Two Palestinian youth activists have been detained on Saturday, 14 October in separate incidents by Palestinian Authority “security forces.” Montasser Karajah, 27, a former Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails and a social justice activist, was detained by PA intelligence after he was summoned by security forces from his home in Saffa village.
Meanwhile, Hamza Zbeidat, also a Palestinian youth activist, was also arrested by PA security forces as he accompanied a delegation of solidarity activists about land defense in the Jordan Valley against the settlements and Israeli agricultural and industrial exploitation taking place there on Palestinian land.
“These arrests come amid a great deal of rhetoric about reconciliation and moving beyond political detention. Quite clearly, however, the Palestinian Authority is still engaged in the business of political detention, targeting young activists who work to defend the rights of the Palestinian people and who are at risk on a daily basis of arrest and imprisonment by the Israeli occupation,” said Charlotte Kates, international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
While it is not yet clear why Karajah or Zbeidat are being detained, their arrests also come in the context of the Electronic Crimes Law, the new law created by decree by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Numerous Palestinian activists and organizers have been arrested under the law, which attempts to criminalize social media posts and other online publications critical of PA officials. Palestinian civil society organizations have demanded its immediate cancellation, noting that it is an attack on public freedoms and deepens Palestinian division at a time that Palestinian expression is under massive attack by the Israeli occupation. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has published a lengthy analysis of the dangers posed by the law.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network strongly denounces the arrest of Montasser Karajah and Hamza Zbeidat and demands their immediate release and the release of all political detainees. In addition, we join and support the Palestinian calls to cancel the dangerous and unlawful “Electronic Crimes Law” and the ongoing attacks on Palestinian websites, journalists and activists, especially as the Israeli occupation daily threatens them with closure and imprisonment.
We also join our voices with Palestinian organizations and activists demanding an end to Palestinian Authority security coordination with the Israeli occupation. Political detention of Palestinian activists cannot be separated from the PA’s coordination with the occupier. It is very important for international supporters of the Palestinian people and Palestinian cause and Palestinians in exile and diaspora to make their voices heard to the PA to demand the release of Montasser Karajah, Hamza Zbeidat and an end to security coordination, repressive legislation and political detention.
1. Email the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission in your country. Click here for a list of contact information. You can email the Ambassador to the PLO Delegation to the U.S., Husam Zomlot, at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, at email@example.com. Make it clear that Palestinians around the world and international friends of Palestine stand together to confront occupation, end security coordination, and free Hamza Zbeidat, Montasser Karajah and fellow political detainees.
2. Call the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission. This is a case where phone calls can make a real difference! Palestinians and internationals around the world can raise their voice and demand action. Phone numbers for some missions follow:
- PLO Delegation in Washington, DC: 202-974-6360.
- Palestinian Mission to the UN: 212-288-8500.
- Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa, Canada: 613-736-0053.
- Palestinian Mission UK: +44 (0)20 8563 0008.
- Palestinian Mission to Belgium and the European Union: +32 (0) 227352478.
- Palestinian Mission in Germany: +49 30 2061770.
- Palestinian Mission in France: +33 1 48 28 66 00.
- Palestinian Embassy in Greece: +30 21 0672 6061.
- More may be found here!