Israel arrests Palestinians in Jerusalem, Hebron as activists launch new campaign for prisoners

Israel arrests Palestinians in Jerusalem, Hebron as activists launch new campaign for prisoners
2 min read
15 December, 2019
Israeli forces have stormed homes in Jerusalem and Hebron, arresting eight Palestinians including a senior Fatah official, as activists launched a new hashtag to raise awareness regarding Palestinian prisoners.
Thousands of Palestinians have previously been arrested by Israeli forces [Getty Archive Image]
Israeli forces stormed a number of areas in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Sunday morning, searching Palestinians homes and arresting at least eight people.

Among those arrested was Shadi Mutawwar, the Secretary of the Fatah movement’s office in Jerusalem. The Fatah movement is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Two other people detained in Jerusalem were identified as activists Majdi Abu Ghazaleh and Areen Zaaneen. Israeli forces also stormed the house of another activist, Amer Awad and gave his family a notice ordering him to turn himself in for interrogation, when he was found to be not present.

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Israeli forces also raided the Urub refugee camp north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank and arrested four men, one of whom had previously been released from Israeli detention. Another man was detained in the village of Bani Naeem east of Hebron.

Last week, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 Palestinians in a series of raids in the West Bank. Israel currently incarcerates thousands of Palestinians in its prisons and some are being held in administrative detention without charge.

On Sunday Palestinian activists launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #الأسير_مش_مجرد_رقم(#A_prisoner_is_not_just_a_number) to raise awareness of prisoners and their personal stories. The hashtag encourages social media users to publish information about individual prisoners.

Iyad Abu Seneina, a student and former prisoner taking part in the campaign told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, “This campaign has been started by a number of volunteers. Usually, the individual cases of prisoners are only the business of their families. Individual prisoners are only mentioned in the media on the days they are arrested and the days they’re convicted, but we as activists want to spread awareness of their cases.”

He said that an English-language version of the campaign would begin soon, saying that this was necessary because Israel “portrays itself as a democratic state, and there are people in the world who think Palestinian prisoners are arrested because they commit crimes when the truth is that they’re arrested for defending the Palestinian cause.”

A Twitter user named Bara’ah Bani Awdah used the hashtag to post about Nael Barghouthi, who was arrested in 1978 and is the world’s longest serving political prisoner.

He was released in an Egyptian-brokered prisoner release in 2011 but was rearrested in 2014 and is still in Israeli detention.

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