Israeli authorities, on Tuesday evening, have released the coordinator of Youths Against Settlements, Issa Amro, and the director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) office in the southern West Bank, lawyer Farid Al-Atrash. Amro from YAS movement was arrested on Monday evening, when Israeli forces stormed the commission’s headquarters in the old city of Hebron.
Spokesman for YAS, Mohammed Zghayyar, told the PNN that Amro was accused of incitement against Israel.
Zghayyar added that Amro’s arrest indicates the military’s intentional target on Palestinian popular resistance and its activists in Hebron, especially after the Open Al-Shuhada Street Campaign.
The local activist group has been constantly been targeted by the Israeli military for their non-violent resistance against the occupation. At the end of 2015, forces took over the Center for military use, destroying their media equipment. Settlers have repeatedly attacked the group members and wrongfully accused them of crimes.
Back in November, Amro was arrested under the accusation of ‘disturbing the soldiers’ and ‘hiding a terrorist in his house’. Amro was detained in a bathroom for more than four hours, with his hands cuffed behind his back and blindfolded. He was interrogated for long periods of time before being released.
In December, the army threatened to close down the YAS headquarters in Tel-Rumeida, central Hebron. Back then, Issa Amro said that the threats came in light of the Israeli military expansion in Tel-Rumeida, which aim to seize Bait Al-Sumood in the street, under constant pressures from settlers in the street.
On a related note, authorities on Tuesday night have also released the activist, lawyer Farid Al-Atrash, on a 1500 NIS ($400) fine.
Four days after the arrest on Friday, February 26, Farid’s first hearing session took place on Monday, when the Israeli military prosecutor of Ofer court has ruled to keep Farid detained until Thursday, March 3.
Gowever, Farid was released two days earlier after an appeal hearing that was requested by a team of ICHR lawyers on Monday.
Al-Atrash was violently assaulted and arrested on Friday, 26 February, during a nonviolent protest in Hebron that called on opening the Al-Shuhada street and give it back to Palestinian owners. The protest that Farid took part in came in the frame of the 7th International Campaign to open the street.
The Israeli law allows the police to arrest activists up to 96 hours, and so Farid’s hearing was supposed to take place on Tuesday 1 March. However, the commission demanded an urgent hearing that will take place one day earlier, on Monday.
Farid is part of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), which presents community-based resistance rooted in a belief in the power of nonviolent struggle, taking various forms, such as strikes, protests, and legal campaigns, as well as supporting the call to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The Coordination Committee facilitates communication between various villages involved in struggles against the Wall, ethnic cleansing, settler expansion, and various aspects of Israeli occupation.
PSCC stated that it was concerned about the detention, which solely relates to his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. Furthermore, PSCC expressed concerns at the continuous arrests, harassment and prosecution of human right defenders and activists.