PFLP Palestinian prisoners targeted in Israeli jails

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THE Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday morning that Israel Prison Service (IPS) forces raided section 5 of Israel’s Ramon prison, where they searched room number 72 and imposed a total closure on the section, which holds exclusively prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The group added in a statement that the acts of the prison administration and its forces are part of its collective punishment on PFLP prisoners across all Israeli prisons, in response to their support of Bilal Kayid, who has been on a hunger strike since June 14 in protest at his administrative detention order.

Kayid, a member of the PFLP, has been on hunger strike in protest at being placed in administrative detention – the controversial Israeli policy of internment without trial or charges under undisclosed evidence – by Israel on the day he was scheduled to be released after serving more than 14 years in prison.

The native of the town of Asira al-Shamaliya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus was originally detained in 2002 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades – the armed wing of the PFLP.

In the weeks since Kayid’s hunger strike began, several Palestinian prisoners began hunger strikes in solidarity with him. Following the strikes, Israel’s prison authorities cracked down on PFLP prisoners by raiding their prison cells, transferring several prisoners including Kayid to disrupt the protest, placing several others in solitary confinement, and confiscating electronic devices.

According to Addameer, the prisoner rights group representing Kayid, an appeal was sent to the IPS requesting Kayid’s immediate release last week, and is expected to receive a response from the courts in the coming days.

The group added that when the appeal was submitted, the court asked if Kayid would consider being deported from the occupied West Bank for ‘a few years’ as had previously been suggested as a condition of his release from administrative detention. Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be ‘terrorist organisations’. As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities. According to Addameer, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, 715 of whom are held under Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

• Israeli authorities on Sunday notified Palestinians to stop the ongoing construction of several houses and animal barns in Frush Beit Dajan area in Central Jordan Valley, according to local sources.

Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities, told WAFA that Israeli forces raided Frush Beit Dajan area and notified to stop the construction of more than seven houses and animal barns.

The village is part of Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army reportedly threatened to evict many families from Hamsa al-Fawqa area and prevented Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep in the area.

Issuance of construction permits by Israeli authorities for Palestinians in Area C, unlike for Israeli settlers, requires unreasonable fees that most Palestinians cannot afford to pay.

Over the course of 2015, Israel demolished 521 structures in Area C as well as in East Jerusalem, displacing 636 people, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA. The vast majority of these demolitions were carried out on the grounds of construction without a permit. Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 per cent of applications for building permits in Area C were approved by Israeli occupation authorities, OCHA adds.

The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) explains in a special report that ‘in almost all cases Palestinians have no choice but to build “illegally” as permits are almost impossible to obtain.

‘Many Palestinians have suffered multiple displacements, having lost their homes and livelihoods more than once. Forced displacement has a series of immediate and longer-term physical, socio-economic and psycho-social impacts on Palestinian families.’

• Israeli forces notified on Sunday a Palestinian in Um Nir village, south of Hebron in the West Bank, about their intention to demolish a water well in the area, according to local sources.

Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Hebron, told WAFA that an Israeli army force broke into the village and notified Mohammad Hussein Jabour, a local Palestinian, to stop the construction of a water well of his own in the village, under the pretext of construction without a permit.

The majority of home demolitions in the occupied West Bank occur in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control. In order for Palestinians to build in Area C, land owners must obtain building permits from the Israeli authorities. Such permits are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians, forcing communities to build illegally.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 per cent of 2,020 Palestinian building permit requests submitted were approved.

• Israeli occupation forces on Sunday detained 12 Palestinians and summoned others from across the West Bank districts for questioning, according to local and security sources.

In Hebron’s town of Owwa to the east, forces detained three Palestinians, including a female. They were identified as Amal Kh. Masalmeh, Mohammed S. Masalmeh, M’otasim F. Masalmeh. Forces also stormed Hebron’s town of As-Samou’ to the south, where they detained three locals who were identified as Mohammed Rawashdeh, Mohammed I. al-Daghameen, Iyad M. al-Daghameen.

Meanwhile, forces stormed Hebron’s towns of Halhoul and Yatta, to the north and south, respectively, and summoned Ibrahim Zama’reh and Mohammed Makhamreh to appear before the Israeli intelligence for interrogation. They further raided and searched several homes in Hebron’s town of Sa’ir to the east, however, no further arrests were made.

In Bethlehem’s Aida Refugee Camp, forces summoned an ex-detainee to appear for questioning. He was identified as Bassam Abu ’Aker, in his 50s. Clashes reportedly broke out between the forces and the camp’s locals, where the former used tear gas canisters and stun grenades against the locals. However, no injuries were reported.

In Ramallah’s town of Beit Reema, forces detained a local who was identified as Taher Ya’qoub. In Jerusalem, Israeli forces detained a local from Qalandia Refugee Camp to the north and led him to a detention and interrogation centre. He was identified as Ahmad al-Louzi. Local Saif al-Natsheh was also detained in the Jerusalem area.

Late on Saturday night, Israeli special units detained two Palestinians in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ein al-Loza in the town of Silwan. The units reportedly stormed the neighbourhood and proceeded to stop and inspect passengers identification cards. They further forced the shops’ owners to close them before they took over their rooftops, turning them into military outposts.

In the meantime, forces handed a journalist from the town of Anata to the northeast of occupied Jerusalem a summons ordering him to appear before the Israeli intelligence. He was identified as Faysal al-Refa’i.

Furthermore, Israeli police early on Sunday detained a Palestinian youth at Jaffa Road to the west of Jerusalem city, for allegedly possessing a bag containing an explosive device. He was taken for questioning. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), at least 20 Palestinians have been detained during the past two days alone.