For longest Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner, Samer Issawi, Israel is now proposing…a real deportation

Samer Issawi, on hunger strike for over 200 days [off and on water with supplements], has refused being sent from Israeli jail to Gaza.

So, AP reports this evening, Israel is now proposing a real deportation:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has offered to deport a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner to Europe or a U.N.-member country, an Israeli official said Friday, in an effort to reach a compromise over the high-profile detainee.  But a lawyer for the 33-year-old hunger striker says he has refused to be deported, and a European Union official denied that Israel had officially made the offer to deport him…The Israeli official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the prime minister’s office offered to deport Issawi after EU and UN officials expressed concern about his health. The Israeli official said neither body had replied to the offer. The official said if an EU or U.N.-member country was willing to take him, Israel would be more than happy to let him go, but that so far, no country had offered…Jawad Bulous, a lawyer for Issawi, said the prisoner had turned down a previous offer to be sent to the Gaza Strip, and would not accept deportation to any other country. ”He refuses all of these options’, Bulous said”.  This AP report is posted here


The AP report contains other real news, which was previously not reported: “The Israeli official said Issawi was re-arrested for trying to reestablish a Hamas cell in the West Bank”.

AP also reported that “Issawi was sentenced to 26 years prison for his role in a series of shooting attacks targeting Israeli police cars and students at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. He was released from prison as part of a 2011 exchange that freed hundreds of Palestinians…But Issawi was arrested again for violating the conditions of his release by entering the nearby West Bank. He is expected to carry out his entire sentence as a result”.

Another agency, AFP, reported that “Issawi, 33, was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for military activities on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel was willing to deport Issawi ‘to any EU member country, or any UN member country’, said the official, noting that they had yet to receive an answer from either. An EU spokesman told AFP that ‘Israel has not formally approached the EU on this subject’. However, the Israeli official insisted the issue ‘came up in official communications between officials on both sides’. Lawyer Jawad Boulos said that while ‘Israel had tried to make him agree to being deported’ to any of a number of countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Finland and Switzerland, Issawi had ‘strongly refused in principle to be deported to any state’.” This AFP story is published here.

Hussam Khader freed from 15 months in Israeli Administrative Detention

Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader and activist from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, was freed today from 15 months’ Administrative Detention in Israel.

His lawyer, Jawad Bulous, who was appointed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society headed by Qaddoura Fares, said that he had gone to Megiddo Prison in the morning to make sure that there would be no surprises. He said he left when he was sure — as sure as possible — that Hussam “will be sleeping in his own home tonight”.

Bulous explained that when Hussam had made his appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem in June, after one year in Administrative Detention, the military courts had already decided to give a three-month extension, which the State Prosecutor wanted to be extended to six months. According to Bulous, the Supreme Court panel of judges who heard Hussam’s appeal had denied the six-month extension — barring, as usual, any “new discoveries” by the security forces.

As there was nothing new, Hussam had to be freed, Bulous said. And, suddenly, finally, he was free.

Administrative Detention order for Hussam Khader renewed for another 6 months — UPDATED

Late Thursday, the Israeli military’s Administrative Detention order against Hussam Khader, a Fatah activist from the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, was renewed for 6 months, following his appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice the day before. Perhaps more significantly, it comes after the 15 May agreement between Israel and Palestinian prisoners that was understood to have included a decision that current Administrative Detention orders would not be extended.

Despite his appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday, filed on his behalf by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners’ Society/Club, and his own personal statement made in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, Hussam Khader was informed late Thursday that his Administrative Detention will not end on 2 June, as he had hoped.

On Friday, Khader’s lawyer, Attorney Jawad Bulous, confirmed by phone the six-month renewal of the Administrative Detention order, but said he could not give more details because he was on the other line.

    UPDATE: On Saturday evening, Mr. Bulous explained that the Israeli Attorney General had told him, during Hussam Khader’s Court hearing on Wednesday, that the State of Israel wanted Hussam Khader’s Administrative Detention extended for another six months — but would not be requesting a renewal after that. In the Supreme Court’s ruling, the judges noted this position of the State in their rejection of the appeal.

    Mr. Bulous said that this has led him, and the Palestinian Prisoners Society/Club to conclude that it is necessary to report this matter to the Egyptian mediator who was involved in the May 15 prisoners’ agreement, and to inform the Egyptian mediator that Israel is not abiding by the terms agreed on ending the current terms of Administrative Detention for those 322 [or 308s ] Palestinian prisoner now in Israeli jails.

