HEBRON – Israeli authorities delivered four demolition notices on Wednesday ordering several Palestinians to remove water tanks being used for irrigation in the northern and eastern areas of the town of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, locals said.
The water tanks are used to irrigate lands in the areas of Beir Zaata, al-Furdeis and Thaghret al-Shabak, with an overall area of more than 30 dunams (7.4 acres) dependent on the tanks for irrigation, according to Muhammad Awad, a spokesperson for a local popular committee.
The tanks were set up earlier in 2016 under a UN-funded water development program, Awad said.
After Israeli authorities deliver a demolition order, the owners of the properties have seven days to remove the structures. If not, Israeli forces demolish the structures at the financial expense of the owners of the property.
Awad told Ma’an that the tanks belonged to Wahdi Hamdi Zamel Abu Maria, Jamil Muhammad Amer Abu Maria, Ghassan Muhammad Abed al-Aziz Brighith, and Khalid Youssef Abed al-Majd Brighith.
It remains unclear what legal pretext Israeli authorities used to issue the demolition orders.
Israel has come under international condemnation over repeated demolitions of EU-funded structures, with some accusing the Israeli government of demolishing Palestinian structures in retaliation for the EU’s decision in November to enforce labeling laws that would indicate if a product was produced in one of Israel’s 196 illegal settlements.
Since the start of 2016, Israeli forces have demolished 586 Palestinian-owned structures, leaving 800 Palestinians homeless in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to OCHA.
According to the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions, Israeli forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and structures since the start of the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
JERUSALEM – At least 28 Palestinian women have been detained by Israel since October over alleged “incitement” on social media, with six of them still in prison, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) said in a statement released on Wednesday.
PPCS spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said that most of the women had been released hours or days after they were first detained, but that eight had been held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges.
Al-Ashqar identified the six women still held over alleged social media incitement as Suad Abed al-Karim Irzeiqat, 28, from the city of Hebron; Dunia Ali Musleh, 19, from the town of Bethlehem; Sanaa Nayif Abbad from the town of Dura; Hanin Abd al-Qader Amr, 39, from the city of Tulkarem; Majd Yousif Atwan, 23, from the village of al-Khader; and Samah Dweik, 25, from occupied East Jerusalem.
Dweik, a journalist working for Shabakat al-Quds (The Jerusalem Network), was detained on April 10 in her home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud after writing a Facebook status and sharing an image in support of Palestinians recently killed by Israeli forces.
Meanwhile, Atwan was sentenced by an Israeli court earlier this month to 45 days in prison and a 3,000 shekel ($794) fine over charges of incitement on her Facebook account.
In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by “incitement.”
Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.
Al-Ashqar claimed that Israel was detaining Palestinian women under different pretexts to discourage and prevent them from taking part in resistance against the Israeli occupation, as well as to exert pressure on relatives also detained by Israeli forces.
More than 200 Palestinians and almost 30 Israelis have been killed since October, although the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths saw a dramatic drop over the last two months, with Israeli leadership suggesting its severe security measures were responsible for the emerging trend.
However, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll last month that support for stabbing attacks had seen a decline in the West Bank in recent months — “due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy.”
According to prisoners’ organization Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli custody.
Abdel Jaber Fuqaha, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was attacked and arrested by Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday, 15 May, after a dawn raid by occupation forces on his home. Fuqaha, 49, who has been arrested several times and has spent years in Israeli prison, most frequently under administrative detention without charge or trial, is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing the Change and Reform Bloc, allied with Hamas.
After Fuqaha’s release in 2011 after 27 months of administrative detention, he was arrested again in 2012, and then again in June 2013. He was last released in April 2015. He has spent over six years in Israeli prison; he was beaten during his arrest and his home ransacked. He is one of seven members of the Palestinian Legislative Council currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, including prominent Palestinian leaders Ahmad Sa’adat, Marwan Barghouthi, Khalida Jarrar, and Hassan Yousef.
BETHLEHEM – A Jewish extremist arrested in the wake of a deadly arson attack that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in the occupied West Bank last summer is to be released from Israeli custody, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Israeli state prosecutors decided not to extend the administrative detention of Meir Ettinger — Israeli security agency Shin Bet’s leading suspect for the case — when his remand expires at the end of May, Israeli media reported.
