[Pnews] Israel extends detention of Palestinian photojournalist, student council president

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 16 12:27:11 EST 2019


  Israel extends detention of Palestinian photojournalist, student
  council president

By MEE staff - December 16, 2019

An Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian journalist to four 
months in administrative detention on Sunday, and extended the detention 
of the Birzeit university student council president, local media reported.

Bushra al-Tawil, 26, a photojournalist from the Ramallah governorate in 
the central occupied West Bank, was arrested late at night on 11 
December during an army raid in her home.

Tawil is the daughter of a leading Hamas movement member in the West 
Bank, Jamal al-Tawil, who was released from Israeli prison six days 
before his daughter’s arrest.

Tawil has gone on a hunger strike since her arrest, according to local 

Israel’s administrative detention is a highly controversial policy used 
almost exclusively against Palestinians, in which prisoners can be 
detained without charge or trial, without the possibility of appeal or 
knowing what accusations are being levelled against them.

Many Palestinian prisoners have resorted to going on hunger strike to 
protest being sentenced to administrative detention.

Tawil was arrested three times before and has spent a total of 24 months 
in Israeli prisons since 2011.

She was released in 2011 at the age of 18 after having served five 
months of her 16-month sentence when she was included in a prisoner swap 
deal in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

But she was re-arrested in 2014 in a wave of arrests in the West Bank 
and spent the remaining 11 months of her sentence in detention.

In November 2017, she was arrested and detained for eight months.

      Crackdown on Palestinian students

Meanwhile, Shatha Hasan, a student at Birzeit University and the 
president of the student council, was also arrested last week at her 
family home in Ramallah.

Hasan's detention has been extended until next Tuesday, 24 December.

Local media reported that Israeli forces installed a makeshift 
checkpoint on the road leading to Birzeit University in the central West 
Bank and checked the identities of students ahead of a conference 
organised by the students’ arm of the Hamas movement at the university.

Birzeit University has long been a target for the Israeli army. In 
March 2018, then-student council president Omar Kiswani was detained 
during a raid by undercover Israeli forces on campus.

Since the Fatah party-led Palestinian Authority (PA) has not held 
presidential elections since 2005, student elections at Birzeit - the 
second-largest Palestinian university and the most geographically 
diverse - have served as a barometer of wider Palestinian politics, 
especially among the younger population.

Since 2015, the al-Wafaa Islamic bloc, which is affiliated with the 
Hamas movement, has won the majority of votes in student elections, 
ahead of the Fatah-linked Martyr Yasser Arafat faction.

While Hamas has hailed Wafaa's victories as proof of the party's 
popularity in the West Bank, some analysts have interpreted the results 
as a rejection of the PA on a historically pro-Fatah campus.

But, students say, it makes little difference to Israeli forces as to 
which party has the upper hand at Birzeit. Since 2004, the army has 
arrested at least 11 student council representatives at the university, 
regardless of their affiliation to Fatah or Hamas.

According to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer, 5,000 
Palestinians were detained by Israel as of November 
<http://www.addameer.org/statistics> - 460 of whom are under 
administrative detention.

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