    “Israel is totally behaving as if nothing was reached by the Egyptian mediator”, Mr. Bulous said. “I’m afraid they are not abiding with the general decision we had with the Egyptians”.

    Mr Bulous noted that in two other appeals of current Administrative Detainees he took to Israel’s High Court, those of Jaafar Azzedine and of Mahmoud Ramahi, the Israeli State Attorney told the Court that there the current Administrative Detention orders of these two men, which expire in July, would not be extended.

This seems to go against the sense of the Court in its other recent decisions on Administrative Detention. And it raises a real question: What purpose can it serve for the State of Israel to tell the Court that it needs to keep Hussam Khader in Israeli jail for another six month’s term of Administrative Detention? Why did the Supreme Court just say OK? Is it OK that this next six-month’s order will be the end of it, and Hussam Khader will be released by the end of 2012? This action seems to confirm the impression that the request emanates from political echelons, for political purposes — while the Court has indicated that security reasons [only] can justify such a drastic measure.

Hussam Khader’s appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court was heard by a panel of judges headed by Justice Elyakim Rubenstein, who had also heard — and rejected — the appeals on 3 May of Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab, who were on the 70th day or so of hunger strikes against their Administrative Detention orders.

In his appearance for his appeal at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem, Hussam Khader called on the Court to release him, according to Attorney Bulous, because the Administrative Detention orders were “illegal, brutal, and had no justification”.

    The BBC reported on 7 May that:
    “In his decision, Judge Elyakim Rubinstein expressed concern over their deteriorating condition, and referred the military authorities to a legal clause which could allow their release on medical grounds, AFP reported … Judge Rubinstein said that although the practice of administrative detention caused him ‘great discontent’, it was ‘necessary when the material regarding the petitioner is intelligence material, the exposure of which would harm its conveyor or the methods in which it was obtained’ … Such detainees’ cases could be examined by ‘a jurist acceptable to the detainees, who would receive the sufficient security approval… [and] who could examine the material on their behalf’, he added”. This BBC story is published here.

Hussam Khader was taken from his house in a raid on 2 June 2011, and was sentenced to a term of six months Administrative Detention, in which exact charges and evidence are kept secret from the detainee as well as his lawyer, so no defense is possible.

The generic charges which are always made to justify Administrative Detention are: “posing a threat to public security and safety”.

In Hussam Khader’s case, there seems to be some suggestion that he is a member or supporter of Hamas — though he is a well-known leader in Fatah.

The accusation is very strange. After earlier being banned from travel after his previous release from Israeli jail in September 2008 [a year ahead of time, on “good behavior”], he was a delegate at the 6th Fatah General Conference in Bethlehem in August 2009. He clashed in an opening session with Palesinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and also lost in his bid for a seat on the Fateh Central Council. He then publicly backed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and later tried to repair his relations with Abbas.

Sometime in 2010, Khader was suddenly allowed to travel, and he went to Lebanon and then to Damascus to attend conferences. There, in the context of national reconciliation efforts, he met with Hamas figures, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

Apparently, Hussam Khader had informed Mahmoud Abbas about this in advance, and had Abbas’s blessing in the contacts — to the extent that he apparently felt that he was acting as Abbas’ representative.

These contacts were not conducted in secret, but were discussed with a number of people, including journalists who reported them in Arabic-language media.

Since his Administrative Detention order last June, Hussam Khader has been jailed in Megiddo Prison in Israel’s Galilee, just outside the northern edge of the West Bank.

In December 2011, the Administrative Detention order against Hussam Khader was extended for another six months. Upon appeal submitted by Attorney Jawad Bulous, who is under retainer to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, the six-month extension was reduced to three months.

Then, in February, the three-month term was extended for another three months — making it, as originally ordered, a second six-month term. This is part of what Palestinians say is the emotionally-destructively capricious cruelty of Administrative Detention, which is viewed with horror as one of the worst possible punishments of the military occupation.

After the agreement reached on 17 May to end the hunger strikes being carried out by Palestinian prisoners, it was reported that part of the agreement entailed a decision not to extend the existing Administrative Detention orders against any of the current 308 Palestinian detainees — unless there were “serious matters” contained in the secret files compiled by Israeli intelligence against them.

During the past week or so, there have been a series of scattered reports that current Administrative Detention orders were being extended.

