Dr. Ahmad Bahar, the deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), strongly denounced the kidnapping of PLC head, Dr. Aziz Dweik, and held Israel responsible for his safety. The PLC and the Hamas-led government in Gaza also denounced the abduction of Dweik, and demanded his immediate and unconditional release.Dr. Dweik was arrested on Thursday by Israeli soldiers stationed at the Jaba’ roadblock, south of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

In a press release issued on Thursday, Dr. Bahar stated that “the abduction of Dr. Dweik is another Israeli crime against the Palestinian people and their democratically elected officials.’

He called on the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to intervene and ensure the safe release of Dweik, and added that this arrest violates all international laws and regulations regarding protecting elected officials.

Dr. Bahar further stated that the abduction of Dr. Dweik aims at foiling all efforts of Palestinian unity, is aimed at obstructing the work of the Legislative Council in the West Bank.

He said that the United Nations must fulfill its obligations and ensure the release of Dweik, adding that the UN must act against all Israeli violations and crimes against the Palestinian people, their lands, and their holy sites.

Furthermore, the Palestinian government headed by Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyya, in the Gaza Strip, denounced the kidnapping of Dweik and called for his immediate and safe release.

The government said that Dr. Dweik was kidnapped following his meeting with South Africa’s representative in the West Bank.

Bahar went to meet the official in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and was kidnapped while on his way back home in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

The office of Dr. Dweik said that the abduction aims at foiling all Palestinian efforts to achieve national unity, and is a continuation of “Israel’s hostile policies against the Palestinians and their elected officials.’

After being elected as the head of the PLC in 2006, Dr. Dweik was arrested in August and spent three years under administrative detention until he was released in June 2009.

Dr. Aziz Dweik was repeatedly kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel, and in 1992, he and 415 political leaders of the Hamas movement were expelled to Marj Az-Zohour area in Southern Lebanon. They refused to head to Lebanon and camped out in the cold in Marj Az-Zouhour until they were allowed back into Palestine.

He served as Hamas English Language spokesperson, and in 2006 he was elected as the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council when Hamas garnered an overwhelming victory in the legislative and local council elections; Israel and the United States decided to shun the elected government.

On June 29, 2006, and after being elected as the PLC head, Dr. Dweik was kidnapped, along with dozens of elected Hamas officials, and was imprisoned by Israel for three years despite the fact that no charges were brought against him as he was placed under administrative detention.

He was released on June 23, 2009, after an Israeli court refused to extend his remand when the Israeli prosecution failed to present any evidence against him. The prosecution was attempting to have Dr. Dweik remanded under administrative detention for an additional year.

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