Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nafha prison authority cancels relatives' visits

[ 23/01/2011 - 07:19 PM ]

NABLUS, (PIC)-- The Israeli administration of the Nafha desert prison told the Red Cross on Sunday that it would not allow visits by relatives of detainees until further notice.
Miyasar Atiyani, an activist in prisoners' affairs, said in a press release that the ban was a penal measure against the prisoners for waging a hunger strike for two days.
She added that 360 prisoners from the Gaza Strip in Nafha have been deprived of family visits for four years along with 120 others from the West Bank.
In another development related to the Palestinian prisoners, Ra'fat Hamdona, the director of the prisoners' center for studies, said in a statement on Saturday that the Israeli higher court's decision about the secret prison 1391 legitimized violations inside it. The court ruled against uncovering the secrets of that jail.
He urged the world community to protect the Palestinian prisoners from the escalating Israeli violations.

Prison affairs minister: Alliot-Marie's visit to Shalit's family proves bias

[ 23/01/2011 - 10:50 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Gaza minister of prisoner affairs Mohammed Faraj al-Ghaul said visits by French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to Shalit's family proved her bias to Israel.
"I expected the minister to visit the relatives of seven thousand captives in Israeli jails, but her exclusive visit to Shalit's home is clear evidence of her solidarity with Israel," Ghaul said at a sit in staged Saturday by the Islamic Jihad Movement to show solidarity with Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
He also said that Shalit was captured in the battlefield and was part of an army committing daily war crimes against the people in Gaza while Palestinian captives in occupation jails are kidnapped from their homes and the midst of their families, which is a real war crime.
Shalit, a dual citizen of France and Israel, was captured by Gaza resistance forces in 2006.
Alliot-Marie got a hostile reception from Palestinians upon her arrival to Gaza on Friday.
Media outlets had misquoted the FM as saying Hamas's five-year capture of Shalit is a war crime after a visit she made to Shalit's family. She did say that he should be allowed visits from the Red Cross.
Israel is sole beneficiary
Speaking at the sit in, senior Islamic Jihad official Nafidh Ezam condemned the PA's torture of resistance movement leader Khadir Adnan.
"Why do you arrest and persecute the symbol of resistance in the West Bank Khadir Adnan?" he said.
"What goes on in the West Bank does not serve our people and our resistance against the occupation. The sole beneficiary of these assaults is Israel, which is trying to eat and steal."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

URGENT APPEAL - Children of Silwan

06 January 2011
DCI - Palestine: URGENT APPEAL - Children of Silwan

76% of children arrested in Silwan tell DCI they suffered some form of physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation.

04 January 2011 URGENT APPEAL - Administrative Detention Imad al-Ashhab (17)

04 January 2011
DCI-Palestine: URGENT APPEAL - Administrative Detention

Imad al-Ashhab (17) has been held for over 10 months without charge or trial. On 4 February 2011, he will either be released, or given a fifth administrative detention order.

Palestinians present testimonies in Morocco

By Muhammad Al-Lahham

RABAT, Morocco (Ma'an) -- Palestinians presented testimonies on Saturday to rights organizations, politicians and lawyers at a conference in Morocco to support political prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The 3-day event, staged in Rabat, was an important opportunity to for supporters of Palestinian detainees to reach an international audience, Palestinian Authority Prisoners' Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said.

Qaraqe said he hoped to form an international coalition of legal experts and media workers to make public Israel's violations of human rights.

Regarding delegations present at the forum, Qaraqe said Arab participation was good but he wished it were better.

The interaction of the Arab League and the United Nations was positive, he said.

The issue of Palestinian political prisoners was the most urgent humanitarian concern in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the minister said.

He continued that Palestinian prisoners in Israel were searching for protection from a country which failed to respect international conventions, including those it has ratified.

Ex-detainee and Gaza resident Nedal As-Sarfiti attended the conference. Israeli forces destroyed his home and killed two of his children, and one of his remaining children is in prison in Israel.

"I am happy with this concern and the excellent conference, which is full of sympathy and support for our children," he said.

He said he hoped there would be further similar events to convey the humanitarian urgency of the Palestinian issue, and to keep the morale of prisoners high.

Moroccan activist Khadijah Barakat, a member of the Moroccan society to support Palestinians, said the conference was a "historic event and a step to freedom."

Barakat said she was particularly struck by the strong testimonies presented by ex-detainees on the circumstances of their arrests, the effect on their families, and their stories of friends who died in Israeli jails.

She called on Arab organizations to form committees to lobby and advocate for the political prisoners who she said were paying a heavy price for their belief in justice.

Palestinian People's Party official Walid Al-Awad said Palestinian factions were working hard to draw attention to the plight of prisoners detained in Israel, and to remind the international community that Palestinian prisoners were victims of Israel's inhumane policies.

