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Prominent human rights activist arrested during pre-dawn raid in Ramallah

By PM collaborators - October 27, 2016
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Mustafa Bargouthi] [Israeli army] [arrests] [popular resistance]

Salah Khawaja, a prominent Palestinian human rights activist, was arrested early 26 October, following a dramatic pre-dawn raid by Israeli troops.

Khawaja was detained at 2 AM, after twenty soldiers stormed Khawaja’s flat in the old town of Ramallah. Under the agreements of the Oslo Accords, Israeli troops have no legal jurisdiction in 'Area A’ of the West Bank, which includes Ramallah.
According to reports, the soldiers destroyed Khawaja’s computer and furniture, and also illegally ordered Khawaja to unlock his phone. After he refused, he was detained. Khawaja’s wife and daughter were also in the flat at the time.
An Israeli spokesman stated that Khawaja was arrested for unspecified “illegal activities.” Reports suggest that Khawaja is now being held in the Ofar military detention centre.
Following the raid, clashes broke out between Israeli soldiers in the area and local Palestinian youths. The Palestinians threw rocks and empty bottles at the troops, who returned fire with teargas and stun grenades. Some of the teargas affected families who were living nearby. They were later treated by local rescue workers.
Khawaja is an important figure in the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), a Palestinian political party aimed at providing an alternative to Hamas and Fatah. He is also a leading member of the Palestinian BDS movement.
Mustafa Barghouti is General Secretary of the PNI and a close colleague of Khawaja. Speaking to Palestine Monitor this morning, Barghouti stated that Khawaja’s arrest was “not justified in any way,” continuing that “this arrest is clearly directed at all activists who peacefully struggle for their rights.”
“This incident will not break our popular will and the non-violent resistance that we represent,” he added.
Over the past year, Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians without charge under its controversial administrative detention laws. Israel sometimes justifies such behaviour because of laws regarding “incitement,” but Palestinian activists claim the arrests are politically motivated.
692 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons under these rules as of April 2016, reports B’tselem.



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