Thursday, May 24, 2007
Israeli forces arrest Palestinian minister of education, former minister of public works, mayors and PLC members
"West Bank - Ma'an - Israeli forces launched an extensive arrest campaign in several West Bank cities on Thursday morning, culminating in the arrest of the Palestinian minister of education, Nasser Addin Ash-Sha'er, and former minister of public works, Abdur-Rahman Zeidan, in addition to a number of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members and mayors. Some 33 Hamas-affiliated politicians and activists are reported to have been arrested in this most recent attack on the democratically elected Palestinian government.
Our Nablus correspondent reported that the minister of education was apprehended from his home in the Mu'ajeen area of Nablus in the northern West Bank after the Israeli forces broke into the home.
Furthermore, the Israeli forces arrested the Hamas members of the PLC in Nablus, Hamid Al-Beitawi and Dawood Abu Seir. They also arrested the mayor of Nablus, Adli Ya'ish; the mayor of Beita, Arab Ash-Sharafa; the director of the Islamic endowments office in Nablus, Fayyad Al-Aghbar; and several other Hamas-affiliated activists......
The Palestinian minister of education, Ash Sha'er, was apprehended in a previous Israeli sweep against Hamas legislators and politicians in 2006 following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian armed factions in the southern Gaza Strip in June 2006. At the end of June 2006, the Israeli army seized eight members of the Hamas cabinet, the speaker of the PLC, and over 20 legislators.
As for the mayor of Qalqiliya, Wajih Qawwas, he was arrested three times during the second Palestinian intifada, and he was elected mayor of the city whilst in prison after he got the highest number of votes in the 2005 elections. He was also arrested in the June 2006 sweep of Hamas politicians.
Palestinian minister of information Mustafa Barghouthi described the arrest of senior Hamas leaders on Wednesday as a "massacre against democracy."
A group of Palestinian doctors and academics have issued a press release condemning Dr. Ash-Sha'er's arrest and calling on "the international community, all academic institutions and all international civil society organizations" to demand his release and the "protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in international humanitarian law and international human rights law such as the Fourth Geneva Convention." "