Release Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar – demands Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Committee

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AN Israeli court on Thursday ordered the release imprisoned Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners’ Affairs Committee said.

Issa Qaraqe said that Jarrar will be released and forced to pay a 20,000 shekel ($5,180) fine. The court gave the prosecution 72 hours to appeal the decision.

Jarrar was detained on April 2 from her home in the Ramallah neighbourhood of al-Bireh, and was held and interrogated at the Ofer detention centre before being taken to Hasharon prison inside Israel. She was charged by the Israeli military prosecution later in April.

According to a report by Amnesty International, Jarrar was charged by the Israeli military prosecution for membership of an illegal organisation, participation in protests, and incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Jarrar’s defence team argued there was no basis to the incitement charge and that it was vindictive, Amnesty said.

The majority of Palestinian political organisations are considered illegal by Israel, including those that make up the PLO, and association with such parties is often used as grounds for imprisonment, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer. Jarrar was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 as a member of PFLP.

Meanwhile it was business as usual in the West Bank. A Palestinian child was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet near the Shufat refugee camp on Thursday, witnesses said.

Yahiya Sami al-Amudi, 10, was walking near a checkpoint by the East Jerusalem refugee camp when he was shot by the bullet. He was taken to the Hadassa hospital in Ein Karem with a fractured skull, jaw, and left ear and had surgery to remove his left eye. Medics said he is in a critical condition.

A spokesman for Fatah in the camp, Thaer Fasfous, condemned the targeting of children with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that there were ‘disturbances’ in the Shufat area after locals threw stones at municipality workers.

Israeli border police used ‘non-lethal’ weapons and a 10-year-old boy was moderately injured and taken to hospital, he added.

Early on Thursday, the Abu Dheim family received the body of relative Omran Omar, who was shot by Israeli officers on Wednesday after officers claimed he was attempting to run over border guards in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities delivered his body to the family at the Jabal al-Mukabbir police station just after midnight, when the body was transferred via an ambulance to a nearby mosque.

Relatives and friends bid final farewell to Abu Dheim as mourners carried his body to the town’s cemetery after the funeral prayer.

The mourners waved Palestinian flags, chanting slogans condemning the killing. Omran had left home at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday headed for Jabal al-Zaytoun (Mount of Olives), where he works as school bus supervisor at the neighbourhood’s school, his wife said.

Omran’s brother Shafiq Abu Dheim said eyewitnesses told him that ‘Omran was trying to make a U-turn in the middle of the road, but was impeded by a truck which was unloading vegetables at a produce shop’.

At that point a heated argument broke between him and Israeli officers who were on both sides of the road, when the officers opened fire.

Shafiq said that Israeli forces pulled his brother out of the car and ‘left him lying on the ground for half an hour without receiving any first aid, despite the fact that he was only a few metres away from Al-Maqasid and Augusta Victoria hospitals,’ according to eyewitnesses.

The Zionist forces fired stun grenades at those who attempted to access the man after he was shot, head of a local follow-up committee of al-Tur, Mufid Abu Ghannam, said on Wednesday.

As soon as Shafiq discovered his brother’s death, he immediately headed to al-Tur, walking due to blocked roads.

‘My brother had already been evacuated in an ambulance, and the soldiers were inspecting his car. I tried to access the car, which was riddled with bullets, but they pushed me back violently.’

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said after the incident that the had man tried to run over two border police officers with his car, leaving them moderately injured.

Israeli soldiers, police officers and security guards have recently shot dead or injured several Palestinians in Jerusalem on suspicion that they were planning or carrying out attacks against Israelis. The family of Omran Omar Abu Dheim said he was killed in ‘cold blood’.

‘My husband isn’t interested in politics, neither is he affiliated to any political parties,’ Omran’s wife said.

‘It is a common practice for the occupation to kill Palestinians in cold blood, and to justify the killing, quickly claiming that the martyr was planning an attack against them,’ she added.

Surveillance cameras in the area, she said, could have revealed the truth, but Israeli forces confiscated the cameras before shop-owners were able to view the footage.

‘They want to conceal the truth about the tyranny they committed against a father of a family,’ Omar’s wife said.

Omran’s elder daughter Rasha, 14, said she was in her final exams at school when her father was killed.

‘On my way back home, I tried to call my father several times after I heard the taxi driver talking about a citizen from Jabal al-Mukabbir shot and injured in Al-Tur,’ she said.

‘I called his cell phone several times, but he never answered, then I saw the news on Facebook. . . the soldiers killed my compassionate father. They stole him from us.’

Abu Dheim left behind his wife and five children Rasha, 14, Hamza, 11, Raghad, 9, Hala, 6 and Muhammad, 16 months old.

l Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the Asira al-Shamaliya village in Nablus, while several Israeli military vehicles raided the Beit Furik village in eastern Nablus on Thursday.

Palestinian security sources said that Israeli forces raided the house of a security services member, Mizr Muhammad Thib Saadeh, in the Asira al-Shamaliya village, later detaining Mufdi Thib Saadeh, 32, and Bassam al-Aghbar, 38, from the village.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the two were detained for alleged involvement in ‘terrorist activities’ and violence towards security forces, but gave no further information regarding the nature of the activities.

Separately, Israeli forces also raided the Beit Furik village; no detentions were reported. Israeli forces regularly raid and detain from Area A of the occupied West Bank, nominally under full Palestinian civil and security jurisdiction, a policy condemned by the international community.

Over 6,000 Palestinians were being held in Israel jails as of April 2015, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

• PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat on Wednesday labelled the new Israeli coalition ‘racist’ and ‘extremist’ as the European Union attempted to encourage both sides to adhere to previous peace agreements.

‘It is clear through Netanyahu’s actions, comments, and remarks that Israel has paved a new wave of racist and extremist policies and is not a partner for peace,’ Erekat said following a meeting with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Mogherini’s visit came days after Israel announced a new policy to ‘sterilise’ public transportation systems, segregating Palestinians and implementing Jewish-only public transport, Erekat said in a statement.

If implemented, the ban would restrict Palestinians from riding the same buses as Jewish settlers when returning from Israel to the West Bank.

Netanyahu reportedly suspended the ban on Wednesday as the policy was attacked by rights groups and the opposition, and deemed unnecessary by the Israeli military.

Also on the day of Mogherini’s visit, Israel announced to expand the Har Homa settlement by 90 units near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour.

‘The move was in direct contravention of international law and Israel’s obligations under previous agreements, as well as a slight to the international community’s commitment to facilitate peace,’ Erekat said of the decision.

Erekat added that the new government pieced together by Netanyahu earlier this month sends the message that ‘Palestinian lives, history and culture don’t matter’.

The new Knesset is largely comprised of right wing parties opposed to a Palestinian state and aiming for large scale settlement expansion.

Erekat called on the international community to demand Israel fulfill its obligations under international law.