Hamas slams Alliot-Marie for ignoring suffering of Palestinians in Israeli jails

[ 22/01/2011 - 08:17 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement strongly denounced French foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie for describing, during a visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as a war crime and ignoring the suffering of thousands of Palestinians who were kidnapped from their homes.
In a press release on Friday, Hamas stated that Shalit was taken prisoner as he was aboard an Israeli tank besieging and pointing its gun at Gaza people.
Hamas underscored that Alliot-Marie's remarks were a diplomatic discourtesy from her side and reflected her blatant bias in favor of the Israeli occupation.
It added that the French minister affronted the Palestinian people and their prisoners in Israeli jails when it made such irresponsible remarks, and demanded the French government to apologize to the Palestinian people.
For its part, the Palestinian resistance committees said that Alliot-Marie's claims that the Palestinian resistance committed a war crime when it captured an Israeli soldier proved France's full support for the policies of the Israeli occupation in the region.
Spokesman for the committees Mohamed Al-Barim stated that Alliot-Marie knows well that Shalit was aboard an Israeli tank used to kill Palestinians east of Rafah area when he was captured by resistance fighters, stressing that the resistance has the right to take every Israeli assaulting the Palestinian people prisoner.
Spokesman Barim emphasized that the perpetrators of war crimes are the people who are occupying the Palestinian land, and committing massacres and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. 
The spokesman demanded France, which intervened more than once to have Shalit released, to desist from statements showing loyalty to the Zionist project in the region and doing no justice to the Palestinian people who struggle for their freedom.
In a related incident, spokesman for Wa'ed society for detainees Abdullah Qandil told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the families of Gazan prisoners in Israeli jails set up a sit-in tent near Beit Hanoun crossing, north of Gaza, in protest at the remarks made by Alliot-Marie who ignored the suffering of about 7,000 Palestinians detained in Israel's jails.
Spokesman Qandil added that some of the families under the insistence of Alliot-Marie on not meeting them to listen to their suffering got irritated and expressed their anger at her through intercepting her motorcade.

Rights groups condemn Israel's refusal to close top secret prison

[ 22/01/2011 - 08:01 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Rights groups are condemning an Israeli Supreme Court decision refusing to shut down Israel's most top secret investigation center.
Those organizations are the Mandela prisoner care foundation, the Palestinian Prisoner Committee in the West Bank, the Prisoner Friend Society, and Nazareth Prisoner Affairs Follow-up Committee and the Siddiq Yousef prisoner care foundation in Umm Al-Fahm.
Two petitions were filed against the 1391 detention center, which resides on a secret military base and is directly affiliated with the Israeli intelligence.
According to the prisoner rights groups, Israel has refused to admit the center exists. It is not subject to regulations by the Red Cross or other global organizations.
The Israeli daily Haaretz first shed light on the center in 2003 after the Israeli army took several Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners without anyone knowing about their existence or the existence of the center.
Haaretz quoted petitioners as saying the court agreed to place restrictions on the period of detention allowed in the center, provide specific information on its location to the detainees themselves, and to use it exclusively on orders of senior leadership.

57 detention extensions against Palestinian detainees since mid-January

[ 21/01/2011 - 07:30 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- Zionist courts have ruled to extend the detention of Palestinians until end of procedures (open-ended) on 57 occasions since mid-January.
The Ofer court ruled to extend the detention of 18 Palestinians, the Askalan court made six such extentions, the Salem court made 12 extensions, while the Maskoubeyyah and Jalama courts made 10 extensions each.
These extensions will give the Israeli intelligence unlimited time to keep these 76 Palestinian detainees in prisons and interrogation centres to try and get confessions out of them, usually under torture.

Zahhar: Shalit case sensitive for politics, people

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The protest and media fallout in the wake of an Israeli public radio misquote of France's foreign minister shows how sensitive the issue of prisoners is, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said Friday.

The French minister was met with signs telling her to "get out of Gaza," her car was egged and shoes were thrown over a statement which was mistakenly attributed to the official at a meeting with the parents of an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza factions.

The father of the soldier asked Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to press the European Union to "condemn as a war crime" the detention of his son, but Israel's public radio posted a story on its Arabic-language website mistakenly quoting Alliot-Marie as saying the European Union "must condemn the war crime that Hamas is committing by keeping Gilad Shalit in captivity."

Speaking to a Libyan delegation that arrived in Gaza on Friday, Zahhar commented on the incident, saying it showed the sensitivity of the issue, and the need for continued secrecy over the whereabouts of the soldier.

In exchange for the release of the soldier, factions are asking for the release of 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli jails. While negotiations between the factions and Israel continued for some time under the mediation efforts of a German official, they fell through when Israel refused to release dozens of the 450 named detainees, with the other 550 at Israel's discretion.