Two Israeli suspects were indicted for murder for the incident in January, five months after suspects belonging to a Jewish terror organization set the home of the Dawabsha family ablaze, killing 18-month-old Ali Saad immediately.
The infant’s parents, Riham and Saad, later died from severe burns, leaving 4-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha the only surviving member of the family.
Ettinger, 23, was detained in August among several suspected Israeli extremists in raids following mounting outrage and calls for a crackdown on Jewish extremism in the wake of the arson attack.
He was allegedly detained “because of his activities in a Jewish extremist organization,” Shin Bet said at the time. Police said he was suspected of “nationalist crimes,” but did not accuse him of direct involvement in the attack in which the toddler died.
Ettinger was reportedly the brains behind a June 18 arson attack on a shrine in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and wrote a “manifesto” calling for the destruction of the modern state of Israel.
Ettinger’s coming release was seen by many as emblematic of what activists and rights groups have called a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians, while also providing a unique example of administrative detention being used against an Israeli.
He was among the first Jewish extremists to be held in administrative detention by Israel.
Israel’s widely-condemned policy of administrative detention is almost exclusively used against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, with numerous rights groups claiming it represents a grave violation of human rights and contravenes international law.
The policy allows the Israeli army to hold prisoners indefinitely without charging them or allowing them to stand trial, as Israeli authorities can renew a prisoner’s detention every three to six months without reason.
“Administrative detention and all other administrative steps taken by Israeli law enforcement are anti democratic and against all human rights — for Palestinian and Israeli suspects,” Gilad Grossman, spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, told Ma’an on Tuesday.
“If there is evidence (Ettinger) was involved with the Duma case or any other criminal act, charges should have been filed and the court allowed to rule.”
Because administrative detainees are held under secret information and evidence that cannot be accessed by the detainees or their lawyers, any connection between Ettinger and the Duma case is purely speculative, Grossman noted.
The Israeli authorities’ decision not to conduct a transparent investigation into Ettinger’s suspected role the case is also indicative of the general lack of law enforcement in the occupied West Bank.
According to Yesh Din, over 85 percent of investigations into violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians are closed without indictments and only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction.
According to Grossman, the dearth of adequate policing by Israeli forces in the West Bank is largely due to lack of ability as well as willingness to address ideologically-motivated crimes against Palestinians.
Attacks by settlers are often carried out under the armed protection of Israeli forces who rarely make efforts to protect Palestinians from such attacks.
Over 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2015.
Bil’in, Occupied Palestine – On Friday the 13th of May 2016, the internationally recognized human rights defender and coordinator of the Bil’in popular committee against the wall and settlements, Abdullah Abu Rahma, was arrested during the Alwada Cycling Marathon, which took place in the West Bank Friday. Abdullah Abu Rahma is currently still being held under detention by the Israeli military and his case will be brought to the military court in Ofer Military Base tomorrow.
Abu Rahma, who is from the West Bank village Bil’in, was arrested, after the Alwada Cycling Marathon had reached Bil’in. After reaching Bil’in the attending cyclists were met by approximately 150 heavily armed soldiers, who immediately started showering the cyclists with tear gas and blocked the road, where their route was going. During this attack on the peaceful demonstrating cyclists, Abu Rahma was arrested along with an international activist from Israel. The Israeli activist was released shortly after her arrest.
The Alwada Cycling Marathon’s intention was to demonstrate against the illegal Israeli occupation and the apartheid system, that Israel is enforcing on the Palestinians through a healthy and peaceful cycling route from Ramallah to Bil’in. By Israeli Forces attacking the peaceful demonstration and arresting Abu Rahma, they once again show the world, that they do not accept the right to protest peacefully and that they do not comply with the international law, that does not allow Israeli Forces to be on Palestinian controlled areas, which the area of Bil’in is.