    On 16 May, Ma’an News Agency reported that:
    “Prisoners society official Qaddura Fares told Ma’an the document outlines the core issues, while further details will be agreed in talks between prisoners representatives and the Israeli authorities. The agreement is a ‘successful victory’, he said, while warning that it is ‘not clear enough’ on the issue of detention without charge … Meanwhile, Israel committed not to renew the administrative detention of all 322 [n.b. other sources than Ma’an report the number as 308] Palestinians held without charge if there is no new information that requires their imprisonment, he noted. However, Fares warned: ‘Who can check this new information? … no one can be sure’.” This Ma’an News Agency story is posted here.

That is, no one can be sure if it is solid information from real sources — or if it is concocted reports of persons who might be intent on getting revenge against the accused for one reason or another.

There are many Palestinians who believe, simply, that people like Hussam Khader are being jailed with the assent, if not the active complicity, of officials in the Palestinian Authority who want them off the streets so they cannot run as candidates if and when the next elections are held in the Palestinian territory.

Continue reading Administrative Detention order for Hussam Khader renewed for another 6 months — UPDATED

Hussam Khader's appeal against Administrative Detention taken to Israel's High Court of Justice in Jerusalem today

Hussam Khader’s appeal against his Administrative Detention was heard this morning by Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem…

There has been no decision yet, it seems.

This will be a first test of whether or not there has been any progress, as a result of the agreement to end the prisoners’ hunger strike actions, in limiting the use of Administrative Detention orders [given to Palestinians by Israeli military courts in the West Bank] to exceptional cases in exceptional circumstances, as human rights organizations have urged.

Jawad Bulous, an Israeli Arab/Palestinian attorney from the Galilee who has offices in East Jerusalem and who is retained by the Ramallah-basedPalestinian Prisoners Society/Club, presented the case to Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday. Bulous urged Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubenstein to widen the small window that he opened when he presided over the Court’s consideration of the appeals of Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab.

He reportedly noted that Hussam Khader has been in jail on an Administrative Detention order for nearly a year already.

In recent rulings, the Israeli Supreme Court has noted that Administrative Detention is an order that should be used to prevent a danger from happening — and not to punish for past actions — so one term should be considered enough to have served the purpose. The Court has suggested that terms of Administrative Detention should not be renewed automatically, or easily, without higher review.

Hussam Khader was given an initial order from an Israeli military court for six months Administrative Detention, which was renewed in December for another six months. Upon appeal by Jawad Bulous on behalf of the Palestinian Prisoners Society/Club, that six months’ renewal was reduced to three months. In February, however, it was re-extended for another three months — and this uncertainty is a major part of the torment of Administrative Detention.

Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, whose family is originally from Jaffa, appeared in person before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. In brief remarks to the judges, he expressed the hope that they would understand the nature of his case, and give him justice.

Qaddoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society/Club in Ramallah, explained n a conversation on Tuesday that a close reading of the decisions of the Supreme Court in recent Prisoners Club cases suggests an awareness that there is something “embarassing” about the way Administrative Detention has been used.

In three recent cases, the Israeli High Court justices have commented that the aim of Administrative Detention should be to remove an immediate danger, which cannot reasonably be said to exist if an Administrative Detainee has been sitting in jail for six months…

Do Hamas members + supporters have human, civil rights in the West Bank?

The answer is obvious, but the question is not rhetorical.

There has been a great deal [well, ok, an unusual amount] of mobilization at official levels concerning the Israeli military’s detention of Aziz Dweik [see our earlier post here] at Jaba’a Checkpoint last Thursday.

UPDATE: On Tuesday 24 January, Aziz Dweik was sentenced at Ofer Military Court to six months’ Administrative Detention. That means neither substantial accusations nor evidence is made known to the accused or to his/her lawyer [nothing beyond “being a threat to security of the area”]. The Israeli Security services just ask to speak to the Israeli military judge in a private session, and that is that. Since there are no charges and no evidence, no defense is possible, in such circumstances….

UPDATE: Also on Thursday 24 January, Israeli troops entered Ramallah — Area A, and the de facto capital of the West-bank based Palestinian Authority — to arrest yet one more Palestinian MP affiliated with Hamas, AbdulJabber Fuqara. Israeli reports citing Palestinian sources say that his wife reports that Israeli troops also confiscated papers at Fuqara’s home Thursday morning [no doubt, quite early, in the dark, before dawn, when the rest of the area is sleeping, these operations are almost always carried out] …

Administrative Detention is one of the major violations of human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. Nearly 300 Palestinians [some 26 or 27 of them, currently about 10 percent of the total, are Palestinian members of the non-functioning Legislative Council who were elected on a Hamas-affiliated political party list].

