The Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Afghanistan, Samer Allawi, a Palestinian from the West Bank, has been in Israeli detention for the past week, He was stopped and taken into custody just before crossing the border to Jordan, as he was returning to Afghanistan following a three-week visit to his home and family in the West Bank.
According to a statement issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] in New York, Allawi “was arrested at al-Karama border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank while leaving the Occupied Territories after a three-week vacation in his hometown near Nablus, Al-Jazeera reported. Allawi’s brother, Musaab, told Al-Jazeera that the journalist intended to cross into Jordan then travel back to Kabul. He had entered the West Bank at the same crossing without difficulty three weeks earlier … [T]he authorities provided no justification for holding the journalist, who carries a Jordanian passport, and said only that it was a ‘security-related arrest’, Al-Jazeera reported. On Thursday, Israeli authorities informed Allawi’s employer that his detention would be extended to eight days, but again failed to provide a reason. Majed Khader, program editor and head of assignments at Al-Jazeera, said Allawi told Salim Waqeem, a lawyer hired for him by Al-Jazeera, that he would be charged with transferring money and orders from Afghanistan to the West Bank if he refused to act as an informant…”
UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday 16 August here that “Israel has arrested the Al Jazeera’s Afghanistan bureau chief, a Palestinian, on charges of ties to Hamas. Samer Allawi, 46, was picked up August 10 on the border between the West Bank and Jordan, the Arabic-language satellite station said Tuesday. Allawi was detained August 10 after a three-week visit with family in Sabastia, a village adjacent to Nablus”.
The JPost story added that “An Israeli security official confirmed Allawi’s arrest and court appearance but gave no further details on the case. Walied Al-Omary, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said the military court accused Allawi of making contact with members of Hamas’s armed wing. Al Jazeera Arabic’s website posted footage of Allawi appearing in court in an Israel Prison Services uniform. ‘There is nothing in this investigation that I believe harms Israel, like it is being claimed, or has any relationship with my work in this entire region’, he told the judge”…