Can you imagine a situation where a third of the members of the House of Commons are illegally seized and transferred, say, to France where they were held without trial? Sounds a bit far fetched, doesn't it but that is exactly the situation in occupied Palestine. Today, the Israeli government seized yet another member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, this time a member of Fatah. In the last week, Israel has detained more than 30 Hamas officials in the West Bank, including two cabinet ministers. Israel now holds more than a third of the members of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council on "security grounds". They include 40 Hamas MPs, one from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and four Fatah members, three of whom were elected while in jail. The silence in London and Washington is, as usual, deafening as latest flagrant breach of international law by the Jewish state is allowed to pass. Next week is the 4oth anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel as a consequence of the six-day war with Egypt. They have been 40 years of misery and suffering for the Palestinian people.
Every day brings new atrocities by the occupiers. Yesterday Israel undercover 'special forces' executed a Palestinian man at point blank range during an attack on Ramallah. The man, identified as Omar Abu Daher, a member of Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard, was initially shot in the leg outside the offices of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute on Ramallah's Main Street. When he fell to the ground, Israeli undercover forces executed him with a shot to the back of the head at close range. He was killed instantly. Doctors said that Daher had been shot 24 times all over his body. Some seven other Palestinians were injured during the attack. Minister of Information Dr Mustafa Barghouthi was present at the scene at the time of the execution. Israeli forces shot at his car as he attempted to follow the ambulance to the hospital. Dr Barghouthi condemned the execution as a 'despicable and tragic violation of the non-derogable right to life' enshrined in international law. This attack came after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused an offer by the Palestinian National Unity Government for a comprehensive, reciprocal ceasefire, and Barghouthi said that it was yet further evidence of the lack of an Israeli partner for peace. In truth, the Israeli government would rather provoke Hamas into firing rockets at settlers than negotiate a settlement. Israeli does so safe in the knowledge that Washington and London will always come down on their side, turning a blind eye to the misery inflicted on a people whose only ‘crime’ is to fight for the right to self-determination.
Paul Feldman, communications editor