Abu Rahma is an important activist for the village of Bil’in and a symbol of peaceful resistance all over the West Bank. For now, he is left waiting for his next sentence, after he has already been imprisoned for his nonviolent resistance multiple times, and has in the past been charged with both “incitement” and “organizing and participating in an illegal demonstration.” Till now, there has not been declared a charge against him in the current case, but the military court will determine his fate, after having held him in detention for 4 days, even though he did not commit any crime whatsoever.
For more information about friday’s Alwada Cycling Marathon:
HEBRON – A group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian woman and her child late Friday night during an incursion into a home in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.
Emad Abu Shamsiya, a coordinator for Human Rights Defenders, told Ma’an settlers attacked the house of Riyad Abu Hazza and beat his wife as settlers sprayed his daughter with pepper spray and caused her to faint.
Upon hearing the commotion, a group of volunteers rushed to the house to help fend off the settlers and provide first aid to Abu Hazza’s wife and child, Abu Shamsiya said.
Jawad Abu Aisheh, a coordinator for the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, said the assault occurred after a weekly settler march took place in the city — usually held on Fridays or Saturdays — where Israeli settlers chant anti-arab slogans, such as “Death to Arabs,” or “Gas the Arabs,” as they harass Palestinians and damage their properties.
Abu Aisheh told Ma’an that the near daily settler attacks are only pieces of a much larger scheme of Israeli settlers attempting to push Palestinians out of the neighborhoods by creating an environment where they must constantly live in fear.
Israeli forces declared the area of Tel Rumeida a “closed military zone” in late October, and has since renewed the military order every month, only allowing Palestinian residents of the area with Israeli-issued identification numbers to enter.
However, according to Abu Aisheh, tomorrow is expected to be the last day of the closed military zone as families in the area have not yet received another military decree.
Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of the Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements that continually expand into the neighborhoods of the more than 6,000 Palestinians who reside within the Israeli-controlled area.
The several hundred Israeli settlers who illegally reside in Hebron have made attacks on Palestinians and their properties an almost daily occurrence for several decades.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been a total of 30 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2016, and a total of 221 attacks in 2015.
NABLUS – Israeli occupation forces handed a letter to the 21-year-old Palestinian ex-detainee Asma al-Qadah banning her from going to university for five months which threatens her completion of university studies.
Islam al-Qadah told Quds Press that Israeli intelligence forces summoned his sister to be interviewed in Ariel settlement and handed her the ban order one month after her release after three months of administrative detention with no charge or trial.
Asma al-Qadah is a Bachelor student in the English Department. She serves as the cultural committee secretary at the student union council.
She is affiliated with the Islamic bloc, the student wing of Hamas Movement, in Beirzit University.
Majd Yousef Atwan, 22, a young Palestinian woman from Al-Khader village, Bethlehem, and a recent beauty school graduate, was sentenced by an Israeli Ofer military court to 45 days imprisonment and a 3,000 NIS ($794) fine for posting on Facebook, which the Israeli military occupation deemed “incitement.”
Atwan is one of approximately 150 Palestinians detained and imprisoned for social media postings, including the case of Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet from Nazareth being prosecuted for poetry posted online. She was arrested in a 2:00 am army raid on her family home on 19 April, which was invaded by occupation soldiers. She is one of 7,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and nearly 70 women and girls.
Bir Zeit University student arrested in night raid, student leader banned from Ramallah and Bir Zeit
Palestinian engineering student Alaa Assaf was arrested by Israeli occupation soldiers after they raided her family’s home in Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah, in an early-morning armed attack on the home.
Assaf, a student in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at Bir Zeit University, was formerly a member of the university’s student council from 2014-2015. Recent elections at the university were won by the Islamic Bloc; dozens of students associated with the Islamic Bloc, the leftist Progressive Democratic Pole, and other active student organizations have been arrested by the Israeli occupation forces.
At the same time, Asmaa Qadah, the secretary of Bir Zeit student council’s cultural committee, was banned from entering Ramallah and Bir Zeit for five months. Qadah was previously held under administrative detention without charge or trial for several months. The ban on Qadah’s entering Bir Zeit and Ramallah obviously interferes with her ability to study, attend classes, and participate in the university. Her graduation – originally scheduled for July 2016 – was already delayed due to three months of arbitrary imprisonment.
