The European Network to defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners (UFree Network) condemned the Israeli arrests of Palestinian MPs in the occupied West Bank.
The network also denounced the broad campaign of arrests that targeted 18 civilians; including Palestinian national leaders, academics and students, from different governorates in the West Bank.
Israeli occupation forces arrested at down Monday 4th Feb 2013, three Members of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), who are Ahmed Attoun, who is already exiled from Jerusalem to Ramallah, and the two other MPs from al-Khalil; Hatim Kufaisha and Muhammad Al Tal.
UFree asserted in a press statement that this operation comes within a systematic policy adopted by Israeli occupation in the West Bank in an attempt “to target the Palestinian national reconciliation which is due in the near future”.
For his part, Chairman of the UFree Mohammad Hamdan, stated that the Israeli operation might escalate in light of the positive atmosphere which has been prevailing in the reconciliation process.
“Arresting Members of parliament and taking them as hostages is a war crime as it is constituted in the third and fourth articles of the Geneva conventions,” stated Hamdan.
According to article 34 of the fourth Geneva Convention, “taking hostages” of other countries’ civilians and placing them under the authority of an occupying state is prohibited. Thus, arresting Palestinian MPs from the West Bank territories then transferring them to Israeli jails is illegal and a violation of international law.
The European Network called on the International Human Rights Organizations to immediately intervene and release the kidnapped MPs and civilians.
Meanwhile, UFree Network is planning to launch a campaign to pressure the European Parliament and MPs to intervene and oblige Israel to immediately release the kidnapped MPs.
According to UFree statements, Israel has close economic and political ties with European Union which gives the former a lot of advantages. The network called on EU to halt any upgrade in economic relations with Israel as it will be a reward instead of sanctions.