Israel offered to exile some of the men on the list, an idea refused by the negotiating factions.

For tens of thousands of Palestinians, an exchange deal for the captured soldier is the only hope of seeing their imprisoned loved ones.

Addressing the issue Zahhar said the factions detaining Shalit are "dealing with the case completely secretly" out of necessity.

One of the reasons behind Israel's last offensive on Gaza was given as the retrieval of the captured soldier.

"The occupation's theory of quickly terminating the battle has failed," Zahhar said, and accused Israel of threatening to wage a new war on Gaza in a second attempt to find the soldier.

Zahhar said the resistance in Gaza was prepared for all eventualities, dismissing what he said were rumors that Israel could use nuclear weapons against the coastal enclave.

"Israel can’t attack us with nuclear weapon because that weapon does not differentiate between Green or Yellow lines," the official said.

The Gaza Strip, he said, had "become the front line encountering the occupation," and that not only would resistance brigades continue to defend the area, but the factions holding Shalit would continue to keep him in order to secure the release of what he called thousands of Palestinian prisoners of war that Israel has detained.

Zahhar said the events of Friday showed how sensitive the case of Shalit was, how important to the Palestinian people and how fresh in their minds were their loved ones in Israeli prisons.


Zahhar: We run the file of Shalit in total secrecy
[ 22/01/2011 - 02:16 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Member of Hamas's political bureau Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that the Palestinian parties in Gaza manage the file of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in total secrecy, noting that Israel tries every once in a while to bring up this issue through its sources and media outlets.
Zahhar, during his meeting with members of the Libyan aid convoy Al-Quds 5 on Friday, added that the issue of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is very delicate and any word that comes out of the media has resonance and a very big impact, especially on the families of detainees.
As for the popular rage against the French foreign minister, the Hamas official stated that the remarks made about Shalit by Michele Alliot-Marie reflected the hypocrisy of the European policy.
In this regard, the Libyan aid convoy Al-Quds 5 arrived on Friday in Gaza. The convoy was composed of 17 Libyan members, two ambulances and truckloads of medical supplies and medicines.
Head of the convoy Nouri Ashahawi said that a national Libyan committee was formed to continue the humanitarian support for Gaza people, affirming that a number of land convoys and ships will be heading soon to the Strip.

Prisoners of Israel hunger strike over solitary

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The National Prisoners' Committee announced on Friday, the start of a two-day hunger strike in Israel's Nafha prison in the Negev desert.

The committee said it called the strike to protest the solitary confinement of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine secretary-general Ahmad Sa'adat and Hamas lawmaker Jamal Abu Al-Haya.

Supporters say the men have been frequently placed in solitary confinement for long durations throughout their terms in prison.

The political leaders suffered deteriorating health and Israel's prison authorities refused them treatment, the committee said.

Further, the strike was called to protest regular night raids on cells and confiscation of detainees' property. Prison guards also frequently seized family members' visiting permits on their arrival to the prison, the committee added.

Israeli authorities also prevented prisoners from enrolling at universities, and canceled the enrollment of those already studying.

In addition, the committee said prisoners were denied hot water or mattresses in order to force detainees to pay for them at their own expense.


Nafha prisoners start two-day hunger strike
[ 22/01/2011 - 07:29 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of prisoners in Gaza Strip said that the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Nafha jail have gone on hunger strike on Friday to protest their cruel incarceration conditions.
The ministry's spokesman Riyadh Al-Ashqar said in a press release that prisoners in all wards in that jail had joined the strike that would continue on Saturday.
He said that the prisoners are protesting the continued solitary confinement of internees and constant rough search of their rooms.
Ashqar noted that the prisoners presented a list of their demands to the prison's administration including ending the isolation of Hamas leader Jamal Abulhaija and PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat in addition to stopping to the daily violent storming of their rooms that include beating prisoners and spraying them with gas in addition to breaking their belongings and confiscating some of them.
They demand reducing the four daily searches of their rooms that take 40 minutes each time during which they are crammed in small areas, he said, adding that the prisoners also ask for allowing all prisoners to get out of their cells for the daily stroll at one time to see each other. He pointed out that the administration only allows groups of 60 prisoners to get out of their cells in order to block meeting of all prisoners.

Friday, January 21, 2011

French FM mobbed in Gaza over misquoted Shalit comments

GAZA CITY (Ma'an/AFP) -- Families of prisoners gathered in protest on Friday, throwing shoes and eggs at the car of French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie as she arrived in Gaza via the Erez crossing in the north.

Carrying signs reading "Get out of Gaza" they stopped her car shortly after it passed through a Hamas checkpoint in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, surrounding it and hammering on the sides with their fists.

