The Palestinian NGO Network Condemns PNA arrests of PFLP Members
October 26, 2001

The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) views with serious concern the latest wave of arrests carried out by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) against members of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Despite the fact that the PNA is under serious US pressure to "act" accordingly in response to the ongoing instabilities, we reaffirm our belief that the PNA must not arrest any Palestinian on political grounds. Rather, we view that the only achievable means to an end to the instability are to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, most notably through its policy of political assassinations and extra-judicial killings of political activists and personalities.

The total number of PFLP members (or ex-associates of the PFLP) arrested by the PNA since the killing of extremist Israeli minister Rahva'am Ze'vi on October 17th has reached 22 (2 of whom have been released). The latest wave of arrests was carried out yesterday night by Palestinian security forces in Ramallah, in which 2 PFLP members were arrested: Raja Imsieh, and Ibrahim Al-Husari. (Please see below for a comprehensive list of the detainees)

PNGO strongly condemns the recent arrests of PFLP associates, as well as the arrest of any Palestinian for political reasons and affiliation, taking into consideration that these individuals were arrested merely on the basis of their political affiliation with the PFLP, thus with no specific charges.

Furthermore, it must be clearly stated that all Palestinian political factions have come into existence, and continue to function, to resist Israel's illegal 53 year-old occupation of Palestine. They have a legitimate right to resist occupation under the provisions of the Declaration of Principles of International Law (1970), which clearly states that "in their actions against, and resistance to, such forcible action" [occupied] peoples could receive support in accordance with the purpose and principles of the UN Charter.

Various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection, "by all available means including armed struggle" (see UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154).

Such actions by the PNA pose a serious threat to the integrity and development of Palestinian civil society, and are in grave violation of the most basic human and civic rights, most notably 'freedom of expression' and the right of free political assembly, as well as the imperatives of the rule of law, as stipulated by the Palestinian basic civil law act of 2001 (Article 3) in which detainees cannot be held for more than 24 hours without trial.

PNGO strongly urges the PNA, and all its security forces, to immediately release all Palestinian political prisoners, particularly members or associates of the PFLP.

Our national quest for liberation and independence must not be hampered by the effects of such actions, but should be nurtured and developed by the firmness of our national unity.

Following is a list of the detainees as of October 25th, 2001:

In Ramallah:
1-Ahmad Khamees Mahmoud Abu-Laban
2-Yousef Khader Yousef Habash
3-Ibrahim Khader Yousef Habash
4-Maher Ali I'beid Al-Dassouki
5-Khaled Halabi
6-Shadi Al-Shurafah
7-Luay Muhammad Ahmad Odeh
8-Eyad Musa Muhammad Mahmoud Al-Rabahi
9-Ali Abdel-Rahman Jaradat
10-Christie Tannous (released)
11-Osama Al-Baba
12-Shafeek Batshone (released)
13-Ahmad Saleem Soufan
14-Midhat Al-Masri
15-Muahammad Tawfik
16-Jamal Affous
17-Ahmad Maslamani
18-Marshoud Zayed
19-Ibrahim Al-Husari
20-Raja Imsieh

In the Gaza Strip:
21-Younis Al-Jaru
22-Rabah Muhannah