Alaa Assaf was among at least 14 Palestinians arrested in late-night/early-morning raids by Israeli occupation forces in home invasions.
Students and faculty at several Palestinian universities have been targeted for arrest, including students at Bir Zeit University, Al-Quds University, and Palestine Polytechnic University. Student offices were raided by Israeli occupation forces who invaded Al-Quds University, while astrophysics professor Imad Barghouthi is imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention.
HEBRON – A group of extremist Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked two Palestinian human rights activists in the Tel Rumeida area in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, video footage showed.
Human Rights Defenders spokesperson Badee Dweik told Ma’an that settlers attacked Emad Abu Shamsiya and Yasser Abu Markhiya, who work with the group’s Hebron office. The two were taking footage of extremist settlers carrying rods near Palestinian homes in Tel Rumeida in Hebron’s Old City.
Abu Shamsiya, who serves as coordinator of the group in Hebron, said the settlers “were preparing to attack and intimidate Palestinian residents, especially children,” and that he rushed toward the scene with Abu Markhiya after they heard children screaming.
Their video shows a group of three settlers, two boys and one adult, begin to pass by. The adult settler can be heard saying in Hebrew, “if you take footage of me I’m going to kill you.” The children approach Abu Shamsiya and Abu Markhiya and order them to put down the camera before the adult strikes Abu Shamsiya.
“They punched me and broke my camera,” Abu Shamsiya told Ma’an, highlighted that Israeli soldiers were watching when the settlers attacked him and his colleague without intervening.
Dweik told Ma’an that attacks by Israeli settlers and Israeli soldiers against activists attempting to document settler attacks on Palestinian residents have increased recently, especially after footage captured by Abu Shamsiya in March of an Israeli soldier shooting and killing Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif while he was lying motionless on the ground stoked widespread international criticism.
A day after release of the video, Israeli settlers gathered outside the home of Abu Shamsiya in Hebron to threaten him.
Tel Rumeida — where Shamsiya’s house is located and the site both Saturday’s incident and al-Sharif’s killing — has long been a flashpoint for tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and military, and is location to an illegal Israeli settlement.
Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.
The majority of the city was placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control in a sector known as H2.
The area is home to 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces. Hebron residents frequently report attacks and harassment by the settlers carried out in the presence of the forces.
In a report by Palestinian prisoners’ institutions, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners Affairs’ Commission, the organizations released the relevant statistics and overall report on Palestinian prisoners in April 2016. The following figures were compiled and released by these three organizations.
567 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli occupation forces during April 2016, bringing the number of those arrested since the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015 to 5334 Palestinians. The highest number of arrests were in Jerusalem, where 213 were arrested including 60 minors; al-Khalil, where 120 were arrested; followed by 43 in Ramallah, 40 in Nablus, 38 in Bethlehem, 35 in Qalqilya, 23 in Jenin, 12 in Tulkarem, 9 in Tubas, five in Salfit and four in Jericho; in the Gaza Strip, 25 were arrested, including 20 fishers who were subjected to firing and attacks in the sea, two who passed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, and three near the “border” of Gaza.
Among the arrestees were 123 children and 24 women and girls (including 3 minor girls). 69 Palestinian women and girls are imprisoned in Israeli jails, including 15 minor girls; the total number of children in Israeli jails remains over 400. There are over 750 Palestinians held in administrative detention and 700 sick and ill prisoners. 133 administrative detention orders were issued in April, including 97 renewals of ongoing administrative detention orders.
Invasions and Inspection Policy in Prisons
The Israel Prison Service used special units in raid and search operations launched by the prison administration on a regular basis as a means of collective punishment by the Israel Prison Service from arrest until release. The prison administration fabricates pretexts to launch these attacks, in which prisoners are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.
These special units suddenly invade or launch inspections, so as to prevent prisoners from preparing themselves or taking precautionary measures, usually in the early morning hours and sometimes in the hours after midnight; sometimes these fall in the middle of the day, including during prayer times or during iftar in Ramadan. The aim of these raids is to harass and abuse detainees; these special units use provocative actions against prisoners, including dragging prisoners from the rooms, yelling in their faces, verbally abusing them, and confiscating personal documents and family photos, creating provocations which are then used to justify attacks on prisoners.
