On Monday, 27 June, Israeli occupation forces arrested Mohammed Alayan, a lawyer and the father of Bahaa Alayan, 22, from Jabal al-Mukabber in Jerusalem, who was killed by Israeli forces on 13 October 2015 and whose body remains withheld from his family, imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.
Mohammed Alayan has been a visible and active leader in the movement of families to reclaim the imprisoned bodies of their sons and daughters killed by Israeli occupation forces and being held by the occupation for months after their deaths.
In an early afternoon raid on his home in Jerusalem, Alayan was arrested by occupation forces and taken to Moskobiyeh interrogation center; his interrogation has been extended for an additional 24 hours and he will be brought before a court in Jerusalem today, 28 June.
Bahaa Alyan was widely involved in cultural and creative resistance; a graphic designer, he organized children’s programs and founded the Local Youth Initiative in Jabal al-Mukabber. He established a public library, the first in the neighborhood, and organized a human reading chain around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem that was also an effort to reclaim the Palestinian right to space and assembly at Damascus Gate and the Old City of Jerusalem.
Bahaa was killed on 13 October by Israeli occupation forces while he participated in a resistance operation in Jerusalem. His family’s home – housing 25 people on three floors – was demolished by the Israeli occupation and his body captured and withheld, with occupation forces refusing to turn it over to his family.
Mohammed Alayan has been a leader in the movement of the families to return the imprisoned bodies, going to the Israeli Supreme Court to demand the return of the bodies and speaking publicly about his son, home demolitions and the imprisonment of his body and collective persecution of families by the Israeli occupation. Far-right settler organizations hailed the arrest of Alayan, saying that he should be arrested for “collect[ing] funds for the reconstruction of terrorists’ homes…turn[ing] to the Supreme Court to secure the return of terrorists’ bodies. Moreover, he mounted a media campaign against Israel.” As is clear, these allegations are accusations of nothing more than public participation and support for entire families subject to illegitimate collective punishment by the Israeli occupation.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association lawyer Mohammed Mahmoud said that Alayan was being accused of affiliation with a “prohibited organization,” or with incitement. All Palestinian political parties are labeled prohibited organizations by the Iaraeli occupation.
Alayan met with the US Anti-Prison, Labor and Academic Delegation to Palestine in March, 2016, where he said, “The Israelis have imposed collective punishment on us in many ways. First, they basically kidnap and hold under siege the body of our son. Since October 13 until now, six months later, they refuse to release him. Second, they demolish the homes — our home that has the memories of love, of pain, of happiness, of all the things that have happened among us. The third is they are threatening to deport us to Gaza or to Syria. They think, wrongly, that collective punishment is going to affect the struggle [of] Palestinians for their freedom. We’ll stop resistance when the occupation ends, not through collective punishment.”