As the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR, based in Gaza, but no affiliate of Hamas] has reported, Dweik’s car was stopped at 20h30 at night, after work,  as he was on his way home from Ramallah to Hebron. That means that Dweik had driven on the road that passes around Qalandia Checkpoint, and going out through Jaba’a checkpoint on the lane that is normally not checked by soldiers. 

The lane in the direction Dweik was travelling heads out towards the roads [shared with thousands of settlers and the relatively few internationals who work in Ramallah and elsewhere in the northern West Bank] which lead to the Maale Adumim traffic circle, then through congested and garbage-strewn Abu Dis and Eizariyya [Bethany] before passing the infamous Wadi Nar [hellfire] road going south to Bethlehem and then to Hebron.

Jaba’a Checkpoint is on the feeder road that is next to Jaba’a village, facing Road 60 which brings settlers and Palestinians from the northern West Bank.  It is just across from the traffic circle outside the Jewish settlement of Adam.  Passing through this traffic circle is the only way for Palestinian ID holders in Palestinian cars to get from the north to the south of the West Bank.  [There is also heavy settler traffic on the roads between Adam traffic circle and the Hizmeh Checkpoint at the entry to Jerusalem via the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, which the Palestinian cars — which are not allowed to enter Jerusalem either through Qalandia Checkpoint or through Hizmeh Checkpoint, must circumvent to take a more circuitous route to Maale Adumim traffic circle before continuing south. … so the term “Apartheid Road” system is not completely accurate, and is usually determined by the Checkpoint regime rather than by any other type of enforcement.]

Dweik was reportedly blindfolded and handcuffed, and eventually taken to Ofer prison — which is not even a one-star hotel — where he is apparently still being interrogated. The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported Sunday night, here, that:

    “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Sunday for the release of Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who was detained by the IDF last Thursday. ‘I’m not convinced that Dweik had committed any crime’, Abbas told a Russian TV station”.

So, the question is, why did Abbas have to say this to a Russian TV station [through its local correspondent in Jerusalem?], and not on Palestinian TV? Would that have been called incitement?

No one of the usual sources has raised a cry against the wave of Hamas detentions that has been going on through the past year.

If someone is a political opponent, or even if someone is labelled as being linked to a “terrorist” organization, does that mean they have no human or civil rights? Of course it does not. But, in the West Bank under occupation, it is only too easy to deprive people of the few rights that might be available to them…

The PA itself has detained Hamas members [both sides are supposed to have released “political” prisoners as part of the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, but this has not happened after two deadlines have passed, and in general the PA has said it has no “political” prisoners, only those who have committed security offenses or common crimes…]

The PA has also fired Hamas-affiliated governmental employees, including dozens of school teachers — yet Hamas members dominate many of the local municipal councils, and there is a Hamas mayor a “moderate” one] in the large northern West Bank city of Nablus.

There has been some talk about Dweik’s arrest really being motivated by Israel’s aim to block his plan to convene an imminent meeting of the dormant Palestine Legislative Council [PLC]. But Israeli arrests of Hamas members of the PLC have been going on for several years … and it is not clear why Israel would be more concerned about this now, unless it is a way to foil Hamas-Fatah reconcilation efforts.

The reconvening of the PLC s also understood to be a matter of concern to Abbas advisers, who known that the minute the PLC is convened, it may do something like decide to repeal several years of executive decisions that Abbas has been able to issue in the lack of a viable PLC. So, it became a vicious circle: so many Hamas members were in jail it was impossible to convene the necessary quorum, and even if it were to become possible, no one really wanted to deal with the unforseeable consequences.

The Khaled Abu Toameh article in the JPost also reported that Abbas said, about Dweik’s detention:

    “ ‘Frankly, this is an arbitrary detention and it’s completely illegal’, Abbas said, noting that Dweik, a top Hamas political figure in the West Bank, had been arrested a number of times in the past. The PA, meanwhile, presented Israel with a letter demanding the release of Dweik and 23 Palestinian legislators, most of whom belong to Hamas. A Palestinian official told AFP that chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat delivered the letter to Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho during their fourth meeting in Amman over the weekend. The PA also demanded the release of some 130 Palestinians who were jailed before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. In addition, the PA is demanding the release of top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms for his role in terror attacks against Israelis; and Ahmed Sa’dat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – the group behind the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001. Among the Hamas legislators who are held in Israeli prison are Mahmoud Ramahi; Ahmed Haj; Ayman Daraghmeh; Nayef Rajoub; Fadel Hamdan; Mohammed Tal; Omar Abdel Razek; Mohammed Abu Teir; Mohammed Natsheh; Mohammed Abu Gehisha; Hassan Yousef; Azzam Salhab; Hatem Kafisha; Azzam Salhab; Nizar Ramadan; and Samir Qady”.

