The Palestinian Authority has extended the detention of Issa Amro, a prominent activist against Israeli colonization in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.
Amro was arrested Monday by the PA’s Preventive Security force, after he criticized its earlier arrest of Ayman al-Qawasmi, the director of Hebron’s Minbar al-Hurriya radio station.
Amro will be held for at least another four days.On Wednesday, nine members of the US Congress wrote to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas urging Amro’s release.
He remains on a total hunger strike, refusing food, water and medicine, according to Youth Against Settlements, the group he leads.facing trial in an Israeli military tribunal on trumped-up charges designed to repress his activism against settlements.
In June, 32 US lawmakers signed a letter expressing support for Amro in the face of Israel’s baseless charges.
Radio station closed by Israel
Meanwhile, the PA released al-Qawasmi on Wednesday. On 31 August, days before his arrest by Palestinian forces, the Minbar al-Hurriya radio station he runs was violently raided by Israeli occupation forces.
Israel ordered the station closed for six months, accusing it of “incitement.”
Al-Qawasmi’s arrest reportedly came after he criticized PA leaders for failing to protect Palestinians from such Israeli attacks.
This video shows some of the damage the station’s managers said the Israeli forces inflicted during the raid:Another video appears to show Israeli forces loading equipment on a truck in order to confiscate it: Israel frequently claims that Palestinian media that report on the occupation are guilty of “incitement” as a pretext for shutting them down.
But Minbar al-Hurriya denies it has broadcast any material that could have provoked violence or what Israel calls terrorism.
Following the detentions of al-Qawasmi and Amro, MADA, a Palestinian group that documents violations against journalists said it condemns the PA’s “arrest of journalists and activists for expressing their opinions and demands an end to this policy.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists urged Israel to “allow the al-Hurriya media network and its affiliates to resume work without fear of harassment,” and had also called on the PA to release al-Qawasmi.
“It seems the only thing Israel and the Palestinian Authority have in common right now is their desire to silence their critics in the media,” the watchdog’s Middle East program head Sherif Mansour said.