Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) condemns the Israeli security force’s detention last Friday 14 May of Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib in Kafr Kanna, and demands his immediate release.
AOHR UK added that Al-Khatib is deputy leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in occupied Palestine. According to Al-Khatib’s official Twitter account, he was arrested after his home was surrounded on Friday 14 May; Israeli security forces used live fire and tear gas during the arrest. In reaction to his arrest, clashes erupted in the town, leaving nine citizens of 48-Arabs injured. There were solidarity protests outside a Haifa court on Saturday after Al-Khatib’s detention was extended until 20 May.
AOHR UK pointed out that Al-Khatib’s detention occurs in the wider context of intensified attacks by the occupying force and settlers against Palestinians, including within Israeli borders. From mid-April, Israeli security forces and settlers attacked worshippers in Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem (or al-Quds as it is known in Arabic). Attacks continued throughout Ramadan. At the same time, occupying forces attempted to physically remove a number of families in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The families have lived in their Sheikh Jarrah homes since the early 1950s, after their ethnic cleansing from historic Palestine.
And, starting Monday 10 May, Israeli military forces have bombarded the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza remains blockaded by Israel and Egypt. Over 200 Gazans have been killed since 10 May, including approximately 60 children
AOHR UK demands the immediate release of Kamal Al-Khatib, who has committed no crime – indeed, his detention is itself legally suspect. More generally AOHR UK also condemns the recent wave of Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the al-Quds, Gaza, and behind the ‘Green Line’.