Know More About Palestine

Wednesday Jan. 25, 2012 10:01 AM (EST+7)
Israel detains senior Hamas official for six months

Read more: Aziz Dweik, Hamas, Palestinian Legislative Council, PLC, parliament, arrests, detentions, Israeli military

JERUSALEM, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Israel on Tuesday ordered senior Hamas official Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian parliament, held without trial for six months, his lawyer said.

Israeli soldiers arrested Dweik at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah last week. The military said he was suspected of involvement with terrorist groups.

The (administrative detention) order was issued today but, as is almost always the case, it gave no specific reasons why Dweik should be held, lawyer Fadi Kawasmi told Reuters. It said only that he was being detained because he was liable to be involved in hostile actions against Israel, he added.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was checking details of the case. Israel arrested Dweik in 2006 and held him in jail for two years.

Dweik was the first of four lawmakers from Hamas, an Islamist group that Israel, the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organization, detained by Israeli authorities over the past week. Up to 27 lawmakers are in Israeli detention, according to Palestinians.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli troops detained Abdel Jaber Fukaha in Ramallah, his son said, and on Monday Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafah were arrested in East Jerusalem at the compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross, where they had taken refuge for more than 18 months to avoid being expelled from their home city.

The Palestinian cabinet, at a meeting headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah, condemned the arrests and demanded Israel immediately free all lawmakers.

Hamas described Israel's arrest of the legislators as an attempt to stop rival Palestinian factions from concluding a reconciliation deal that includes a resumption of parliamentary sessions.

Hamas, which won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, seized the Gaza Strip from Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement in 2007 after a unity government collapsed.

The two groups agreed on a unity deal last April but it has yet to be implemented and the Palestinian parliament remains inactive. (Additional reporting by Jihan Abdalla in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence)






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