Israeli security forces have broken into the offices belonging to five elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Change and Reform Bloc in Nablus, ransacking their contents and confiscating computers and various files. They arrested the 75 year-old deputy of the bloc, Ahmed al-Hajj Ali, in a simultaneous operation. He has been arrested on several previous occasions.
Deputies from the Legislative Council released a statement following these raids in which they asserted that Israel's actions were aimed at the disruption of the work of Palestinian parliamentarians in the West Bank. The Israelis, continued the statement, also want to undermine the deputies' resolve following the recent reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. However, said the deputies, the daily violation of their rights by Israel will not dissuade them from serving the Palestinian people and fulfilling the trust placed upon them when they were elected to office in 2006.
In the same communiqué, the deputies warned against what they called "a Zionist ploy on the horizon signalling Israel's intention to re-arrest the deputies one by one, as they did in 2006". The Palestinian deputies regard the international community's silence on Israeli violation of the immunity of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council as "complicity" in the crimes of the Zionist state. They added that the Israeli government should be held to account by the world community for riding roughshod over international laws and conventions.
In a separate statement released by the Change and Reform Bloc in the Gaza Strip, the arrest of Deputy al-Hajj Ali was described as "a blatant Zionist attempt to disrupt efforts toward reconciliation and to erase the symbols of Palestinian legitimacy". It stressed that the most mature response to the Israeli raids would be to "accelerate the activation of the Legislative Council's work, as it is the umbrella of legitimacy".
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour