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Israel bans 'Islamic Representatives' bloc

Image of Hamas supporters on 8th October 2010 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]
Image of Hamas supporters on 8th October 2010 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (ISFHR) has revealed that the Israeli military authorities have decreed that the Islamic Representatives bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council is a "banned organisation". The bloc used to be called "Change and Reform" before that too was "banned" in 2006 by the Israelis.

According to a press release from the ISFHR, the order was given by the "Commander of the Israeli occupation forces, Major General Avi Mizrahi" who used a 1945 British Mandate law to ban the elected representatives.

Ahmed Al-Betawi, an ISFHR researcher, said: "This order entitles the Israeli occupation forces to break into the offices of Islamic PLC members in the West Bank, close them, confiscate the contents and detain employees, including the representatives themselves." Basically, he added, the order gives Israel the power to convict the representatives for being members of or cooperating with a banned organisation, Hamas.

"This decision shows how much the Israeli occupation, which calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East, undermines democracy by targeting parliamentarians whose election was acknowledged internationally as free and fair."

Mr Al-Betawi called on the Arab Parliamentarian Union and all world parliamentarians to put pressure on Israel to stop mistreating elected Palestinian legislators and give them full freedom of movement.

Israel still has 17 Hamas PLC members, two Fatah and one from the Palestinian Popular Front in detention.

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