The Hamas movement in Gaza also concluded its preparations for welcome the detainees who will be sent to Gaza. 163 detainees will be sent to the Rafah Border Terminal before heading to Gaza.

40 detainees will be forced into exile, while Hamas' Political Bureau head, Khaled Mashal, will be holding an official ceremony in Cairo to welcome them.

Israeli military and security sources reported that the army is preparing to counter any scenario that could jeopardize the deal, especially after Shalit is handed to Egyptian mediators.

Before being sent back home, Israel wants to conduct a comprehensive medical checkup on Shalit before he is airlifted to a military base in Israel, where his parents will be waiting for him. He will likely undergo another checkup at the second base before he is sent back home with his family.

Israel imposed media restrictions at the base in order to ensure privacy for Shalit and his family.

Shalit will be meeting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz.

Zahhar: “Swap-deal Includes Lifting The Siege On Gaza”

Tuesday October 18, 2011 09:08 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Hamas political leader, Mahmoud Zahhar, told Israeli daily, Haaretz, that the prisoner-swap deal reached indirectly reached between Hamas and Israel includes lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud Zahhar - File Image - Islam Times
Mahmoud Zahhar - File Image - Islam Times

Zahhar added that this issue was agreed upon when the German mediator started his role in the swap talks. “This is still valid under the current agreement”, he said.

The Hamas leader further stated that the deal to release prisoner-of-war Gilad Shalit, in return for releasing more than a thousand Palestinian detainees, also includes a section obliging Israel to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian detainees, adding that Gaza Strip families of the detainees will be allow to visit their beloved one.

After Shalit was captured on June 26, 2006, Israel canceled all visitation rights to Gaza Strip families of political prisoners.

Zahhar also said that Israel will also have to ease the restrictions on border terminals leading to Gaza, including travel from Gaza to the West Bank via Israel.

He stated that the deal also includes increasing the exports of the Gaza Strip to Israel and abroad.

Meanwhile, officials at the Israeli Defense Ministry stated that the Shalit deal represents a shift in the relations between Hamas and Israel, adding that, in recent months, Israel started easing the siege on Gaza as part of an unofficial ceasefire between Hamas and Tel Aviv.

Arouri: we are awaiting the Israeli reply regarding the nine female captives

[ 17/10/2011 - 09:56 PM ]

CAIRO, (PIC)-- Hamas political bureau member, Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri who is responsible for the captives’ file, said that his movement submitted to the occupation, through the Egyptian mediator, a list of 9 female captives who were excluded from the exchange list and informed them that excluding them will be considered a breach of the agreement.
He told PIC, in an exclusive interview: “During the negotiations the Zionist side supplied a list of Palestinian female captives which included 27 captives. After we scrutinised the list we discovered that nine female captives were excluded from the list, so we returned the list to them and awaiting their reply.”
About the rumours that most of those captives included on the exchange list are affiliated with Hamas, he said that out 1027 captives due to be released, 600-700 will be from other factions, mostly affiliated with Fatah.
About the criticism the exchange deal attracted from figures in the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Fatah, especially failing to free a number of leaders, he said: "We managed to free over a 1000 captives, but there is still a huge number of captives in jails, thus those who criticise what we have achieved are required to free the rest of the captives instead of criticising what was achieved."

Qaraqe' Describes Prisoners-Swap Deal As Unilateral, Party-Oriented

Monday October 17, 2011 12:42 by Majd Qumsieh - IMEMC & Agencies

The Minister of Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs, Issa Qaraqe’, stated on Monday the 17th of October, that the deal is unilateral and party-directed, the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) reported.
Image From
Image From
He explained in a speech with the “Voice of Palestine”, broadcast on Monday, that the deal excluded old detainees like Kareem Younis, in addition to several leaders who exude strong symbolism, like Ahmad Saadat and Marwan Al-Barghouthi.

He added that Hamas started negotiations about the deal in a secret manner, and did not consult anybody, nor asked for further information about the detainees.

Qaraqe' also stated that "it is unfair that the deal did not secure the release of all female detainees from Israeli prisons".

Furthermore, the minister warned that the situation of the hunger-striking detainees is gradually deteriorating. pointing out that the Ministry of Detainees has asked the Red Cross to visit Ahmad Saadat, who was brought to hospital last night, after his health took a turn for the worse.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PFLP warns against any harm befalling Saadat

[ 17/10/2011 - 10:37 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Jamil Mizher, politburo member of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine, has held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the life of the front’s detained leader Ahmed Saadat.
He said in a press release on Monday that his front would retaliate harshly if Saadat’s life was threatened. Saadat was taken to Ramle prison hospital after his health condition worsened.
He pointed out that Saadat suffered many diseases in addition to engaging in the hunger strike for 20 days.
Mizher urged for persistence in the support campaign with the Palestinian prisoners who have been waging the hunger strike to demand better incarceration conditions.