The protest was over a statement which was mistakenly attributed to the French minister when she met with the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Jerusalem a day earlier.

At the meeting, father Noam Shalit asked Alliot-Marie to press the European Union to "condemn as a war crime" the detention of his son, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

However, shortly afterward, Israel's public radio posted a story on its Arabic-language website mistakenly quoting Alliot-Marie as saying the European Union "must condemn the war crime that Hamas is committing by keeping Gilad Shalit in captivity."

As the demonstrators shoved toward the car, two children, terrified and crying, were flung to the ground floor in front of the wheels of the lead vehicle convoy of white 4x4 jeeps, and stayed there for several minutes before being hauled away by their families.

Nearby, one of the protesters shouted slogans through a loudhailer, angrily denouncing the "war crimes" statement, while another was holding up a large picture of Alliot-Marie with a red cross plastered over her face.

The Arabic service of Israeli public radio and its website are monitored in the Palestinian territories, and the report was quickly picked and republished by other Arabic-language news sites, prompting a sharply-worded response from Gaza's Hamas rulers.

The Israeli soldier was captured in 2006 by militants base in Gaza and has been held by them ever since.

During her visit to Gaza, the French official will visit the French Cultural Center, and has maintained that she will not be meeting with Hamas officials.

Hamas, Gaza resistance riled over misquoted Shalit comments

Word of the mistake had not reached Gaza ahead of the protest, with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri reiterating the party's stand on the continued holding of the soldier, saying "Shalit was captured in the battle field while he was killing Palestinian citizens on Gaza borders, while there are more than 8 thousand Palestinian prisoners who were arrested by the occupation from their homes without any guilt.”

Speaking for the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, Muhammad Al-Brim said the statement which Israel public radio had announced was a "comprehensive encouragement for the Israeli occupation policy.

The PRC issued a statement on the subject, saying "The French Foreign Minister knows very well that Gilad was in a military tank east of Rafah seizing Palestinians and killing them [when he was captured] and we have the total right to defend our nation."

The scolded the minister saying she "seems to have forgotten about all of the Palestinian detainees spending years in Israeli prisons."


Captives’ relatives protested at French FM visit to Gaza
[ 20/01/2011 - 10:01 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinian captives’ families in the Gaza Strip came out in protest, throwing eggs and in some cases, shoes,  as the French Foreign Minister Michel Alliot-Marie and her entourage visited the besieged region on Friday morning.
Dozens of families who have their loved ones imprisoned unlawfully in Israeli prisons, expressed their anger and dismay at statements  attributed to her openly supporting Gilad Shalit's campaign. Alliot-Marie's comments came during a meeting on Thursday afternoon where she is reported to have called on the European Union to condemn Hamas for the continued imprisonment of Gilad Shalit, which she described as a  "war crime". Sources report that she was misquoted by the Israeli Arabic-language radio.
Protestors held "Get out of Gaza" signs and tried to block the convoy as it travelled through the Strip.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri considered remarks the French FM was alleged to have made during her meeting with Shalit’s family said that the FM’s remarks reflect bias to the Israeli occupation adding that Shalit was captured from the battlefield while thousands of Palestinians who are languishing in occupation jails have been kidnapped from the midst of their families.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Israeli navy kidnaps four Palestinian fishermen at sea

[ 20/01/2011 - 10:19 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The ministry of agriculture in Gaza Strip said that the Israeli navy gunboats kidnapped four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Khan Younis, south of the Strip, at a late hour on Wednesday night.
The ministry's fishery department said in a statement on Thursday that the Israeli navy attacked the fishermen, three of them brothers, aboard a small fishing boat while fishing off the coast and took them along with their boat to an unknown destination.
It said that the attacks on fishermen at sea had recently escalated, noting that the Israeli occupation harasses fishermen with the start of every new fishing season.
The occupation allows Gaza fishermen to operate only three nautical miles off the coast and even stalks them there, it pointed out.
The ministry held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the lives of those fishermen, urging the Red Cross and human rights institutions to immediately intervene to demand the release of the fishermen and their equipment.
It said that pressures should be made on the IOA to allow more space for fishermen and expand their fishing area to six nautical miles at least.


4 Palestinian fishermen briefly detained
Published today (updated) 20/01/2011 22:48
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli ships ordered a boat of four fishermen to disembark Wednesday and detained the crew upon boarding, Ministry of Agriculture officials in Gaza said.

The ministry says three of the detainees are brothers, identified as Ahed, Nidal, and Ahmad Muhammad Abul Kheir. The fourth was identified as Muneer Sa’eed Al-Amoudy.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that naval patrols identified a fishing vessel "deviating from the fishing area" and called on the boat to turn back. When the boat failed to comply, she said it was captured and the crew taken for questioning.

