Three Palestinian lawyers were ordered released by an Israeli occupation court on Monday, 11 December after being held for a week in the Petah Tikva interrogation center. Khaled Zabarqa, Iyad Misk and Firas al-Sabbah were ordered to house imprisonment for one week and a travel ban was imposed on the three lawyers.
Prior to their release, the U.S.-based lawyers’, legal workers’ and law students’ association, the National Lawyers Guild, issued a statement condemning Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem and also demanding the release of the three lawyers. The statement follows below:
“The National Lawyers Guild expresses its strongest condemnation of the latest illegal and dangerous declaration of U.S President Donald Trump purporting to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state. This move seeks to legitimize occupation and undermine Palestinian fundamental rights at the highest level. It seeks to legitimize an unlawful Israeli occupation and annexation of Jerusalem and blatantly violates the U.S.’ obligations under the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter to recognize and abide by international law.
This comes hand in hand with other blatant U.S. violations of international law and clearly exposes that the U.S. is not now – and in reality, never has been – an “honest broker” for peace in occupied Palestine. This action does not stand alone and intersects directly with growing Israeli repression in occupied Jerusalem, including home demolitions, stripping of Jerusalem IDs as well as frequent arrests of children and youth.
It also includes an ongoing attack on Palestinian lawyers and human rights defenders, including the arrest on Monday, 4 December of three prominent Palestinian lawyers engaged in defending Palestinian human rights in Jerusalem and throughout occupied Palestine.
The three lawyers are: Khaled Zabarqa, prominent lawyer and the representative of imprisoned Sheikh Raed Salah, a political and religious leader; Eyad Mesk, the legal director of the Prisoners’ and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Commission; and Firas al-Sabbah, the general director of al-Meethaq Center for Human Rights, which provides legal advice centers for Palestinian Jerusalemites and monitors the detention of Palestinian children.
All three were taken from their homes in pre-dawn raids in Lydd and Jerusalem on Monday, 4 December, and taken to the Petah Tikva interrogation center. They remained detained today.
The arrest of Zabarqa, Mesk and al-Sabbah comes as only the latest arrest of Palestinian human rights defenders by Israeli forces. Indeed, human rights defenders have been repeatedly subject to arrest, imprisonment and administrative detention without charge or trial. Currently, human rights defenders like Hasan Safadi, Salah Hamouri, and Khalida Jarrar are held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons under administrative detention orders. Issa Amro, land defender in Hebron, faces military charges for nonviolent protests against settlements. Abdallah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in, was subject to raids and arrest just weeks ago and remains jailed.
In related news, Samidoun further reports that Prominent Palestinian leader, organizer and former prisoner and hunger-striker Khader Adnan was seized on Monday morning, 11 December, by Israeli occupation forces at his home in Arraba, Jenin. He immediately launched an open hunger strike to demand his release.
Randa Moussa, his wife, told Palestine Today that he had announced an immediate strike on food, drink and speech after his arrest. She said that four patrols, an armored troop carrier and a jeep surrounded their home at 2:30 am and invaded the home violently, trying to break down the door of the home, and that they hit Adnan on the back and hand, throwing him on the ground before handcuffing him. He was then interrogated in a closed room of the house before being taken away to an undisclosed location.
Adnan, prominent political activist from the town of Arraba near Jenin, has been arrested 10 times and spent six years in Israeli prison, all in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. In 2012 and 2015, he carried out 66-day and 56-day hunger strikes, respectively, winning his liberation from arbitrary Israeli imprisonment.
The Islamic Jihad movement said in a statement that “the arrest of leaders and popular and national symbols will not weaken our people or break their will….this is a desperate attempt to suppress the uprising of Jerusalem,” as Palestinians inside and outside Palestine have risen up against US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the “capital of Israel” in the eyes of the US.
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