PFLP says it will respond if leader's health deteriorates
Published today (updated) 17/10/2011 15:12
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Palestinians participate in a protest in support of Ahmed Saadat, jailed leader
of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in the West Bank city of
Nablus, on December 25, 2008. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- PFLP central committee member Jamil Mizhir warned on Monday that the movement will take action against Israel if the health of their imprisoned leader deteriorates.

Ahmad Saadat is on hunger strike as part of a mass prisoner protest against worsening Israeli prison policies launched on Sept. 27. The Popular Front leader had been held in solitary confinement for three years.

Mizhir said in a statement that the group blamed Israel for his health condition, after receiving reports that Saadat had been transferred to hospital.

"If Saadat's condition is at risk, the PFLP response will be very harsh," Mizhir warned.

The PFLP official said the deal agreed last week for the release of over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit will push the movement to continue resistance to eventually free all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail.

Mizhir said the group was concerned about Saadat and expressed support for the hunger strikers.

Prisoners have refused food for 21 days to protest harsher conditions since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to toughen measures in June to pressure Hamas to free Shalit.

Rights group Addameer called on Thursday for the international community to relaunch efforts to end what it called "collective punishment" of prisoners, as Shalit was set to be freed.

Recent estimates from the Palestinian Authority say there are currently 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

Resheq: Turkey, Jordan, Syria to receive exiled prisoners

[ 17/10/2011 - 11:04 AM ]

BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Turkey, Jordan, and Syria have expressed readiness to host the 40 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed from Israeli jails on condition of being banished outside Palestine, political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq revealed.
He said in a press statement on Monday that preparations would be finalized within the next two days for hosting those ex-prisoners in those countries.
He said that a senior Hamas delegation led by its supreme leader Khaled Mishaal would fly to Cairo on Monday to receive and honor the liberated prisoners.
Resheq said that contacts were made with PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to turn the occasion (receiving the freed prisoners) into a national occasion reflecting unity of the Palestinian people.

Hamas official: Qatar, Turkey to host prisoners
Published today (updated) 17/10/2011 15:17
A Palestinian groom is carried by his friend as he celebrates his wedding
and a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, in front of the
headquarters of the International Red Cross in Gaza City October 14, 2011.
(REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said on Monday that three countries are willing to host Palestinian detainees set to be released under a recent exchange deal between Hamas and Israel.

Marzouq, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, told the London based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat that Qatar and Turkey had agreed to host exiled prisoners. Al-Hayat mentioned that Syria could also be among the countries willing to receive released detainees.

Turkish media said Friday that Turkey would accept all those exiled abroad.

A Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Mashaal will arrive in Cairo later on Monday to welcome released prisoners, Marzouq said.

The first stage of the prisoner swap is set to take place in the Egyptian Sinai, with Israel transferring some 430 Palestinian prisoners to a holding facility in the Negev desert on Sunday in preparation for the exchange on Tuesday.

Abu Marzouq praised Egypt's role in mediating negotiations for the prisoner deal to exchange 1,027 Palestinian detainees for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Several countries offered to facilitate the swap, Marzouq said, but the final mediators had to be agreed on between Israel and Hamas.

The Hamas official also apologized for any misunderstanding over the number of female detainees to be released. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had described the list of 27 women due to be released as all female prisoners held by Israel.

Marzouq confirmed, however, that 9 female prisoners are not part of the prisoner deal.

While some of the 477 prisoners due to be released this week will go home to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, almost half will be exiled.

Some 40 detainees will be deported to third countries and 163 to Gaza.

According to the latest figures provided by the Palestinian Authority, there are around 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. The majority remaining in prison have vowed to continue a hunger strike launched on Sept. 27, in protest against worsening conditions in Israeli prisons.

IOA isolates detained Palestinian MP

[ 17/10/2011 - 11:04 AM ]

TULKAREM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority transferred detained Palestinian MP Abdulrahman Zeidan from Megiddo jail to an isolation cell in Shatta jail.
A statement by the office of Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank said that the transfer was a surprise step, apparently in a bid to abort the prisoners’ hunger strike that has been ongoing for the past three weeks.
Zeidan was arrested in his home in Tulkarem last June in a fresh wave of arrests targeting Hamas MPs in the West Bank.

Israel moves hundreds of prisoners near swap site

A Palestinian prisoner gestures from the window of a bus as it leaves Nafha
Prison in the southern town of Mitzpe Ramon on Oct. 16, 2011, before a
prisoner swap that is expected to take place on Tuesday.
(REUTERS/Ilan Assayag)


JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel bused some 430 Palestinian prisoners under heavy guard to a holding facility in the Negev desert on Sunday in preparation for them to be exchanged on Tuesday for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, officials said.

