An Israeli military court extended Khalid Abu Arafa’s prison
sentence for another eight days yesterday.This is the seventh time the court extended the Palestinian
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs’ sentence, while he has still not been charged
with any crime.

Sources indicate that the judge continues to grant the
delays to give Israeli intelligence more time to come up with a reason to hold
the Palestinian official, or something to charge him with.

As has been well-documented by the Palestinian Prisoner
Society, if a charge is levied, the Israeli military courts often use a vague
charge regarding “security,” while defense attorneys and the accused are not
allowed to view the evidence, also for “security” reasons.

The continued detention of the Minister of Jerusalem
Affairs, accordingly, was said to be in the light of fact that “intelligence
did not succeed in bringing logical and persuasive material” to continue
imprisoning Abu Arafa. However, the judge postponed charging or trying him the
last time as there were expectedto be  “dramatic developments” with which to condemn
Abu Arafa.. However, once again there was no new evidence offered.

Israeli forces arrested Abu Arafa in June and have put him
before a military court judge in a  Jerusalem military camp
seven times since then.

What the Israeli military prosecution is aiming for is a
charge that goes beyond the fact that the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs is a
member of the Hamas party, which the Israelis coin a “terrorist organization.”

After the Hamas party was democratically elected during the
25 January elections and then later assumed their Legislative Council seats and
ministry positions, Israeli forces began arresting them.

On 29 June, Israeli forces arrested the Minister of
Jerusalem Affairs and seven other ministers. In all Israeli forces also are
imprisoning 31 Palestinian Legislative Council members, including the Speaker,
Dr. Azzi Dweik, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Nasser Addin Al Sha’er.

Additionally Israeli forces arrested many members of local
governments, including Qalqilia’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor, during the past
several months.

 * sourced from PNN