August 23, 2006
Following a spate of earlier kidnappings, on 20 August the IOF kidnapped Dr. Mahmoud Al Ramhi, Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), just one day after the kidnapping of the Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Dr. Naser El-Din El-Sha’er, which took place at 4:30am. Further, two weeks ago, on 5 August at approximately 21:30, the IOF kidnapped the Palestinian parliamentary speaker, Dr Aziz Dweik. This kidnapping is the fourth of its kind since 29 June, when the IOF detained 8 Palestinian ministers and 21 members of parliament. Only four of these ministers have been released.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the ongoing kidnappings and targeting of representatives of the Palestinian people, who were elected by the Palestinians through a successful and democratic election process, which was confirmed transparent by the entire world. Al Mezan emphasizes that through these measures, Israel is attempting to nullify the Palestinian elections, after failing to do so through the financial boycott of the PNA, the ongoing killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of their property.
Al Mezan asserts that this action is part of a series of measures of collective punishment. It also affirms that Israel is aiming to undermine the PNA and disable it from performing its executive functions, which will consequently reinforce the state of insecurity in the OPT, and lead to a further deterioration of the human rights situation, particularly in light of the continuing IOF offensive against Palestinians and their property, which requires exceptional efforts in response by the PNA and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The illegal detention of Palestinian ministers and parliamentarians will debilitate the Palestinian government and suspend the functions of the PLC.
Thus, Al Mezan calls upon the international community, most notably the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to halt the Israeli aggression against Palestinians, and secure the immediate release of the detained ministers and parliamentarians. It also demands that the international community bring Israeli war criminals and those who ordered the perpetration of these crimes to justice.