Monday, April 2, 2012

Israel/Palestine: Haniyeh: Shalabi "deported" to Gaza

From Maan News Agency

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh said Monday that he would protest Israel's decision to deport Palestinian prisoners in international and Arab courts.

Former hunger-striker Hana Shalabi, who arrived in Gaza on Sunday, was the latest prisoner to be deported by Israel under the terms of her release. Shalabi, who fasted for 43 days in protest at her detention without charge, is from Burqin village in the northern West Bank.

Haniyeh visited her on Monday in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He told reporters her deportation was a war crime and a violation of human rights and international law.

He praised 29-year-old Shalabi, who he said had "broken the will of her warden."

His Hamas-led government will bear all responsibility for her, he added.

Haniyeh urged Egypt to pressure Israel to stop targeting released prisoners. Egypt mediated a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in October. Hundreds of prisoners were deported to Gaza and abroad under the deal.

The Gaza premier insisted that Israel should respect the terms of its agreement with Shalabi. According to the deal, Shalabi will be allowed to return home after three years.

Human rights groups have slammed the terms of Shalabi's deal. The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Israel "to comply with international humanitarian law, which prohibits Israel, whatever its motives, from forcibly transferring Palestinians to another territory."

Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel said in a joint statement that they feared the restriction of Shalabi's access to doctors and lawyers, in addition to the prevention of family visits, were used as coercion.

Shalabi told Ma'an on Monday that she did not consider herself a deportee, and that she was "among family and loved ones" in Gaza.

She expressed gratitude to Palestinians and "all the free people in the world" for supporting her during the strike.

"I cannot find words to thank all those who supported me and sympathized with my cause.

"I am proud of all of you, and I hereby confirm that I have moved from the field of direct confrontation with the (Israeli) occupation to the field of supporting all prisoners who face their jailers with a firm will and steadfastness," she said.

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