This list, if exhaustive, neatly leaves out Hussam Khader, a Fatah activist from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus who was once part of the group known as “young Fatah” [which included Marwan Barghouthi as well as Qaddoura Fares, a long-time prisoner held by Israel in an earlier period who has since actively supported the Geneva Initiative of civil society working to advance a peace treaty and who now heads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoner’s Society].

Khader has confronted and challenged the Fatah leadership for years, famously including Mahmoud Abbas during the Sixth Fatah General Conference held in Bethlehem in August 2009 — and has been considered inconvenient despite [or perhaps because of] his popular appeal.

Khader was re-arrested in a 2am raid on his home on June 2, and has been held in Israel’s Megiddo Prison, north of the West Bank, since an Israeli military judge confirmed a 6-month sentence of Administrative Detention in June, which was renewed in December at the request of the Israeli Security Services [then cut in half, to 3 months, upon the appeal of his Palestinian-Prisoner-Society lawyer Jawad Bulous, who has offices in the Galilee and in East Jerusalem]. Both in June, and again in December, the Israeli military judge did express some scepticism about the lack of concrete charges — publicly, as is usual in cases where Administrative Detention is applied to Palestinians under military law — the charges are only listed as “being a threat to safety and security in the region”. But, both times, the Israeli military judge did give in to the demands of Israeli Security Services.

It is believed, however, that Hussam Khader was questioned about his contacts with Hamas — particularly during visits to Lebanon and to Syria in 2010, during which time he believed he acted with the blessing of Mahmoud Abbas, as part of efforts to bring about Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

So, why has Mahmoud Abbas not mentioned Hussam Khader’s detention?

Hussam Khader: extension of continued Administrative Detention halved under appeal to Israeli Military Court

An Israeli military judge in Ofer Military Prison/Court has halved the extension of Hussam Khader’s sentence of Administrative Detention — a victory of sorts.

So, instead of serving a second 6-month [renewable] sentence of Administrative Detention in an Israeli jail,  as determined two weeks ago in Ofer, the Israeli military judge reduced Hussam Khader’s present term to just 3 months [December, January + February].

One has to ask, however, why Hussam Khader is now serving any time at all…

According to news reports and to Hussam Khader’s family, this was done as a result of an appeal filed by his lawyer, Jawad Bulous.  Bulous, who has offices in East Jerusalem as well as in his home town in Israel’s Galilee,  has been retained by the Palestinian Prisoners Society or Club, headed by Qaddura Fares in Ramallah.

Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader and activist from the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, who was born in 1961, was taken from home and his terrified family in a 2am raid on 2 June this year.

This one-hour night raid on 2 June was unusual because it was conducted by massive numbers of armed Israeli forces operating in near-total SILENCE — which we reported on earlier, here,

It was Hussam Khader’s 25th arrest by Israeli military forces in the last 35 years.

Hussam was also deported by Israeli forces, once, dumped onto Lebanese soil, during the First Intifada, and returned five years later as the Oslo Accords went into effect.

He was imprisoned for six years during the Second Intifada —  when he was a member [elected in 1999 balloting] of the Palestine Legislative Council [PLC] set up under the Oslo Accords — on charges of  somehow funnelling Iranian funding to Fatah militants,  which he denied.  After interrogation during a near-legendary 45-day period of sleep deprivation in 2003,  and further months of  extended interrogations,  Hussam says he accepted a plea bargain to end the torture and possibly reduce the time he would be separated from his family.  He later said he was told by Israeli officials that the dossier that was used to convict him was compiled by Palestinian Authority or PA Security officials.

He was sentenced to serve six years in Israeli jail.  He was released a year early, in September 2008, for “good behavior”.

Because he was in jail during the 2006 PLC elections,  Hussam has not been an elected MP in recent years, but continues his political campaigning.

He is most known for opposing PA “corruption” — and was defeated when he ran for membership in the Fatah Central Committee in the movement’s Sixth General Conference [the first in 18 years] in Bethlehem in August 2009.   There was a clash in the Conference’s supposedly closed-to-the-press opening session, when Hussam rose from his seat in the audience to ask Mahmoud Abbas, who was presiding, about various matters.

Abbas interrupted Hussam and told him to “sit down and shut up”.