The prisoner swap, to take place in the nearby Egyptian desert region of Sinai, is the first stage of the Egyptian- and German-brokered deal which will see over 1,000 Palestinians released from Israeli jail .

Forty-seven further Palestinians slated for release on Tuesday were moved to a holding cell in central Israel on Sunday.

While some of the 477 released this week will go home to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, almost half will be exiled, without stopping on Palestinian soil.

Some 200 detainees are slated for exile, 40 detainees to third countries and 163 to Gaza. Turkish media said on Friday that Turkey would accept all those exiled abroad.

On Sunday Hamas and Israel posted lists of the names of prisoners due to go free this week, opening the way for anyone opposed to their release to file a legal appeal within 48 hours. Israeli media reported on Sunday that a number of petitions had been filed, but the court has never stayed a government decision to release prisoners in the past.

"Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, or someone in Gaza goes nuts, it appears the deal will go through in two days," Yaakov Amidror, national security adviser for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Army Radio.

'No crisis'

On Sunday, Gaza was preparing a heroes' welcome for 295 of the prisoners due to be sent to the territory. Workmen hammered together an open-air stage and streets were decorated with Hamas and Palestinian flags.

The deal has been widely celebrated by Palestinians, despite heartache over prisoners remaining in jail and exiled abroad.

Popular jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said prisoners were not part of the negotiating process and first learned of the deal through the media, his lawyer told Ma'an on Sunday.

Barghouti and PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat are among several prominent figures who were left off the deal.

Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told Ma'an on Sunday that there was no crisis in implementing the prisoners exchange. He denied a Voice of Palestine interview, which quoted him saying the number of exiles and female detainees to be released were sticking points to be resolved with Israel by the end of the week.

The remaining 550 prisoners are set to be released in two months, an arrangement Hamad said Egypt has guaranteed to ensure the second phase runs smoothly.

According to latest figures provided by the Palestinian Authority, there are around 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. The majority remaining in jail have vowed to continue a hunger strike that entered its 20th day on Sunday, in protest of worsening conditions in Israeli prisons.

Mixed emotions in Israel

An opinion poll by Israel's Channel 10 TV showed the exchange was backed by two-thirds of Israelis. Shalit, now 25, was last seen, looking pale and thin, in a 2009 video shot by his captors.

The repatriation of captured soldiers, alive or dead, has long been an emotionally charged issue for Israelis, many of whom have served in the military. But they also feel a sting over the release of Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis.

Israel has said that around 300 of the 1,027 being freed in both stages of the deal were involved in violent crime.

One Israeli group opposed to the deal, the Almagor Terror Victims' Association, said the exchange would lead to more violence and abduction attempts.

"The judges should explain to terror victims how they allow Israelis to be murdered and (for the killers) to be released. They should look them in the eyes and explain," Meir Indor, head of Almagor, told Israeli television.

Gila Edri-Dekel, whose brother Sharon was abducted and killed by Palestinian militants in 1996, said her family has been in a state of angst since hearing that his killers were to be released in the swap.

"To see the number of prisoners released, to see his killers released, it is another punishment for my mother," Edri-Dekel told Army Radio.

Israel's Supreme Court will hear the group's petitions against the swap on Monday. Hours beforehand, the court took the rare step of granting Noam Shalit's request to argue himself in its chambers in favor of the deal for his son.

In a televised appeal, the soldier's mother Aviva Shalit, said "we understand their heavy hearts" of Israeli attack victims, but cautioned any delay in implementing the sensitive deal "is liable to put Gilad at risk."

Shalit, a tank crewman captured in 2006 by militants who tunneled into Israel from fenced-off Gaza and spirited him into the enclave, was expected to be handed over in Egypt's adjacent Sinai desert and flown to Israel.

Israel, which withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, tightened its blockade of the small coastal territory which is home to around 1.5 million Palestinians after Shalit was seized.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report

Israel high court discusses prisoner exchange appeals

A protester (R) holds a sign during a demonstration outside Israel's Supreme
Court in Jerusalem, Oct. 17, 2011, against a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas,
as people supporting the deal hold signs behind him. The signs read: The blood
of those murdered screams from the ground. Release of murderers - danger,
humiliation and blasphemy. (Reuters/Eric Gaillard)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israelis opposed to a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas sought Supreme Court intervention on Monday to block the release of hundreds of jailed Palestinians in return for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The first phase of the swap, to take place on Tuesday, should bring to a close a saga that has gripped Israelis over the five years of Shalit's captivity in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

But under Israeli law, those against the planned release of 477 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were convicted of deadly attacks, can appeal before the exchange is carried out.

Four petitions were filed with the Supreme Court by the Almagor Terror Victims Association and relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks.

Judging from similar appeals in prisoner exchange deals in the past, the court is unlikely to intervene in what it considers a political and security issue.

