Thursday, 3 September 2009

Nine Islamic MPs released after prolonged captivity in Zionist Jails

Nine Islamic MPs released after prolonged captivity in Zionist Jails

[ 02/09/2009 - 04:29 PM ]

Relatives greet MP Nasser Abdul Jawwad, just freed from an Israeli occupation jail.

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

The Israeli apartheid regime on Wednesday freed nine Islamic-oriented members of the Legislative Council who have suffered a long captivity in Israeli jails and detention camps.

The released political prisoners include Khaled Suleiman, Khaled Yahya, and Ibrahim Dahbour from Jenin; Riyadh Raddad from Tulkarm; Imad Nofal from Qalqilya; Nasser Abdul Jawwad from Salfit; Yasser Mansour and Hasan al Burini from Nablus; and Muhammed Abu Juheisha from al-Khalil (Hebron).

The released detainees arrived at the Dahiriya crossing, west of Hebron amid a cordial reception by friends, relatives and colleagues as well as ordinary people.

The Hebron region is considered a key stronghold of Hamas in the West Bank .

They released detainees will travel to their respective places of residence following the Iftar sunset meal marking the end of the day’s Ramadan fasting.

With the release of these hostages, the number of pro-Hamas legislative council members still languishing in Israeli jails is now reduced to 23, including 7 facing so-called “administrative detention.” The remaining 16 MPs are spending stiff prison sentences passed by Israeli military courts.

Human rights organizations describe these courts as mere “rubber stamps” in the hands of the ill-reputed Shin Beth domestic intelligence service which don’t meet the most elementary standards of justice.

In 2006, the Israeli occupation army carried out a mass arrest of nearly all Islamic MPs in retaliation for the capture by Hamas military wing of an Israeli occupation soldier during a military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israel had hoped that the cruel abduction of the councilors would cripple Hamas and force the Islamic liberation movement to release the captured soldier, named Gilaad Shalit.

However, Hamas didn’t cave in to Israeli bullying, insisting that Israel would have to release hundreds of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners in return for Shalit’s freedom.

The illegal and manifestly unethical incarceration by the Israeli apartheid regime of more than 50 Islamic members of the Legislative Council has been taken advantage of by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank .

The PA enacted a number of laws and established a government of its own in Ramallah without the approval of the Legislative Council, thus exacerbating the national rift between Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas repeatedly sought to activate the Legislative Council by proposing a system of authorized representation to circumvent the crises created by the mass arrest of the pro-Hamas councilors.

However, Fatah vehemently rejected the idea.

The release of the nine Islamic MPs on Wednesday might revive hopes for a possible reactivation of the Legislative Council.

However, Mahmoud al Ramahi, a pro-Hamas MP has downplayed prospects in this regard, saying that the problem facing the Legislative Council is first and foremost political not legal in nature.

The released detainees spent an average of three years in Israeli prisons and detention camps, especially the notorious desert concentration camp known as Kitziot.

No specific charges were filed against the captives apparently for lack of indicting evidence.

This eventually forced the Israeli military justice system to concoct vague charges such as “supporting a militant organization” and “taking part in elections under the rubric of a political party unrecognized by Israel.”

Both Israel and the Bush administration had okayed the 2006-elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, hoping that Fatah would win.

However, when Hamas won a resounding victory, harvesting 77 seats of the 132 seats making up the Legislative Council, both Israel and the US government lost their temper and decided to impose draconian punitive sanctions on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The harsh and cruel measures, including a Nazi-like blockade on the Gaza Strip, pushed the 1.5 million inhabitants of the coastal territory to the brink of starvation and economic disaster.

The manifestly cruel blockade, which resembled in many respects Nazi measures against Jews at Ghetto Warsaw, also exposed the scandalous double-standards of western attitudes toward democracy.

Several other Islamic MPs released from Zionist jails recently have been rearrested in order to exert more pressure on Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Shalit.

The rearrested MPS including Khaled Tafesh from Bethlehem and Azzam Salhab, Nezar Ramadan and Hatem Qafeesha from al Khalil.

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