In the month of April, the incident of the storming of section 14 in Nafha prison went beyond a typical invasion/inspection process with beating of prisoners. This incident occurred after guards refused to allow Akram Siyam and Muharreb Da’is to use the bathroom, which led to an altercation between the guards and the prisoners, during which armed units broke into the section, beat prisoners, sprayed pepper spray and tear gas, removed prisoners from the section, then returned Da’is to the section and invaded again to take him back. Prisoners refused to hand him back and a large force returned with dogs, forced all the prisoners from the room, and attacked them with batons. This caused numerous injuries, including to the ill prisoner Yousry al-Masri, who has cancer and was beaten with a baton on his neck and in his liver area.
The prison administration closed all sections of the prison, and imposed sanctions on section 14, including removal of electrical appliances, denial of family visits, and isolation from other prisoners.
17 prisoners are isolated under the pretext of “threat to state security,” without evidence to indicate this threat. They are held in solitary confinement cells for 23 hours a day except for one hour of recreation when they are with guards only. Solitary confinement is harmful to mental and physical health. The prison service issues isolation orders which can be extended every six months on the decision of the military court, based on a secret file not revealed to prisoners or their lawyers.
Among the isolated prisoners are Noureddine Amer, 34, from Qalqilya, isolated since 21 September 2013, imprisoned since 2 February 2002, and serving a 55 year sentence. He is held in a 3.5 m x 1.5 m room, in Eshel prison, which contines a toilet and a metal door with a slot for introducing food, and has a closed window. He is allowed out for recreation alone for one hour per day.
He has been held in isolation in multiple prisons: Ramon, Ashkelon, Megiddo, Shatta, Gilboa and Ayalon. He is transfered by “Bosta”; transfers take many hours. Prisoners transfered by “Bosta” are prevented from looking through the window and their hands and feet are shackled. During these transfers, Amer is accompanied by special forces who often engage in provocations and subsequent attacks. In July 2015, he was beaten by five military guards; his nose was bleeding and he was in pain but was not given treatment. His belongings were scattered, and they told him to gather them again while he was handcuffed.
He suffers from several diseases worsened by the environment of isolation, including shortness of breath, high cholesterol, joint problems, severe headaches, and stomach ulcers. He sustained a fracture in his hand eight years ago in Gilboa prison and did not receive treatment, and continues to suffer today from the injury to his hand.
He has been denied all forms of communication with his family since his isolation. His mother is elderly, suffers from cancer and had a stroke; he has learned this news only through visits from his lawyers. Three of his brothers are also imprisoned; Nidal Amer is sentenced to life imprisonment, Abdul Salam Amer to 20 years, and Aysar Amer is held in administrative detention since February 2016.
Systematic policy of torture and abuse during the detention of children
Children are exposed to systematic torture, humiliation and cruel treatment from the first moment of arrest, characterized by methods of detention, whether through late-night home invasions, detention by special units or by undercover soldiers who seek to appear “like Arabs” on the street. In addition to degrading treatment of children during their arrest and transfer, they are shackled hand and foot and blindfolded while taken to detention or interrogation centers where they are directly exposed to ill-treatment. This comes either through beatings using hands and feet, cursing and yelling at them in order to provoke fear, or through solitary confinement and harsh conditions to psychologically pressure them,
Among the cases of minor prisoners is that of Mohammed Amarna, 17, from Ya’bad near Jenin, who was arrested on 2 March 2016 from his home. During a legal visit inside the prison, his lawyer confirmed that Amarna had been beaten, insulted and mistreated during transfer to a detention center where he was blindfolded and his hands cuffed behind his back. He was held for hours outside, slapped by a soldier in the face repeatedly as well as by an interrogator.
157 Palestinians detained in connection with activities on social media
The Israeli government formed in recent months the so-called “Cyber Unit” to step up its prosecutions of Palestinians on social media, especially Facebook.
From October 2015 to April 2016, there have been 157 cases of arrests based on expression and opinion posted on Facebook. A number of people have been indicted for “incitement,” while others have been ordered to administrative detention.