"I understand the difficulty in accepting that the vile people who committed the heinous crimes against your loved ones will not pay the full price they deserve," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a letter, released by his office, to bereaved Israeli families.

Hamas prepared a heroes' welcome in Gaza for 295 of the prisoners due to be sent to the Israeli-blockaded territory. Palestinians regard brethren jailed by Israel as prisoners of war in a struggle for statehood. Israel holds some 6,000 Palestinian prisoners.

An opinion poll in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth found that 79 percent of the public supported the deal with Hamas.

Shalit, now 25, was captured in 2006 by militants who tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip and surprised his tank crew, killing two of his comrades.

Israel, which withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, tightened its blockade of the coastal territory after he was seized and spirited into the Gaza Strip.

Emotions high

The repatriation of captured soldiers, alive or dead, has long been an emotionally charged issue for Israelis, many of whom have served in the military. But they also feel a sting over the high price they feel Israel paid for Shalit.

Yossi Zur, whose son Asaf was among 17 people killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in the Israeli city of Haifa in 2003, asked the Supreme Court to prevent the release of the prisoners, three of whom were linked to the attack.

"From our experience with past deals, and sadly we have a lot of experience, we know how many Israelis will be killed as a result of the release of these terrorists. I am here to protect my children who are still alive," Zur told Channel 10 television.

In a rare step, the court has allowed Shalit's parents to appear and argue in favor of the deal for their son.

"Nobody knows what the impact of any delay, or any change, even the smallest, in the terms would be," they wrote in a letter to the court.

Israel's Prison Service has bused the 477 Palestinian prisoners under heavy guard to two holding facilities ahead of their release.

On Tuesday, some of the Palestinians will be brought to Egypt's Sinai desert, where the exchange for Shalit will take place. Some of those prisoners will be taken to the Gaza Strip and 41 will be exiled abroad. Shalit will be flown to an air base in Israel to be reunited with his family.

A smaller group of prisoners on the release roster will be taken from Israel to the occupied West Bank, where they will be welcomed by President Mahmoud Abbas and their families.

Hamas sources said the exiled prisoners will be received by Turkey, Qatar and Syria after being brought to Cairo, where the movement's leader, Khaled Meshaal, will greet them.

In the second stage, expected to take place in about two months, the remaining 550 Palestinian prisoners will be freed, officials said.

Israel's deal with Hamas seemed unlikely to have an impact on international efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which collapsed 13 months ago over Israel's refusal to halt illegal settlement building in the West Bank.

Abbas has been pursuing a bid for UN recognition of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the absence of negotiations with Israel.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Prisoners society: 9 female detainees not included in deal

A Palestinian woman, with her hands chained, flashes victory signs as
she takes part in a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners
from Israeli jails, near the International Committee of Red Cross offices in
Beirut, October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian prisoners society on Sunday released the names of 9 female detainees it said are not included in the prisoner exchange set to take place on Tuesday.

Suad Ahmad Abdul Raouf, Lina Ahmad al-Jarbuni, Khadija Kayed Abu Ayesh, Muna Amna, Bushra al-Tawil, Feda Abu Suneineh, Haniyeh Nasser, Rani Halasa and Worood Qassem will not be released along with the 27 other female detainees, according to the society.

The names include all three Palestinian female detainees born in Israel, and two women from Ramallah, according to lists by the prisoners society. However it also names at least one woman -- Muna Amna -- who appears on an Israeli list of those slated for release. Ma'an could not independently verify the prisoners' society list.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel's ministry of justice published a list of 450 men and 27 women to be released as part of a prisoner exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

Following publication of the names, the 27 women were transferred from Damun prison in the north to Sharon in central Israel ahead of their release, Israeli officials said.

The women were transported in four buses with blacked out windows, according to Israel Radio.

The plight of women imprisoned in Israel causes widespread concern among Palestinians.

In a televised statement announcing the deal on Tuesday, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had described a list of 27 women due to be released as all female prisoners held by Israel.

But the prisoners society said in Sunday's statement that there are a total of 36 female detainees in Israeli jails.

A lawyer from the prisoners society last Wednesday named 35 female detainees she said would be released, while lists provided by the Popular Resistance Committees' armed wing and Israel's prison service name 27 women.

According to figures provided by the Palestinian Authority in early October, there are at least 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 35 women.

AFP contributed to this report

Prisoners group: Israel to end isolation policy

Lebanese and Palestinians carry banners and Palestinian flags as they take
part in a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli
jails, near the International Committee of Red Cross offices in Beirut, on
October 14, 2011. (Reuters/Sharif Karim)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities told Palestinian prisoners they will end solitary confinement in jails with the exception of three Hamas-affiliated detainees, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society said Saturday.

