Israeli arrest postpones wedding - for seventh time

Israeli arrest postpones wedding - for seventh time
4 min read
01 October, 2015
Analysis: Just days after Fadi Hamad's release from a Palestinian Authority prison, he was re-arrested by Israeli police, shortly before his nuptials.
Fadi Hamad has been in and out of prison for the past 12 years [Facebook]
Fadi Hamad's fiancée Sima Mitwally spoke to the Palestinian Times in the wake of one of the activist's many arrests by Israeli security forces: 

"When Fadi asked to marry me on 24 February 2013, I thought his repeated arrests were the same as the rest of young members of the Islamic Movement - but what has happened to us is not normal as the arrests have only taken place on our wedding day."

     It summarises the security doctrine of Abbas' PA in the West Bank
Lama Khater, activist
Now, just two days before Hamad was finally due to marry, he was arrested again, and their wedding has been delayed for the seventh time. Whereas he was previously held by the PA, this time he was arrested by Israeli security forces.

Fadi Hamad has been passed to and fro between Israeli and Palestinian prisons for the past twelve years. He was recently released just a few days ago from a Palestinian prison, after a 37-day hunger strike in protest at what he called his "arbitrary detention".

At the time of his release, as a consequence of his hunger strike, he was suffering ill health and was hospitalised.

Hamad was held for some 25 months in Israeli jails, and was released in mid-July - before being re-captured by the PA security apparatus.

His case demonstrates why many here are angry at the  Israel-Palestinian security coordination that arose out of the much-criticised Oslo peace agreement.

On his most recent arrest, he was accused of planning to assassinate the head of the Palestinian security services and carrying explosives. He was released earlier than expected after Palestinian security officers decided not to press charges in a court, but was arrested again - this time by Israeli security services.

The case also demonstrates that security coordination doesn't always mean handing over information directly to the Israeli army. Human rights activists testify that following members of armed groups helps Israel's intelligence, as does the PA's arrest of such activists, and makes "life easier for Israel" when re-arresting Hamad after his release.

"I would say that, in Fadi's case, there was no need for the coordination," said a human rights worker in a prisoner support group.

"The PA had arrested him then accused him of possessing large amounts of explosives. Eventually, if unable to prove this claim, he would be released only for the Israelis to find him and ask about the explosives the PA claimed to find in his house."

As the PA rarely keeps people imprisoned for a long time, due to a lack of strong legal foundations and autonomy, Israel often steps in.

"It's the fact that both parties perceive that they have the same enemy which is anyone who attempts to change the status quo," said the rights worker.

A protest in solidarity with Fadi Hamad
during his hunger strike [Twitter]
"It summarises the security doctrine of Abbas' PA in the West Bank," said Lama Khater.

"It is merely a cheap set of illusions."

Hamad's case draws some resemblence to that of Brazilian-Palestinian, Islam Hamad, who was also passed back-and-forth between Palestinian and Israeli security forces.

Hamad's case drew attention in 2007, when he was arrested as the president of Birzeit University's Student Council, which was held up as an example of Israel's violation of the rights of students and hindering the right to education.

Many also speculated that the arrest was connected to his affiliation with Hamas, the Islamist political party in control of the Gaza Strip - and a frequent target of crackdowns in the West Bank. 

The arrest was followed by the arrest of his replacement in the Hamas movement, Abdullah Owais, who was also arrested at a checkpoint in February 2008 and charged under the same count.

The news comes as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas makes seemingly contradictory statements regarding the future of Palestinian coordination with Israel. While he hinted that he plans to announce the end of the Oslo accords, others say this is merely a gimmick and little will change.

The release and re-arrest of Hamad would signal that a drastic policy change from the PA is unlikely any time soon.

"We have promised each other - with God as our witness - to live our lives together," said Hamad's fiancee. "So we both are confident that God will not forsake us."