Israeli Army arrests 23 Palestinians, including two officials

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces operating in various West Bank cities arrested 23 Palestinians, including a Hamas legislator and a member of Palestine National Council (PNC), Palestinian and Israeli security sources said.The Palestinian sources said that the Israeli forces arrested Hamas legislator Nasser Abduljawad from his home in the village of Deir Ballout, to the west of Salfeet. Um Owais, Abduljawad’s wife, said that the Israeli soldiers broke into the house at 3 a.m. She added that the Israeli soldiers surrounded the house, searched their bedroom and ordered her husband to get dressed and then was taken to an Israeli army detention facility.Abduljawad was among dozens of Hamas officials who Israel arrested in June 2006 in response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip. He was released in September 2010.Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrested 22 other Palestinians in the cities of Qalqilyah, Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah and Nablus. The Palestinian sources said that Israeli forces arrested PNC member Azmi Sl-Shiyoukhi, of Fatah movement, from his home in Hebron.

The Israeli sources said that the 23 are wanted by the Israeli security forces and were taken to unknown locations for questioning by the Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet.On Monday, Hamas’ prisoners launched a one-day hunger strike to protest against the isolation of some Hamas leaders in Israeli prisons. Hamas said that Israeli Prison Service transferred seven of its leaders to solitary confinement. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the move after Hamas rejected the demand of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS) to provide proof that Shalit is still alive.

Hamas wants Israel to free up to 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of Shalit, and the Palestinian movement has reportedly presented a list of 450 names in Israeli prisons. Israel also objects to freeing Israeli Arab prisoners as well as several Hamas military wing leaders. Another issue yet to be settled is Israel’s demand to deport almost 100 of the 450 “heavy” prisoners set to be released in the deal.According to the recent Palestinian statistics, there are 6,700 Palestinians currently held in 23 prisons and detention camps in Israel and in the West Bank. There are 300 prisoners under the age of 18. Israel also holds 37 females and 17 members of the Palestine Legislative Council. – Arabnews