Qadura Fares told Ma'an Israeli prison officers said they will completely end the policy of isolation cells, a key demand of a prisoners hunger strike that entered its 19th day on Saturday.

"This is a good sign that the issue of isolating (prisoners) will end and reach a resolution," Qadura said.

The prison administration will seek approval from Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet. Officers in Israel's Ramon prison told detainees that the Shin Bet agreed to end isolation bar three Hamas cadres, he said.

Abdullah Barghouti, Ibrahim Hamed, and Mahmoud Issa -- members of Hamas's military wing -- will remain in solitary confinement.

Fares told Ma'an that the exceptions would block a solution to the issue. The three prisoners must be released from isolation, he said, adding that they should be released as part of an exchange deal agreed by Israel and Hamas this week.

The Hamas militants have not appeared on prisoner release lists under the deal to free over 1,000 Palestinians from Tuesday in exchange for captured Israeli solider Gilad Shalit.

Spokesman for the detainees ministry in Gaza Riyad al-Ashkar says more than 22 prisoners are currently in solitary confinement in Israeli jails.

Fares called for attention to the hunger strike and the impact it was having on detainees' health after 19 days without food.

Detainees launched the strike to protest worsening conditions in Israeli jails on Sept. 27, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to toughen measures against the 6,000 odd Palestinians in Israeli jail.

Rights group Addameer called on Thursday for the international community to relaunch efforts to end what it called "collective punishment" of prisoners, as Shalit was set to be freed.

Israel publishes list of prisoners as steps for release begin

Palestinians hold placards and photographs of their relatives held in Israeli
jails during a protest calling for their release, next to the headquarters of
the International Red Cross in Jerusalem, October 14, 2011.
(REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel on Sunday published the official list of 477 Palestinian prisoners to be released on Tuesday and took the first steps to releasing detainees.

The gate of a prison in northern Israel swung open on Sunday morning and three heavily guarded vehicles drove out carrying 15 Palestinian female inmates -- some making V-for-victory signs -- to another jail to await their release along with 12 other women and 450 male prisoners in the trade.

Israel's President Shimon Peres received on Saturday the details of the 477 prisoners to be released in the first stage of the exchange, and he is expected to sign their pardons by Tuesday, his spokeswoman said.

The list of 450 Palestinian men and 27 women was published by the justice ministry on the website of the Israel Prisons Service, to give the public 48 hours to lodge any legal appeals against the deal which will see the return of Shalit, who has spent more than five years in captivity.

Another 550 Palestinian prisoners are to be released within two months.

As soon as the list was published, Israel's main radio and television stations began running through the long list of deadly attacks the prisoners named on the list were convicted of.

Among the names mentioned were prisoners who were found guilty of taking part in the 2001 bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub which killed 21 people, and the so-called Passover bombing of a hotel in the coastal town of Netanya in 2002, which killed 29 people, both of which were claimed by Hamas's armed wing.

"Pursuant to the government of Israel's decision from October 11, 2011, to approve the proceedings of the agreement for the liberation of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas, prisoners will be released as detailed in the following list," said the document which details exactly where each prisoner is to be sent.

Soon after publishing the list, Israeli media reported that prison authorities had begun transferring detainees to prisons in southern and central Israel to prepare for the exchange.

Prisoners will undergo checks by the Red Cross in the Ketziot prison near Egypt's border, Haaretz reported, as well as in the Sharon facility in central Israel.

Detainees returning to the Gaza Strip will be transferred to Egypt first from where they will cross into the Strip via the Rafah crossing, Haaretz said.

Last week, several websites affiliated with the Islamist Hamas movement and the Popular Resistance Committees, both of which were involved in capturing Shalit, published lists purportedly naming Palestinians to be freed, but Sunday's list was the first official one released.

With the publication of the list, Israelis who wish to raise a legal challenge against the swap deal between Israel and Hamas, which was announced last Tuesday, can now petition against it.

On Friday, an Israeli group representing victims of Palestinian attacks lodged the first petition at the High Court to cancel, or at least delay, the deal.

The court has never in the past overturned any government decision to free prisoners involved in militant attacks against Israelis.

In their petition, the Almagor said that under the current timetable the victims' families would not have sufficient time to examine the names of prisoners set for release and prepare an appeal.

Shalit is to return to Israel on Tuesday at the same time as the first group of 477 prisoners are freed if the terms of the swap deal are respected, officials say.

Israel's chief negotiator David Meidan returned to Cairo late on Saturday to finalize the details of the prisoner exchange with Hamas, working through Egyptian mediators, media reports said.

Although greeted with initial enthusiasm, many Palestinians are disappointed with the terms of the prisoner swap, which entails some detainees being exiled abroad or away from their homes.

Some 200 detainees will be exiled, 40 detainees overseas and 163 to Gaza.

