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Palestinian Leader Freed, Several Others Arrested

Palestinian Leader Freed, Several Others Arrested

Al-Khalil: Occupied Palestine

Israel on Wednesday freed Nayef Rjoub, 55, from administrative detention lasting for 28 months without charge or trial.

Rajoub, a prominent Palestinian Islamic leader and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council was arrested on 1 January, 2011, on flimsy and vague charges alleging that he constituted a "security risk" to Israel and the Jewish people.

All in all, Rajoub spent more than ten years in Israeli jails and dungeons, mostly on concocted charges stemming from his non-violent opposition to the Israeli occupation.

According to his relatives, it was widely thought that both the PA security apparatus and the Israeli domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, connived to put him behind bars for a period as long as possible "to keep his mouth shut."

Rajoub, brother of the former Palestinian Authority (PA) strongman Jebril Rajoub, is an outstanding critic of the PA.

In 2010, PA security personnel stormed a mosque in the town of Dura, where Rajoub was giving a homily, causing tension in the small town as his family and supporters moved to protect him.

Rajoub, an eloquent orator, is quite popular in the al-Khalil ( Hebron ) district, considered the largest and most populous in occupied Palestine .

Several thousand people gave Rajoub a hero welcome as he arrived home in Dura Wednesday before noon.

Among those who came to congratulate him were Speaker of the Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Duweik and a number of lawmakers including Azzam Salhab, Nezar Ramdan, Maher Badr, uhammed Abu Juheishe as well as numerous other dignitaries from al-Khalil and surrounding areas.

Decorating his large reception tent were the portraits of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin as well as numerous portraits and green banners glorifying the Palestinian Islamist movements. Yasin was murdered by the Israeli army in March, 2003.

Others rearrested

A few hours before the release of Rajoub, the Israeli occupation army rounded up several Islamic community leaders and lawmakers in al-Khalil.

The detainees included lawmaker Muhammed Jamal al-Natshe, Abdul Khaleq Natshe, Muhammed Tahseen Shawar, Dr. Amjad al-Hamouri and Jawad al-Jaabari.

The arrests took place in the quiet hours before dawn as Israeli military vehicles roared through the streets of Hebron without any resistance from PA police and security personnel.

All those arrested had been arrested several times in the past and are likely to be held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

A political analyst from Hebron, who asked that his identity remain anonymous, apparently for security reasons, said the arrests were "part of the Israeli policy of persecuting Hamas for refusing to capitulate to Zionism or Jewish Nazism."

"These people have done absolutely nothing wrong, they violated no laws, hurled no stones, and indulged in no incitement. Yet they were nipped out of their homes and families so that the Israelis could prove they are masters and us slaves.

"I challenge the Israeli justice system to bring them before a genuine court of law. But Israel is a jungle of oppression and injustice, not an oasis of justice as Zionist and pro-Zionist media circles in the West keep claiming," said the Political analyst.

Muhammed Rajoub, a graduate student from Dura, opined the arrests were probably a preventive or preemptive measure to forestall a possible resumption of peace talks between Israel and the PA leadership.

It is widely thought that Israel is the impeder of Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

Israel already vows to arrest all pro-Hamas candidates who may take part in representative elections in the West Bank.

This led many pundits to conclude that it is virtually impossible to organize fair and democratic elections under the Israeli occupation.

The PA leadership is demanding that Hamas and Fatah resolve their 7-year rift through elections.

Hamas is arguing rather convincingly that an election in which Israel has the final say is not worth contesting.

Islamists also argue that in the absence of true guarantees that Israel wouldn't round their candidates, fielding candidates for elections in the West Bank would only be an exercise in futility as Israel would seek to swell the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and detention camps.

There are already between 4000 to 45000 Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails and detention camps, many of them administrative detainees or "hostages" held indefinitely without charge or trial.

The administrative detention policy is considered a sword drawn against Palestinians' throats as inmates have no way to seek redress and prove their innocence.

The Rajoub story epitomizes the life of most Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. According to reliable statistics, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel at least once since 1967.

The number makes up one fourth of the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Never the less, the persecution meted out to the Palestinians has utterly failed to make them budge to Israel's will.

According to Israeli Jewish demographer Bella Porgoini, non-Jews already constitute a majority of the population west of the River Jordan.

Israel views the "demographic problem" as the most existential danger facing the Zionist project in Palestine. 

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