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The rights of prisoners, detainees and martyrs are not overturned by an Israel military order

Protesters gather to protest the bank account closures of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in Gaza City, Gaza on 11 May 2020. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]
Protesters gather to protest the bank account closures of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in Gaza City, Gaza on 11 May 2020. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli occupation authorities were not satisfied only with enacting a law known as the  Anti-Terror Law, which aimed to crackdown and punish those involved in resisting the occupation, but followed it with the law stipulating withholding the PA’s revenues, equivalent to the amount paid as allowances to prisoners and martyrs. The legislation is known as the Law on Freezing of Funds Paid by the Palestinian Authority in Connection with Terrorism from Revenues Transferred by the Israeli Government.

The matter did not stop at the enforcement of the unjust law with the occupation authorities deducting the allowances of the prisoners and martyrs, which prompted the PA to stop receiving the collected revenues unless the entire amount is handed over. Later, after the meeting between the Israeli Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, and the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein Sheikh, on 3 October in Jerusalem, the two sides agreed that Israel continues to deduct part of the tax money transferred to the Palestinian prisoners and martyrs’ families. Now the Palestinians are continuing to receive deducted revenues, but they have not confirmed whether they continue to pay the allowances to prisoners and the families of martyrs. The matter is still contentious with the Israelis and Palestinian committees being formed to resolve the differences, adding a new escalation of the matter of prisoner, detainee and martyr allowances.

Former Israeli military prosecutor in the occupied West Bank, attorney Maurice Hirsch, threatened Palestinian banks that they would face lawsuits if they continue to cash the allowances of Palestinian prisoners transferred by the PA. Hirsch sent a letter to the banks stating that on 9 February, the commander of the army forces in the West Bank signed an order regarding security instructions (Amendment No. 67 and No. 1827 of 2020) and according to the new amendment, the monthly allowances that the PA pays to the prisoners are considered a prohibited financial act, which it describes as terrorism.

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The rights of prisoners, detainees and martyrs are not overturned by a decision by an Israeli military order or the enactment of laws that violate international laws and covenants. All international laws and covenants stipulate the right of people to resist occupation legally and legitimately. These laws outlined the right to resist tyranny, including Article Two of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen issued in France in 1789, and which are included in the unalienable rights that are not affected by time.

A Palestinian woman sits next to diplayed photographs of loved ones during a rally demanding their release from Israeli jails as Palestinians mark Prisoners Day in the West Bank city of Jenin, on 17 April 2007. [ALLA DAHLAH/AFP via Getty Images]

A Palestinian woman sits next to diplayed photographs of loved ones during a rally demanding their release from Israeli jails as Palestinians mark Prisoners Day in the West Bank city of Jenin, on 17 April 2007. [ALLA DAHLAH/AFP via Getty Images]

In the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued on 10/12/1948 the following paragraph states: “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” This is a recognition of one’s right to resist tyranny and to revolt against it as a last resort. Many rules, laws and decisions also stipulate the right to resist aggression as an inalienable right. The United Nations issued many decisions and recommendations that legitimise the right to resist aggression by all legal methods and means.

Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations stipulates: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

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The punitive measures taken by the occupation authorities against the prisoners and detainees requires the engagement in an open confrontation with the occupation, based on international laws and covenants. The Palestinian cause is a just and legitimate cause and resisting the occupation is a legitimate right provided for by international laws and covnenets. Moreover, Palestinian prisoners and detainees are subject to international agreements and the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions apply to them, as they are prisoners of war, meaning it is the occupation government who is violating international laws and covenants and is practicing terrorism in all its forms. It is the one who bears responsibility for its flagrant violation of the rights of prisoners and the families of martyrs, as the Palestinian people are still under occupation. Those residing in the occupied territories have the right to resist the occupation by all means established by international laws and covenants, and the rights of the prisoners and martyrs remain protected and cannot be overturned by an Israeli military order.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 13 May 2020

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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