The prisoners' rights group Addameer says Israel has detained over 650,000 Palestinians since it occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, around 20 percent of the population.

Under international law it is illegal for Israel, as an occupying power, to transfer Palestinians outside the occupied territory.

There are at least 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. They are held in high esteem within society for their role in the national struggle for self determination against Israeli occupation.

Reuters contributed to this report

Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Days after Prisoner Exchange Deal is Announced, Palestinian Prisoners Remain Steadfast in their Hunger Strike


Ramallah, 13 October 2011

As the world welcomed the conclusion of an extensive prisoner exchange deal between Israeli and Hamas authorities on 11 October, Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons resolutely entered their third week of a hunger strike, launched on 27 September in response to pronounced deteriorations in their detention conditions. Addameer is concerned that these prisoners’ dire health conditions and isolation will only be exacerbated over the next three days as Israeli prisons close during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Indeed, while the prisoner exchange deal will be thoroughly scrutinized over the next three days, it will be completely impossible for lawyers and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegates to visit Israeli prisons during the same period because of the Sukkot holiday. As a result, until at least Sunday 16 October, there will be no independent monitoring of, or contact with, the hunger striking prisoners, some of whom are already in dismal health. Furthermore, it will be impossible to verify whether salt has been returned to prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for more than 14 days, as is required by Israeli law, an illegal measure that could significantly impact the prisoners’ health. As of 12 October, which marked the sixteenth day of the hunger strike and the last time Addameer lawyers were able to undertake visits, administrations in the visited prisons had not returned the salt to the strikers. In addition, Addameer expects that lawyer visits will be further complicated by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) during the entire period of the prisoner releases, with authorities likely to attribute this to the logistics of the releases.
Addameer is extremely concerned about the three-day period during which striking prisoners will be left completely isolated from the outside world, especially at such an advanced stage in their hunger strike. Addameer therefore urges the ICRC to intervene with the IPS to allow them to visit the prisons during the Sukkot holidays and further reminds the IPS that it will be held responsible for the striking prisoners’ life. Finally, it should be recalled that the punitive and collective measures imposed by the IPS on Palestinian political prisoners in recent months were taken directly following a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. As such, with Shalit now set to be released within the next few days, Addameer demands that the international community rally to ensure that these politically-motivated measures, which constitute collective punishment, be immediately reversed and the prisoners’ legitimate demands granted.

Transfer of freed Palestinian prisoners 'begins Tuesday'

Women hug each other as they take part in a protest calling for the release of
their sons held in Israeli jails, inside the headquarters of the International Red
Cross in Gaza City October 13, 2011. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- One of the groups involved in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit said Thursday that the transfer of some 450 Palestinian prisoners will begin Tuesday.

Spokesman Abu Mujahed of the Popular Resistance Committees said Thursday that as soon as the detainees are released, officials will check each one to make sure they are among those listed in the deal.

Once the prisoners are checked, the factions holding Shalit will release him too.

An official in the PRC's military wing, meanwhile, released a list of prisoners it says Israel agreed to free in exchange for Shalit. The list includes 477 names along with the conditions of each prisoner's release.

Several lists are floating around, including one which appeared on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV. The ministry of prisoners affairs in the Gaza Strip says none of them are entirely accurate.

Abu Mujahed, the PRC spokesman, said those detainees who are to be exiled from the West Bank will depart Israel via Egypt and enter Gaza. Those who will be exiled abroad will go to Turkey or Qatar via Cairo.

Israel and Hamas agreed Tuesday to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for captive soldier Shalit, resolving one of the most emotive and intractable issues between them.

The deal was overseen by the Egyptian intelligence minister two weeks ago. Israel and Hamas send delegates to Cairo and it was agreed that 450 prisoners would be freed in a first round.

There are at least 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. They are regarded as heroes in their struggle against Israeli occupation and quest for statehood.

Shalit, who also holds French citizenship, was last seen in a videotape released by his captors in September 2009. He has received no visits from the Red Cross, despite many appeals.

Solidarity with Palestinians prisoners in the Israeli jails who went on a hunger strike


On 27 October 2011, political prisoners in Israeli jails have declared an open hunger strike. This means that the strike is unlimited and will go on until their just demands are fulfilled. They are protesting against the inhuman conditions of detention and against the deterioration of their conditions. Every day more prisoners join the strike.

Among their main demands:
  • Stop holding Palestinians prisoners in isolation cells. Special call to stop the isolation of Palestinians leaders who, for years, have been held in isolation cells.
  • Stop prohibiting prisoners' families from visiting them. For more than five years, the Israeli authorities have prevented all the prisoners' families from the Gaza Strip from visiting the prison, and also hundreds of prisoners' families from the West Bank are prohibited from visiting.
  • Stop the harassments and humiliation by the Israeli occupation forces of the prisoners' families on their way to visiting the prison.
  • Against the deterioration of the conditions in the prison, including the prisoners' right to study, against the blocking of television channels, and against the prohibition to let in books.
  • Stop the frequent and humiliating searches, including searches in the nude.
  • Against health neglect and for appropriate and professional health treatment, according to the prisoners' needs, including prisoners' dental care.
On 9 October 2011, four women political prisoners have joined the open hunger strike:

Duaa elJayusi,
from Tulkarem, arrested on 7 May 2002.

Worud Kasem, from Tira in the Triangle arrested on 14 October 2006.

Somod Karaja, from Safa, Ramallah district, arrested on 25 October 2009.

Linan Abu Ghulme, from Furik, Nablus district, an administrative detainee, arrested on 15 July 2010.

WOFPP's lawyer, Taghreed Jahshan, visited in Damoon prison on 10 October 2011 and heard from the administrative detainee Linan Abu Gholme that:
the prison authorities punished the women prisoners who joined the hunger strike and took many things from their cell, including television, radio, hot plate, kettle, notebooks, books, pens and all the food that was in the cell, including sugar and salt. In addition, other punishments imposed on them: preventing family visits, shopping in the canteen, sending letters, going out from their cell except for one hour a day at 6:30pm.
The prison authorities also made a very rigid and humiliating search in their cell. During the search the guards created an atmosphere of fear: near every prisoner a guard was standing in a threatening way. The prison authorities threatened the prisoners who joined the hunger strike to transfer them to isolation cells.

We protest against the humiliation of the prisoners who are on a hunger strike and supporting their just struggle against the inhuman conditions in which the Palestinian prisoners are held in the Israeli jails.

Activities for solidarity with the prisoners on hunger stike are held every day.

We join the activities and call to join the activities of support and solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in the Israli jails.
Freedom to the Prisoners of Freedom!

UFree celebrates prisoner release, but calls for release of thousands left behind

Oslo, Norway – Oct. 13, 2011 –  The exchange in which the Israeli government will free 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in return for soldier Gilad Shalit is welcome news, but work must continue unabated to end the suffering of the 5,000-plus individuals who remain in jail, says UFree,  the Oslo-based support network.
“The release of more than 1,000 prisoners, who for so long have been deprived of basic human rights such as education and visits by their family members, is reason to celebrate,” says Mohammed Hamdan, chairman of UFree. “However, more than 5,000 remain, and we must not forget them.”
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, more than 6,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons, including 180 minors – of whom 34 are between the ages of 12-15 – and 143 serving terms of more than 20 years. In its 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Amnesty International stated, “Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.”
UFree has long worked to raise the awareness of the plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, launching petition campaigns among the general public and bringing the arbitrary arrests and poor conditions to the attention of European lawmakers and NGOs. For example, it appealed to international human rights organizations to pressure Israel to free AlJazeera journalist Samer Allawi (now released), and called on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to push for release of the 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council held in Israeli jails for the last five years. It is unknown at this time whether any of these 21 will be among the 1,027 who will be released. However, it has been learned that one of the Palestinians’ key demands – that all of the 34 women prisoners be released – will be fulfilled.
Two weeks ago, a hunger strike was launched among the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, with about 2,000 now participating. Their demands include an end to arbitrary solitary confinement of Palestinian leaders and the right to pursue education and receive family visits.
“UFree calls for all humanitarian and international human rights organisations to use every legitimate means to press for the release of all Palestinian prisoners, and to support their hunger strike until their rights and dignity are restored,” says Hamdan. “Likewise, human rights organisations and the media must be granted access to these prisoners to assure that Israel is held accountable. Impunity must no longer be acceptable.”

Military Order 1676 – Raising the age of majority


[11 October 2011] – On 27 September 2011, General Avi Mizrahi, the Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank, issued Military Order 1676 raising the age of majority in the military courts from 16 to 18 years. The new military order also makes provision for the notification of a child’s parents that the child has been arrested and informing the child that he/she has the right to consult with a lawyer, but without stating precisely when this consultation should occur. Contrary to international law, the new order has only been circulated in the Hebrew language.
DCI-Palestine welcomes the raising of the age of majority to 18, which after 44 years, brings Israeli military law in conformity with international standards on this issue. However, DCI remains concerned that Palestinian children as young as 12 years continue to be denied many basic rights when detained under military law, and prosecuted in military courts. These concerns include the following:
  1. The majority of children continue to be arrested from their homes in the middle of the night by heavily armed soldiers, causing extreme fear and anxiety:
  2. The overwhelming majority of children continue to be painfully tied with a single plastic cord in violation of Israeli army procedures introduced in April 2010;
  3. Numerous and credible reports of the ill-treatment of children during arrest, transfer and interrogation continue to be received. In some cases this treatment may amount to torture. No effective action appears to have been taken to remedy this situation;
  4. Children are still not informed of their right to remain silent;
  5. Children continue to be interrogated in the absence of a parent, a right afforded to most Israeli children;
  6. Children continue to be interrogated in the absence of a lawyer, and generally only receive legal advice after their interrogation is completed and they have provided a confession;
  7. Effective measures to prevent ill-treatment during interrogation, such as the audio-visual recording of all interrogations, have still not been introduced, even though this safeguard was recommended by the UN Committee Against Torture in mid 2009;
  8. Children continue to be denied bail in around 90 percent of cases in violation of article 37(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; and
  9. The overwhelming majority of children continue to receive custodial sentences that are frequently served in prisons inside Israel, in violation of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits such transfers.
In order to meet its legally binding international obligations towards children, DCI continues to demand that Israeli military authorities implement binding orders that immediately and effectively address the above concerns.

