Israel kidnaps Palestinian parliamentary speaker
PM Haniyeh: Al-Dweik's kidnapping 'a crime of piracy'
Palestine Media Center - PMC
(6 August 2006) - THE Palestinian National Authority (PNA) condemned the kidnapping of the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Dweik, by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Ramallah on Saturday as an "act of piracy" in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention aimed at paralyzing the PNA's legislative and executive powers.
Al-Dweik was the most senior of more than sixty Palestinian cabinet ministers, lawmakers, mayors and politicians kidnapped by the IOF since June 25 when Palestinian anti-occupation activists captured an Israeli soldier and killed two more in a daring military attack in southern Gaza Strip.
In retaliation Israel went on rampage, killing more than 177 Palestinians of which the majority were civilians, children and women, destroyed the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, including the buildings of the premiership, and the foreign and interior ministries, bombed out power and water supplies, and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis there by sealing off the Mediterranean coastal strip.
Overnight Sunday, more than 20 IOF vehicles surrounded al-Dweik's house in the West Bank town of Ramallah and kidnapped him, the director of the speaker's office and security officers told AP.
Eyewitnesses told Israeli Ynet that equipment and computers were taken from his home.
"We were sitting home peacefully, normally. Then we heard knocking on the door, which surprised and shocked us because the knocking was so loud," al-Dweik's wife told Reuters.
"He went down because the (Israeli) army was there. He opened the door. They saw him in his pyjamas and asked him to go with them. He asked for his clothes, and I brought them," she added.
The IOF confirmed al-Dweik was "taken into custody." "He is the head of Hamas's legislature and since Hamas is a terrorist organization, he is a target for arrest," an IOF spkesman said, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned al-Dweik's kidnapping as "another crime of piracy by the (Israeli) occupation against the elected representatives of our people" and called for international parliamentary action to win his release.
"We condemn and reject this Israeli piracy," Haniyeh told Reuters.
"We urge all Arab and international parliamentarians to condemn and denounce this crime and to secure the release of Aziz Dweik and all jailed ministers and lawmakers," he added.
First Deputy Speaker Ahmad Bahar in Gaza city said al-Dweik's kidnapping is an Israeli violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, aiming at paralyzing the PLC and the fall of PNA government, democratically elected on January 25.
The PNA government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, said that, "Israel is a state above the law. There's no point in even questioning why. They do whatever they want," adding that the IOF "have been looking for him for a long time - ever since the capture of the Israeli soldier."
Members of the PLC's "Change and Reform" Bloc, which won January's democratic elections, issued a statement on Sunday morning, condemning Israel's utter disregard for international law and international legitimacy.
Such utter disregard for this "thing called international law," will not break "the steadfastness of the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance to Israeli attacks," the bloc's statement said.
Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last Monday that the IOF soldiers kidnapped 600 Palestinians since the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on June 25.
The Second Deputy Speaker of the PLC, Hassan Khreishe, was also kidnapped by the IOF but released last Sunday after a one-month detention.
The PNA Minister of Planning Samir abu Eisheh was released in mid-July, and Prisoners' Affairs Minister Wasfi Kibha was freed on Wednesday.
Israel taking vengeance on Lebanese, Palestinian civilians
Excerpts from report of Palestine Media Center - PMC
(30 July 2006) - AFTER MORE than two weeks of its military assault on Lebanon and more than a month on Gaza, which failed to achieve its declared goals of disarming Palestinian and Lebanese anti-occupation groups, Israel is taking vengeance on civilians with impunity and with a green light from the United States and Britain, killing more than 650 Palestinian and Lebanese children, women and elders.
Israel has bombed international observers out of the fighting areas. An Israeli air strike last week killed four United Nations peace observers, forcing the remaining observers to evacuate their posts in southern Lebanon.
The United States and United Kingdom ruled out a ceasefire, carte-blanching Israel to go ahead with its onslaughts.
US President George W. Bush said Friday he was sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East.
Rice met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert late Saturday night and was expected in Beirut on Sunday.
Israel on Saturday rejected calls for a humanitarian truce in Lebanon to evacuate civilians.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, asked on Friday for a 72-hour truce in fighting to enable relief workers to evacuate elderly, young and wounded people from south Lebanon and to bring in emergency aid.
Early Sunday a new Israeli massacre against civilians was unfolding.
An Israeli air strike killed an estimated 55 Lebanese civilians, including 21 children, in the southern village of Qana, in the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old war on Lebanon.
Death toll in Lebanon on Sunday topped 480, the vast majority of them civilians. 800,000 Lebanese have been displaced by the Israeli onslaught. 51 Israelis were killed in cross-border fighting, most of them soldiers, as 500 thousand Israelis are living in bomb shelters.
Reports estimate that more 500,000 trees were torched in Lebanon by the Israeli bombardment during the same period.
Meanwhile the Israeli Occupation forces (IOF) extra-judicially killed two Palestinian activists in the West Bank city of Nablus overnight Sunday.
An IOF undercover unit surprised Hani A'waijan, 29, and A'mid al-Masri, 22, while they were playing soccer with friends and relatives.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), between July 13 and July 19 Israeli occupation forces carried out more than 27 attacks on targets in the West Bank. A Palestinian doctor was killed by the IOF troops as he attempted to come to the aid of wounded protesters.
The IOF also have destroyed more than 70 houses in the West Bank city of Nablus. They have kidnapped more than 30 people and detained more then 100 Palestinian security personnel in the city.
Separately in the Gaza Strip, Israeli tanks pushed back into the north of the coastal strip before dawn Saturday and the IOF warplanes started an intensive campaign of air strikes on densely-populated areas, a day after ending a bloody, three-day sweep that killed 30 Palestinians.
During the offensive, Israel has fired more than 1000 heavy artillery shells into the region and used more than 125 air-to-surface missiles, resulting in the death of more than 170 Palestinians. More than 600 have been wounded; at least one-quarter of them have been children.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported on July 28 that Israeli troops killed 23 Palestinians in fighting across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including at least nine activists, three children and a disabled man.
On July 20, Israeli ground forces attacked al-Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, while the Israeli Air Force carried out air strikes, killing 15 people and wounding 52 others. On July 24, Israel carried out air strikes on Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, killing five people and wounding 14 others.
A Palestinian human rights researcher, Ahmad Betawi of the International Foundation for Human Rights, reported Wednesday that IOF killed 167 Palestinians in July.
The total number of Palestinians that Israeli forces killed in 2006 is now at 357, Betwawi said.
31 children have been killed by Israeli military actions in Gaza since 26 June 2006 according to the Defence for Children International - Palestine Section (DCI/PS).
"We're the forgotten war," said Palestinian chief negotiator and lawmaker Saeb Erakat.
Palestine Media Center
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