All four were released on Thursday morning, she said.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jerusalem police detain son of prisoners' rights activist

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) – Israeli police at dawn on Tuesday raided the Jerusalem home of Nasser Qaws, head of a prisoners' center, and detained his teenage son.

Qaws said his 16-year-old son and Fathi Esbitan, 15, were taken to a police station in the city for questioning.

An Israeli police spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

In photos: Tree memorial to commemorate prisoners

MaanImages/Khaleel Reash

In Qalqiliya, friends, family and loved ones of those detained in Israeli prisons gather to plant trees. Each tree in the project represents one of the more than 7,000 Palestinians jailed by Israel.

The project began on 16 January 2011.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Palestinian Political Prisoners Punished for Organizing Hunger Strike in Israeli Prison

Monday January 17, 2011 12:15 by Ramona M. - IMEMC and Agencies

Ahmad Sa’adat, the general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Jamal Abu Al-Haija , a leader of Hamas in the West Bank, are being punished for organizing a prisoner hunger strike to protest Israeli prison conditions.
On Saturday, the two prisoners were placed in solitary confinement in Israel’s Nafha prison, where they are being held.

Israel kidnapped Sa'adat from a Palestinian prison in Jericho in 2006, and he is currently serving a 30-year sentence. Abu Al Haija, who was arrested in May 2007 for his role in the resistance in the Jenin refugee camp, is serving 9 life sentences and an additional 20 years.

The men are being held in Nafha, a maximum-security prison located 70 km south of Beersheba, which opened in 1980. In the past, there have been many hunger strikes in response to inhumane prison conditions. Prisoners are kept in cramped, hut-like buildings, and prison guards monitor activity from two watchtowers.

Israeli prisons and detention centers holding Palestinians have some of the lowest prison standards in the developed world. Many of the prisoners that were once held in facilities in the West Bank are now held inside Israel, across the Green Line. This is in fact violates provisions from the Fourth Geneva Convention, which holds that detained persons have the right to remain in occupied territory in all stages of detention, including the serving of sentences if convicted.

This is the second hunger strike in recent months. In August 2010, around 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, participated in another hunger strike. Prisoners being held in 26 Israeli jails and West Bank detention centers rejected food in response to abuse by Israeli guards, poor treatment, and the escalation of arbitrary procedures carried out by the Israeli prison administration.

Palestinian prisoners have been protesting poor treatment and living conditions through hunger strikes since Israel began its occupation in 1967.In 1970, Abdulqader Abu Al-Fahem became the first Palestinian prisoner to die after a 15-day hunger strike at the Ashkelon prison.

During a hunger strike at the Nafha prison in 1980, all 74 prisoners refused food. Some of the prisoners were force-fed because it is against the law in Israel to permit prisoners to die by their own doing. “A long tube was pushed down their throats into their stomachs while they sat on chairs. In three cases, the vitamin-and sugar-reinforced milk drink accidentally entered the lungs. As a result, two prisoners died of pneumonia, and a third became critically ill,” reported TIME magazine in 1980. As a result, prisoners Rasim Halaweh, Alial-Ja'fari and Ishaq Maragheh died in the Nafhah prison after 32 days of a hunger strike.

In 1998, there were nine hunger strikes conducted by Palestinian prisoners in different prisons in Israel, according to the Palestinian Yearbook of International Law 1998-1999.

On 1 May 2001, almost 1,000 of the 1,650 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons at the time participated in a month-long hunger strike, in protest against "arbitrary treatment by prison officials, substandard prison conditions, prohibitions on family visits, use of solitary confinement, poor medical care, and Israel's refusal to release all the categories of prisoners specified in its agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)," according to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2001.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Israeli military court extends jail term for Palestinian anti-wall activist

11 January 2011

Amnesty International has condemned an Israeli military appeal court's decision to extend the prison sentence of a Palestinian non-violent activist, convicted over his involvement in organizing protests in the occupied West Bank.

Abdallah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in, had his sentence extended from 12 months to 16 months by the Israeli Military Court of Appeals at Ofer in the West Bank on Tuesday, after the prosecution argued that his initial sentence was too lenient.

Detained since December 2009, Abdallah Abu Rahma, a school teacher, was supposed to be released on 18 November 2010, but has been kept in detention at the military prosecution's request. He has now been in prison for 13 months.

"By extending Abdallah Abu Rahma's sentence the Israeli authorities appear to be seeking not only to punish him further in a case where the prosecution’s evidence was questionable to begin with, but to deter others from participating in legitimate protests," said
Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Amnesty International believes Abdallah Abu Rahma to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly. As such we call for his immediate and unconditional release."

