Israel arbitrary detains Palestinian legislators in the West Bank

Palestinian Education Minister Nasser Al-Dien Al-Sha’er’s family members hold his portrait after he was arrested at his house the previous night in the West Bank city of Nablus, 24 May 2007. (Rami Swidan/MaanImages)

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), cabinet and local authorities yesterday 23 May 2007. Most of those are elected officials known to be affiliated with Hamas faction.

The campaign was focused in the districts of Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Salfit and Hebron. Among the detained are:

  • Dr. Nasser Ad-Din Ash-Shair, Minister of Education;
  • Abdul-Rahman Zidan, ex-Minister of Public Works;
  • Sheikh Hamid Al Bitawi, PLC member;
  • Dawoud Abu Seer, PLC member;
  • Adli Ya’eesh, mayor of Nablus;
  • Sheikh Fayyadh Al Aghbar, Director of the Awqaf Department in Nablus;
  • Bashar Hejeh; educational supervisor in the Misnitry of Education.

    Additionally, seven elected mayors and members of local councils were arrested around the city of Nablus:

  • Arab Ash-Shurafa, mayor of Beta village;
  • Omar Ishtaya, head of the local council of Tel village;
  • Sheikh Wajeeh Qawwas, mayor of Qalqilya;
  • Ramadan Shatat, mayor of Bedya village;
  • Ez Ad-Din Salameh; member of the local council of Bedya, and general director at the Ministry of Education;
  • Mazen Al Rimawi, director of the office of PLC members in Ramallah, and member of the local council of Bani Zaid village;
  • Muhammad Huda Al Asmar, director of the Agriculture epartment in Ramallah, and member of the local council of Bani Zaid village.

    This is the third detention campaign IOF carry out against Palestinian officials. On 29 June 2006 IOF arrested eight ministers and 21 PLC members and local authorities’ officials. Later on 5 August 2006, IOF arrested the president of the PLC from his house in Ramallah.

    Al Mezan condemns the detentions targeting elected representatives and political leaders of the Palestinian people, and emphasizes that this action is part of a series of measures of collective punishment. Through these measures, Israel is aiming to undermine the Palestinian National Authority and disable it from performing its executive functions. Al Mezan asserts that this will consequently reinforce the state of insecurity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and lead to a further deterioration of the human rights situation on the ground, particularly under the continuing IOF aggression targeting Palestinian civilians and their property in the OPT, which require exceptional efforts in response by the PNA and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The abusive detention of Palestinian ministers and parliamentarians will further debilitate the Palestinian government and suspend the functions of the PLC.

    Al Mezan calls upon the international community to immediately secure the release of Palestinian PLC elected officials. It also reiterates its demands that the international community, most notably the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, fulfill its legal and moral obligations, halt Israeli breached of IHL, and provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT.

    Related Links

  • Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  • BY TOPIC: Detention of Palestinian Political Leaders