The majority of arrests have taken place in Jerusalem as part of the targeting of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Many of the statements express sympathy or solidarity with Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupation forces, or include publishing the photos of martyrs or prisoners.
The suppression of freedom of speech, opinion and expression on social media is not limited to cases of arrest, but has also included terminating the employment of accused Palestinians from institutions in Jerusalem or 1948 occupied Palestine, or forcibly expelling them from their city of residence, especially Jerusalem.
Battle of the empty stomachs
During the month of April, Palestinian prisoners engaged in a number of individual and collective hunger strikes for multiple reason. Sami Janazrah, 43, from al-Khalil, has continued his hunger strike since 3 March, and Fuad Assi, 30, and Adib Mafarjah, 29, both from Ramallah, continue their hunger strikes since 3 April. All are striking against their administrative detention without charge or trial.
Shukri al-Khawaja, 48, from Ramallah, engaged in a strike for a number of days against his continued isolation; dozens of prisoners in several prisons launched solidarity strikes with him. Abdullah Mughrabi, 24, from Jerusalem, also struck for a number of days against isolation.
Mahmoud Suwayta, 40, from al-Khalil, went on hunger strike for over a week against the denial of visits from his son for over two years; Iyad Fawajrah of Bethlehem also engaged in a hunger strike for family visits.
Mansour Moqtada, 48, from Salfit, is engaged in a partial hunger strike as a result of complicated and difficult health conditions, demanding improved medical treatment. Muhannad al-Izzat of Bethelehm engaged in a 9-day hunger strike, also for medical treatment.
Two re-arrested former prisoners, Abdel-Rahim Sawayfeh and Mohammed Daoud, engaged in hunger strikes against their re-arrests.
In addition, thousands of prisoners collectively engaged in a protest, returning food in rejection of the attacks on prisoners in Nafha prison.
Prominent Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi, a professor of theoretical space-plasma physics at Al-Quds University, was ordered by the Israeli occupation military to three months in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – on Monday, 2 May.
Barghouthi, who marked his 54th birthday in Israeli prison, joins nearly 750 fellow Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Detention orders are indefinitely renewable on the basis of “secret evidence” to which both Palestinian detainees and their lawyers are denied access. The scientist, from Beit Rima near Ramallah, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces at a military checkpoint in Nabi Saleh on 24 April.
Barghouthi, a former employee of NASA in the United States, is a prominent figure in the Palestinian scientific community and his work is internationally known. He received his BS in physics from the University of Jordan in 1985, followed by his masters’ degree in nuclear physics in 1988. In 1994, he completed his Ph.D. at Utah State University in the United States.
He was arrested before, on 6 December 2014, as he traveled to a scientific conference in the United Arab Emirates, and ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial; he was released early, on 22 January 2015, following an international outcry from the scientific community, including statements from AURDIP (Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine), BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine), Committee of Concerned Scientists, MESA (Middle East Studies Association) Committee on Academic Freedom, and Euroscience.
Upon Barghouthi’s release, he wrote a letter to international organizations that had supported him: “I call on the international community that spoke up on my behalf to speak up also on behalf of all Palestinian political prisoners. There are approximately 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, imprisoned without charge or trial. The systematic use of arbitrary imprisonment by Israeli forces to punish Palestinians violates international humanitarian law under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Al-Quds University, where Barghouthi teaches, has also been subject to ongoing Israeli repression, including invasion of the campus, destruction of student organizations’ offices and materials, and arrests of students.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls for the immediate release of Palestinian scientist Imad al-Barghouthi, which comes as part of a systematic attack on Palestinian academics, journalists, writers and other cultural workers by the Israeli occupation. We reiterate that the case of Imad al-Barghouthi underlines the necessity of the international academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions – a call adopted by an increasing number of academic associations and academic labor unions. Such institutions are deeply complicit in the structures of occupation that deny Palestinian human rights at all levels, including denying Palestinians’ rights to education and academic freedom, and upholding the structures of colonialism and occupation that target Barghouthi, his students and fellow faculty at Palestinian universities like Al-Quds, and the Palestinian people as a whole.
Photo: Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic