[News] Israel kidnaps Hamas legislators, political leaders

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Thu Mar 19 19:07:05 EDT 2009

Two Articles follow

PCHR slams Israel's kidnapping of legislators, political leaders


  Thursday March 19, 2009 22:21
 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC 
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The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) slammed that 
kidnapping of several legislators and political leaders of the Hamas 
movement in the occupied West Bank.

The PCHR issued a press release stating that the attack is yet 
another Israeli violation against the Palestinian civilians and is 
considered a form of collective punishment.

The center added that Article number 33 of the Fourth Geneva 
Convention of 1949 states that civilians should be protected in the 
time of war, yet Israel continues to kidnap civilians and 
democratically elected officials.

The PCHR said that on early dawn hours of Thursday, the Israeli army 
carried a series of invasions into a number of West Bank districts 
and kidnapped four Hamas legislators in addition to several political 
leaders of the movement.

The Center slammed the arrests and the threats voiced by Israeli 
government officials to target the elected political leadership of 
Hamas and the dissolved government in Gaza.

The PCHR said that such attacks and threats are considered collective 
punishment against the civilians in Palestine.

It voiced an appeal to the international community to intervene and 
protect the Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation, 
and said that the International Humanitarian Law and the 
international principles of human rights call for protecting the 
civilians and bar harming them in any way.

Furthermore, the PCHR slammed the Israeli government for its decision 
to use the Palestinian detainees as a bargaining chip as the Israeli 
government decided on Wednesday to impose restrictions on the 
detainees, including barring visitations and transfer of allowances, 
in addition to barring hundreds of detainees from meeting their lawyers.

The center stated that 11000 detainees are held by Israel and are 
facing all sorts of violations to their basic rights guaranteed by 
the International law.

PLC on arrests of colleagues: Israeli administration attempts at 
manipulation and pressure will fail

19.03.09 - 16:37

Kristen Ess - Israel is trying once again to derail the Palestinian 
national unity by arresting elected deputies of the Palestinian 
Legislative Council," Dr. Mustafa Barghouti said today.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, a 
renowned leftist and Palestinian Authority deputy was commenting on 
the Thursday morning arrests.

A local Fateh leader in the West Bank, who did not want to be named, 
said this afternoon, "You know where I stand politically; you know I 
don't like Hamas. But this, this is entirely unacceptable."

Israeli forces took five more members of the elected Hamas government 
from the West Bank, a campaign against the party that began with the 
party's elections years ago. Some of its members remain in Israeli 
prison from the first round of arrests, including the head of the 
PLC, Dr. Azziz Dweik.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Hassan Khreisheh said today, 
"The arrests are an attempt by the Israelis to pressure Hamas on the 
Shalit deal."

Currently, but not the first time, the Hamas party and the Israeli 
administration are negotiating a deal through Egyptian mediation to 
release hundreds of the 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons in 
exchange for the soldier captured in the Gaza Strip in June 2006, Gilad Shalit.

Hamas has not changed its criteria over the years of negotiations: it 
wants the women, children, ill and long-standing political prisoners 
to be released.

Yesterday the Palestinians in Israeli Al Naqab Prison implored Hamas 
to "not back down" in negotiations.

Tulkarem sources said today, "Israel has no legal justification for 
the arrests of political officials or members based on political affiliation."

PNN reported today, "This falls within the framework of the arbitrary 
actions and political arrogance of the occupation."

In a statement by Hamas, the party wrote today, "The deprivation of 
the privileges of prisoners and the deprivation of personal visits 
from their families is incompatible with all international norms and 
laws. It is considered that these procedures as a whole declare a 
state of bankruptcy [of the Israelis] and the case of the failure in 
Gaza after the recent aggression that has not been able to restore to 
the Zionist entity the [captured soldier]."

Hamas is an all too familiar scapegoat as of late in the practices 
and policies of the "west," the Israelis, and the Palestinian Authority.

PLC deputy Mona Mansour commented that the pressures to manipulate 
the internal Palestinian political scene have failed.

Arrested this morning are Ra'fat Naseef, member of the political 
leadership of Hamas and a member of the delegation involved in the 
Cairo dialogue after a raid on his home in the northwestern West 
Bank's Tulkarem.

Dr. Nasser Al Shaer, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of 
National Unity was also among the arrested as was Professor at 
Nablus' An Najah University Issam Ashkar.

Palestinian Prime Minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, also condemned 
the Israeli arrests, despite the internal strife with Hamas.

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