I asked Hussam in the Peace Center Bethlehem’s Manger Square [opposite Nativity Church] set up for media during the Fatah Sixth Conference, what he did.  “I sat down and shut up”, he told me.  Why did you do that, I asked?  “Out of respect”, he answered.

But, he then went out of the conference and up to Manger Square, where he gave serial interviews to every television camera and crew set up on the site, and then moved to the print media seated inside the Peace Center…

Hussam also told me, a few days later, that his greatest regret was the price his family had paid — and he said he had promised them, when he was released from Israeli jail the previous September, that he would make up to each of them for the five years without them during his imprisonment.

He lost the election in  the Sixth Fatah Conference in Bethlehem, but did not leave Fatah.  He worked for months, years, to repair some of his relations with the Fatah leadership and, despite his contacts with members of other Palestinian groups including Hamas, he strongly backed the Abbas-appointed PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

As Fatah-Hamas reconciliation contacts continued in the spring of this year, Hussam Khader made headlines in the Palestinian and international media, with statements expressing hope for national unity combined with scepticism, but always urging that Salam Fayyad be kept in office in any transitional technocratic government.

Then, just under a month after a reconcilation agreement was signed by Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Politbureau Chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo [on 4 May this year], Hussam was rearrested in the eerie and terrifying silent night raid on his home.

He was held in the IDF military base in Huwwara for over a week, then transferred to the Israeli military court in Salem.  Weeks later, with his two teenage daughters and his just-teenage son in Court, and while Hussam was waiting in a nearby room without seeing his children — and even without being brought in to face the Judge — he was sentenced to six months of Administrative Detention.

Administrative Detention is a phenomena of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory since June 1967.  In Administrative Detention cases, the evidence and even the precise charges against the Palestinian accused are kept secret — making any defense completely impossible.

In cases of Administrative Detention, the only information given to the Palestinian accused, and to his or her lawyer[s], are that they are believed to be “threats to peace and security in the area”…

Meantime, it is interesting to note that Hussam Khader was not allowed to travel, in the first year following his release from Israeli jail in September 2008.  He was not informed about any restrictions on his activities after his release [on “good behavior”], so he was shocked and outraged when he was stopped at Allenby Bridge when he tried to depart to address a conference in Germany to which he had been invited.

Somehow, and apparently without much further information being officially communicated to him, Hussam tried again to leave [in late 2010? ] to attend conferences in Lebanon and Syria.  There was no problem.  He was not stopped.  He went, and he came back, safely and without any problem, on two separate occasions.

It appeared that this travel may have been eased because he was going with the blessing of — and perhaps as an envoy of — Mahmoud Abbas…

The first trip was in the Summer of 2010, to a Conference in Damascus. The second trip was in November 2010, to a meeting in Lebanon on Palestinian refugees.

Hussam was thrilled, overjoyed, at the apparent restoration of his freedom — at least, to the extent possible under occupation.

Now, however, it appears that the reason for his terrifying re-arrest in June 2011 — and for the seven months he has now spent mostly in Israel’s Megiddo Prison north of the West Bank — are contacts he had with other attendees at and around these conferences, including with members of Hamas, many months earlier.

These contacts were not secret. Hussam talked about them publicly.

It seems that Hussam Khader may have been jailed, since June [a month after Mahmoud Abbas signed the Palestinian reconciliation agreement with Khaled Meshaal in Cairo], because of these contacts which were somehow approved by Mahmoud Abbas …

If these contacts were a security threat to Israel, there is no doubt that such a long time would have passed before any Israeli action.

This suggests that it is not Israel which feels Hussam is a “security threat”…

And, so far, no one in the Palestinian leadership — particularly, not Mahmoud Abbas — has said anything about Hussam Khader’s Administrative Detention.

Hussam Khader brought to Ofer Prison hearing, returned to Megiddo Prison

There are a couple of ways to approach this story.

One is to explain that Hussam Khader, a well-known Fatah activist, who was taken into custody by a very large group of masked IDF forces who raided his home at 2am the very beginning of June, was brought yesterday to Ofer Prison along Road 443 between Qalandia checkpoint and Modi’in for an Israeli military court hearing on whether or not to enact a request — already granted in principle — from an Israeli military prosecutor, to send him for a six-month sentence of Administrative Detention (renewable).

The military judge, Michael Ben-David, refused, for the second time, to enact the Administrative Detention order without real evidence that such a severe sentence is necessary.

However, this means that Hussam Khader is still in prison, one way or another.

Continue reading Hussam Khader brought to Ofer Prison hearing, returned to Megiddo Prison