Hunger striker’s release highlights plight of Palestinian prisoners

Hisham Abu Hawash (R), a Palestinian prisoner who was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, embraces his son upon his release in Hebron on February 24,2022. (AFP)
Hisham Abu Hawash (R), a Palestinian prisoner who was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, embraces his son upon his release in Hebron on February 24,2022. (AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2022

Hunger striker’s release highlights plight of Palestinian prisoners

Hisham Abu Hawash (R), a Palestinian prisoner who was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, embraces his son upon his release in Hebron on February 24,2022. (AFP)
  • Hisham Abu Hawash freed from Israeli detention — but hundreds more remain with agonizing wait for freedom

RAMALLAH: The joy of freed Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash was matched only by the delight of his family and friends, as well as the hundreds worldwide who followed his 141-day hunger strike.

Abu Hawash was released on Feb. 24 after spending 16 months in Israeli detention.

The 40-year old construction worker from Dura, Hebron, was first arrested by Israeli forces on Oct. 27, 2020 and placed under a six-month administrative detention order.

Later, the order was arbitrarily extended to Feb. 27, 2022.

Israel released Abu Hawash at the end of his sentence amid growing Palestinian public anger, as well as criticism from international human rights organizations, the EU and UN.

However, Abu Hawash’s case is just one of many. Of the 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, 540 are being detained without trial. Among them are 41 women and 140 children under 18.

Israeli prison authorities imposed strict punitive measures on Palestinian prisoners following the escape of six inmates from Gilboa prison in September 2021.

Qadoura Faris, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News that inmates face daily problems caused by the prison administration, which is seeking to destroy their collective efforts over the years to improve living conditions in detention.

He said that this process follows an Israeli committee’s recommendation to “make the prisoners’ lives difficult.”

HIGHLIGHT

Israeli prison authorities imposed strict punitive measures on Palestinian prisoners following the escape of six inmates from Gilboa prison in September 2021.

Israel has arrested almost 1 million Palestinians since its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Faris said.

“No sun has risen since the beginning of the Israeli occupation without daily arrests,” he added.

Detentions are part of a systematic plan to sap Palestinian communities’ will to resist and also to create fear, Faris said.

Despite the relative calm in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, human rights organizations say that even something as minor as a Facebook post can lead to arrests and a trial if Israeli authorities view it as incitement.

Israeli security targets Palestinians aged from 19 to 25 in order to deter them from protests and activism, while fines imposed on prisoners by Israeli courts swell the Israeli budget.

Meanwhile, the struggle of dozens of Palestinian prisoners continues from behind bars, even as dozens are enrolled with universities and are pursuing studies at all academic levels.

Some have contested legislative elections while serving time.

The education initiative was led by Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah leader serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for leading the second Palestinian intifada from 2000 to 2004.

While Palestinians consider those behind bars in Israel “freedom fighters,” many Israelis describe them as “terrorists,” saying they tried to kill Israelis and should die in prison.

The issue touches almost every family and neighborhood, and most Palestinians believe that the Palestinian Authority should make prisoners’ freedom a top priority.

Prisoners and their families hoped the election of US President Joe Biden would kick-start the Israel-Palestine peace process, and that prisoner releases would be a crucial issue in any negotiations.

However, as these hopes fade, it appears only an expected prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel can deliver freedom to those, including the infirm, women and children, who have spent more than 20 years behind bars.


Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry
Updated 11 August 2022

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry
  • Salma Baghat was stabbed 17 times in Zagazig city
  • Latest in a string of ‘revenge’ murders by men

A man has been arrested for killing his 20-year-old girlfriend in a stabbing frenzy after she refused to marry him, in the latest case of femicide that has shocked the nation.

In a statement, Egypt’s Public Prosecution said that it had detained 22-year-old Islam Mohammed pending an investigation into charges of the premeditated murder of Salma Baghat, which took place in Egypt’s Zagazig city.

The prosecution said the young woman and her family rejected his offer to marry her due to his “bad behavior, abnormal beliefs, and his addiction to drugs.”

Mohammed, who attended Al-Shorouk Academy with Baghat, admitted to authorities that he killed her on Tuesday because she had rejected him and refused to comply with his demands to stop seeing her friends and quit her job.

Mohammed stabbed Baghat 17 times as she was leaving a building in the city, according to local media reports.

The prosecution said the man then posted a picture online of the victim’s body after the attack.

Baghat’s killing is the latest in a string of “revenge” murders.

The murder of 21-year-old Nayera Ashref outside her university campus in broad daylight in June this year sparked outrage across Egypt. Prior to her murder, Ashraf had repeatedly refused the advances of Mohamed Adel.

According to the Erdaak Foundation for Development and Equality, an estimated 7.8 million girls and women in Egypt have experienced some form of gender-based violence.

In 2020 alone, there were 415 violent crimes reported against girls and women in the country, the organization said in a report published last year.


Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
Updated 11 August 2022

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
  • ‘Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza’

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Wednesday welcomed the Gaza ceasefire and said that the problems between the Palestinians and Israel “cannot be resolved through violence.”

Following a fierce series of bombings by Israel and a response by Palestinians in Gaza, tensions have grown in the region, although a ceasefire has been agreed to.

“Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza and lead to an improvement of the socio-economic situation locally. We call on all stakeholders to comply with the agreement and call for maximum self-restraint.”

Hayashi said the many casualties amongst the general public that have resulted from the clashes “is a big and deep concern for us, and I’d like to express my condolences to the victim’s families.”

The foreign minister expressed Japan’s official position on the Palestinian cause saying, “Violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East. We believe that it can only be resolved through negotiation and efforts to build confidence between the parties. Therefore, we call on all those involved to make the strongest efforts possible.”

Hayashi made his remarks in reply to Arab News Japan’s question in a press conference at the ministry held right after participating in the inauguration of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Hayashi was retained as Foreign Minister in the new lineup.

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan


Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts
Updated 11 August 2022

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

DUBAI: Inspectors at Dubai International Airport have seized 3.7kg of marijuana that were found hidden inside air filters used for an engine, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Dubai Customs officers made the discovery after an x-ray of a passenger’s items revealed an “abnormal density,” the WAM report added.
Upon dismantling the auto spare parts, officers said they found the narcotics “skillfully concealed” around the air filters.
The suspect was arrested and an investigation was launched.


Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
Updated 11 August 2022

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
  • Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession

DUBAI: Police in Oman have foiled an attempt to smuggle a large haul of the drug cannabis into the country.

It is the latest in a number of seizures forming part of the government’s efforts to raise awareness and prevent the spread of controlled substances.

The General Department of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control, in cooperation with the Coast Guard Police, arrested two people while they were unloading 73kg of cannabis on a beach in Muscat Governorate,” the Royal Oman Police said in its Twitter account, adding that legal proceedures were underway.

 

 

Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession.

A forum in Dhofar earlier this week discussed the issue of controlled substances in Oman.

The event explored the types of substances being brought into the country, as well as the reasons for the use and the effects of their abuse, viewed from a social and family perspective.


US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security
Updated 11 August 2022

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

KUWAIT: The US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah during an official state visit, Kuwait State Agency (KUNA) reported.

They explored ways to boost cooperation to enhance global food security and health sector.

They discussed bilateral ties and reviewed the latest regional and international developments of common interest.