Abdallah Abu Rahma was found guilty of "organizing and participating in an illegal demonstration" and "incitement" by an Israeli military court on 24 August 2010. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment on 11 October 2010.

Following the extension of his sentence, he will now serve an additional three months in prison, with the possibility of an administrative release after two months, in which case he would be forbidden from participating in any demonstrations.

When convicting Abdallah Abu Rahma the military judge accepted the prosecution’s arguments that he had encouraged demonstrators in Bil’in to throw stones at Israeli soldiers.

The allegations were based on the statements of three children, who subsequently retracted them in court, claiming that they were made under duress.

Abdallah Abu Rahma is well known to Amnesty International as a political activist with a long-term public commitment to using peaceful means to raise international awareness of the human rights violations suffered by Palestinians because of Israel's fence/wall, much of which has been built in the occupied West Bank.

Since 2005, the villagers of Bil'in, together with Palestinian, Israeli and international supporters, have been holding weekly demonstrations in protest against the fence/wall and the confiscation of their land by the Israeli authorities for its construction.

In September 2007 the Israeli High Court of Justice issued a ruling instructing the Israeli military authorities to reroute the fence/wall in Bil’in to give the villagers access to more of their land, but this ruling has yet to be implemented.

The arrests of Abdallah Abu Rahma and other prominent activists against the fence/wall in 2010 have been part of a crackdown on those voicing their opposition to the construction of the fence/wall.

The Israeli 700-kilometre fence/wall runs through the West Bank, encircling Palestinian villages as well as whole neighbourhoods in and around East Jerusalem.

Palestinians in the West Bank are subjected to Israeli military laws including Order No. 101, “Order Regarding Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda Actions”, which was issued shortly after the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967 and carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

The order enables sweeping restrictions to be placed on freedom of expression, requiring any proposed gathering of 10 or more persons “for a political purpose of for a matter that could be interpreted as political” or even to “to discuss such a topic” to obtain a permit in advance from the commander of the Israeli military forces in the area.

Since 2010 charges under Order No. 101 have been used increasingly by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians who organize demonstrations against Israel’s fence/wall.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

IOA indicts two Silwan children for throwing stones

[ 13/01/2011 - 10:43 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli prosecution presented an indictment list against two Palestinian children from Silwan town, south of the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, on Wednesday night.
The indictment included the charge of throwing stones at Israeli police.
The Magistrate court west of occupied Jerusalem decided to impose house arrest on both children until the case concludes.
The Wadi Halawa media center said in a press release on Thursday that both children Mahmoud Al-Banna and Omar Siyam were held under house arrest for more than a year.
It added that the minors threw stones in reaction to a Jewish settler's shooting at Palestinians, noting that the settler was immediately released.

Israel transfers Obeid to Jalama investigation center

[ 13/01/2011 - 10:08 AM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Israeli authorities transferred Tuesday Majd Mahir Obeid from Al-Khalil, in the south West Bank, to the Jalama investigation center after his medical recovery.
His four colleagues, Mohannad Nerokh, Wael al-Beitar, Wassam al-Qawasimi, and Ahmed al-Awiwi, remain in the Ramle hospital, Obeid's mother told the PIC on Wednesday.
Obeid was questioned about his affiliation with Hamas, shootings, and "fabricated, untrue stories", Obeid's mother said.
"The PA apparently gave Israel false information he never admitted to, leading to his arrest," she said.
Israeli forces arrested Obeid and his colleagues just five hours after their release by PA security agencies in the West Bank. The prisoners earlier embarked on a 45-day hunger strike demanding PA implementation of their supreme court-ordained release.
Obeid's mother said she held the PA security militias responsible for her son's arrest. She explained that his medical condition turned for the worse after the hunger strike. She believes Israel is exploiting his medical condition in order to draw out a confession.

IOF troops round up 11 Palestinians in past 24 hours including 2 minors

[ 13/01/2011 - 10:05 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up eight Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday and three others in occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday including two boys.
Radio Israel reported that the eight citizens were wanted for questioning.
Local sources said that the IOF troops stormed the cities of Ramallah and Al-Khalil and villages in Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and Jericho where the civilians were detained.
On Wednesday, Israeli occupation police arrested three Palestinians in Silwan town, south of the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Local sources said that the policemen took away two boys from their homes, 14 and 16 years old respectively, while the third, a 19-year-old, was detained while walking in a street in Silwan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

IOF Arrests Four Fishermen; including Two Children on Gaza Coast


Around midday on Tuesday 11 January 2011, Israeli naval vessels that patrol Gaza sea arrested four Palestinian fishermen and confiscated their boat. The fishermen were working about 2.5 kilometers off Gaza shore; i.e. inside the permitted fishing zone Israel had declared. The IOF arrested the fishermen opposite the Al Sheikh 'Ijleen area, west of Gaza city. Two of them are children. The IOF took them and their boat north, expectedly towards Ashdod harbor. The reasons behind the arrest have remained unknown. Al Mezan identified the names of fishermen as follows:
·         Usama Nasser Mohammed Abu Amira, 18;
·         Mohammed Khalid Mohammed Abu Amira, 19;
·         Mahmoud Khalid Mohammed Abu Amira, 17; and
·         Saher Khalid Juha, 15.
The fishermen are residents of Al Shati' refugee camp west of Gaza city. In the evening hours on the same day, the IOF released three fishermen and kept Mohammed Khalid Mohammed Abu Amira in detention.

Gaza officials, families sit in at Red Cross to promote prisoners cause

[ 12/01/2011 - 03:39 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Government representatives and families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails joined forces Wednesday morning and sat in outside of the Red Cross offices in Gaza to show solidarity with two chief Palestinian prisoners who are continuing a hunger strike amid demands for their release from isolation.
Staged by Gaza's ministry of prisoner affairs cooperating with the Wa'ed prisoner association in Gaza, demonstrators called on the Red Cross and other rights groups to treat Jamal Abu al-Haija and Ahmed Saadat and other Palestinians jailed by the Israelis as war prisoners and not criminals, and to aid them as they are slowly being killed by solitary confinement.
Jamal Abu al-Haija has been isolated since he was first arrested by the Israelis and sentenced to nine life terms alongside 20 years in prison. He has also been denied family visits. Saadat has made several reappearances to solitary confinement throughout his term.
The Israelis are trying to break the will of prisoners by isolating their leaders, said Palestinian MP Mohammed Shihab. He called the prison administration's stripping them of their rights and slowly killing them through solitary confinement a war crime.
Wa'ed association director Sabir Abu Karesh said solitary confinement has made the captives' health conditions a source of concern for officials and families, as some of them suffer from permanent disabilities, like Abu al-Haija who has an amputated hand.

Dweik: Israel's renewed kidnapping of MPs aimed at silencing them

[ 12/01/2011 - 10:35 AM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- Dr. Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), said that Israel returned to the detention of lawmakers in order to silence any voice defending the Palestinian people's rights and constants in the West Bank.
Dr. Dweik stated on Tuesday that the Israeli occupation wants to re-emphasize the message it had sent before to the Palestinian people when it locked up in its jails most of Hamas lawmakers and former ministers.
For his part, Hamas lawmaker in Salfit city Nasser Abdeljawwad strongly denounced the Israeli occupation forces for raiding and ransacking the office of Salfit lawmakers, and stealing computer sets, official seals and some files.
MP Abdeljawwad stressed that the kidnapping of MP Omar Abdelrazeq and the raid on the office of Salfit lawmakers is part of the renewed Israeli policy that is aimed at thwarting the obligations laid over the shoulders of Hamas lawmakers toward their people.
Israel re-kidnapped lately many Palestinian lawmakers from the Hamas parliamentary bloc, the latest of them was MP Omar Abdelrazeq who was taken from his home at dawn Tuesday. Political analysts and human rights activists believe that Israel wants again to keep the lawmakers away from the Palestinian arena and prevent a parliamentary quorum.
Political analyst Wisam Afifa told the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Tuesday that Israel's persistence in kidnapping lawmakers is aimed at weakening Hamas and making up for the mistake it had done when it allowed the movement to win the legislative elections.
Afifa underlined that after Hamas won the elections, Israel and regional parties agreed upon the need to stop this new change through kidnapping its lawmakers, expressing his belief that the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority is absolutely satisfied with this situation.

Bil'in demonstrations coordinator sentenced to 16 months in prison

[ 12/01/2011 - 10:33 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Bil'in anti-separation wall committee, was sentenced on Tuesday to 16 months in prison other than a three-year suspended sentence and was forced to pay NIS 5,000 in fines.
The Israeli Ofer Court charged Abu Rahma with incitement and participation in throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, as well as participation in allegedly "illegal demonstrations".
Abu Rahma was previously sentenced to a year in jail but was kept prisoner by the military prosecutor after his scheduled mid-November, 2010 release because of continued weekly protests in the Bil'in village. 24 European diplomats attended the court hearing.
In a separate development, prisoner Hamza Mahmoud Ali al-Khumoor of the Bethlehem refugee camp of Al-Duhaisha has gone on his 11th day of hunger strike, prison sources said.
Khumoor, arrested in April 2002 and serving an 18-year sentence, went on strike after he was placed in solitary confinement after striking a prison guard in self-defense during a heated prison search.

IOA extends detention of Jihad leader for 9th time

[ 12/01/2011 - 10:26 AM ]

JENIN, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) extended the administrative detention of Sheikh Bassam Al-Saadi, an Islamic Jihad leader, for the 9th consecutive time.
Sheikh Saadi had completed a 5-year military imprisonment sentence in 2008, but the Israeli intelligence refused his release enforcing his detention without trial or charge since then.
The Islamic Jihad described the decision as "racist", and falls in line with the IOA policy of isolating national leaderships in a failed attempt to limit their ability to influence the people.
It said that the "enemy's attempts" would never succeed in breaking the will of Sheikh Saadi.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Detainees ask rights orgs for warm blankets

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Palestinians held in Israel's Negev prison sent word last week to the Detainees Center in Gaza City, asking for the center to help them secure warm cells for the remaining winter months.

In a letter smuggled out of the prison, detainees said the tents in the desert compound were cold and drafty, and that prisoners neither had warm clothes nor heavy blankets to keep them warm.

Head of the center and former detainee Abdul Naser Farawneh said he personally receive the smuggled letter, and issued a statement of appeal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Israel releases 4 detainees

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Sunday released four Palestinian detainees who had served seven year sentences, the Gaza Prisoners' Affairs Ministry said.

The ministry identified the detainees as Muneer Shabear and Hasan Al-Kahlut from northern Gaza, Ahmad Al-Gazawy from Gaza City and Fahed Abu Hasanein from Rafah.

They were detained in April 2004, the ministry said.

Palestinians welcomed the men at the Erez crossing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Israeli navy kidnaps Palestinian fishermen off Gaza port

[ 04/01/2011 - 07:17 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats kidnapped a yet unspecified number of Palestinian fishermen who were fishing off the Gaza port on Tuesday morning, the Palestinian agriculture ministry said.
The ministry's fisheries department said in a press release that the gunboats attacked the fishing boat and took away those on board, whose number could not be certified yet. It added that the fishing boat capsized.

The ministry held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the lives of those fishermen, and called on human rights groups and the Red Cross to immediately intervene to secure their release.

Around 3,500 fishermen in Gaza Strip work on 700 fishing boats to provide sustenance for almost 70,000 people. They are systematically harassed by Israeli navy vessels.


Gaza fishermen detained from local waters

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- An unknown number of Gaza fishermen were detained Tuesday morning after being apprehended by Israeli warships off the coast of Gaza City.

Gaza's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that fellow fishermen reported the detention, after seeing the boat of the men approached by Israeli vessels maintaining the sea blockade on Gaza.

The boat was approached and the men were detained and taken to an unknown location, officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that the boat had "deviated from the fishing area" and refused to halt when a naval ship called out ordering them to turn around.

The craft was towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the men were taken for questioning, she said.

The ministry said the lives of the fishermen were in the hands of Israel, and condemned their detention from Gaza waters, demanding their immediate release.

Israel maintains a three nautical mile fishing limit, enforced unilaterally since 2008 when the country launched its war on the coastal enclave. Prior to the war, a unilaterally-declared six nautical mile limit was imposed following the election of the Hamas government in 2006.

The last agreed upon fishing limit for Gaza was 20 nautical miles, signed off on during the Oslo accords in the 1990s.

Comrade Taghreed Abu Ghoulmeh released from Israeli prison after 6 months

PFLP website 

Comrade Taghreed Abu Ghoulmeh, sister of imprisoned comrades Linan and Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, was released after 6 months "administrative detention" in Israeli prison on January 2, 2011.

She had been arrested six months ago at her home in Beit Furik along with her sister Linan (who had been previously imprisoned and released as part of an agreement with the Palestinian resistance), and comrades Laith Abu Ghoulmeh, Mohammed Hanani, Hani Abu Soud and Musab Mlitat, who still await trial. 

Comrade Linan engaged in a hunger strike for over 20 days seeking contact with her sister; prison authorities rejected her request and released Taghreed without ever allowing her sister to see her. 

Earlier, on December 26, the Palestinian Prisoners Committee and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees in Nablus held an event in solidarity with Comrade Linan at the UPWC office, marking her hunger strike, which began on December 8, 2010. Comrade Maher Harb saluted the prisoners on the occasion of Christmas, and reviewed Linan's history, noting she had already spent six years in occupation jails and continued to confront the jailers, facing isolation, solitary confinement and constant threats to make the simplest of demands: to see her sister. He noted that other prisoners, particularly in Nafha, had undertaken actions and meetings in solidarity with Linan, and that prisoners have been recently been subject to frequent attacks and transfers from prison to prison, and emphasized the need for support of the prisoners and their families. 

Comrade Dr. Esmat Shakhshir of the UPWC emphasized the need to activate a popular solidarity movement with the prisoners to meet the prisoners' level of struggle and national commitment.