5 Oct. '11: Army raises minority age of Palestinians to 18, as in Israel; violation of minors' rights continues

Israeli Border Police officers detain a Palestinian near Nablus. Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters, 2010. B'Tselem

Army raises age of minority in military-justice system in West Bank to 18, same as in Israel, but fails to make other necessary changes to protect minors
On 27 September 2011, OC Central Command signed Amendment 10 to the Order Regarding Security Provisions. The amendment changes provisions relating to minors in the military-justice system, which applies to Palestinians in the West Bank. Israelis living in the West Bank are prosecuted according to Israeli penal law.
The amendment raises the age of minority from 16 to 18. B'Tselem welcomes this amendment, which aptly conforms the age of minority in the West Bank to the customary age around the world, including in Israel. However, it does not deal with the grave infringement of Palestinian minors’ rights, as Israeli authorities have not, thus far, respected the rights of Palestinians under the age of 16. B'Tselem’s report No Minor Matter revealed how the authorities breach the rights of Palestinian minors suspected of stone- throwing at all stages of the process: arrest, interrogation, trial, and imprisonment.
  • Involvement of parents: The obligation to notify parents, without delay, that their child has been arrested existed in the pre-amendment legislation. The amendment slightly expanded the requirement to include the giving of immediate notice to parents with respect to both arrest and interrogation of their child. However, the amendment contains several qualifications that enable those responsible to refrain from such notification. First, if the minor does not provide details on his parents, the authorities are not obligated obtain the details. Second, the amendment requires the authorities only to make a “reasonable effort under the circumstances” to locate the parents, but fails to define the expression “reasonable effort.” A third exception arises where there is a “reasonable suspicion” that notice will obstruct the interrogation or “harm the security of the region.” The order does not interpret these expressions, thus giving the interrogators great discretion.
  • Caution and right to consult: The amendment requires the authorities to inform minors who have been arrested of their right to consult with an attorney in private. However, the amendment does not properly guarantee realization of the right: it only requires the interrogator to inform the minor’s attorney about the interrogation, and specifies that the giving of notice will not delay the interrogation. In addition, the interrogator must give notice to “a defense attorney whose particulars were provided by the minor,” although it is unlikely that a minor under arrest will be in possession of an attorney's contact details.
  • Statute of limitations: Under the pre-existing legislation, a minor could not be prosecuted for an offense if two or more years had passed since commission of the offense. The amendment reduces the period to one year, except as regards a long list of offenses that are defined security offenses, such as causing death, assault, stone-throwing, organizing and participating in demonstrations, disturbing a soldier in the performance of his duties, and throwing a burning object. In effect, the amendment will not apply to most minors accused of committing what are classified as security offenses.
  • Holding minors with adults in detention and in prison: Holding minors with adults in detention and in prison: The amendment contains an exception to the sweeping prohibition on holding minors with adults, and states that minors over age 16 may be kept with adults, provided that doing so benefi44LRL9w4DDRJ5pRmSOJ; preferredOpdo not have access to minors during sleeping hours. There is no explanation why minors above age 16 are allowed to be held with adults, the age of minority now having been raised to 18. Holding minors and adults together is problematic. As a judge of the Youth Military Court in Judea, Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai, said regarding incarceration of 16 and 17 year olds with adults: “It is unnecessary to go into detail on the damage such incarceration can cause a minor later in life” (Mil. Ct. (Judea) 1261/09, Military Prosecutor v. H.P., 23 February 2009).
These slight changes do not provide for proper protection the rights of Palestinian minors suspected of having committed offenses. There still is a substantial gap between the rights granted minors under Israeli and international law and those granted under the military legislation. B'Tselem calls for immediate changes in the military legislation to provide Palestinian minors with the protections to which they are entitled, including the right to have a parent present at the interrogation, prohibition of interrogation at night, strict prohibition on imprisoning minors under 14, advancement of to alternatives to detention and imprisonment, and all other protections provided in Israel’s Youth Law.