Israeli Authorities Continue to Intervene in the Palestinian Elections, and Arrest another Candidate Running for the Legislative Elections
Date: 15 April 2021
Time: 09:45 GMT
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested another candidate running for the Palestinian Legislative elections on the Hamas-affiliated “Jerusalem is Our Destiny” electoral list, from his house in Ramallah, after raiding and searching it. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns such arrests, and calls upon the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop its interference in the Palestinian elections and arrest of candidates, and to allow Palestinians to hold their elections in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) without obstacles.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 23:00, on Monday, 12 April 2021, IOF backed by several military vehicles moved into al-Balu’ neighborhood, in al-Bireh, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Najeh Abdullah Dar ‘Assi’s (47) house, detained his family in one room and arrested him. It should be noted that ‘Assi is a candidate on the “Jerusalem is Our Destination” electoral list and its representative in the West Bank in the 2021 Legislative Council elections scheduled on 22 May 2021.
Alia Abdul Samad, Najeh ‘Assi’s wife, said to PCHR’s field worker that:
“IOF backed by four military vehicles stationed near our building, where we live in the second floor. We heard knocks on our door, so my husband went to open the door. We were surprised with 17 Israeli soldiers shouting and then held my husband and handcuffed him. The soldiers spread in the house and held me and my children; Mohammed (10), Abdullah (14), and Sadil (18), in the living room. They ordered my husband to give them his cell phone and confiscated it. I tried to give my husband a jacket and shoes to wear due to the cold weather, but the soldiers refused, threatened me at gunpoint and one of them ordered me not to move and stay with my children. Before they withdrew, IOF arrested Najeh and took him in one of the military vehicles stationed in front of our house. The lawyer informed us then that Najeh was taken to “Ofer” detention center in Beitounia village, west of Ramallah.”
On 06 April 2021, IOF arrested another candidate on the “Jerusalem is Our Destiny” list, Hasan Mohammed Wardian (62), after raiding and searching his house in Hindaza area in Bethlehem. On Tuesday, 13 April 2021, the Israeli authorities decided to put Wardian under administrative detention for four months.
PCHR emphasizes that these arrests are part of the IOF’s attempts to obstruct the Palestinian elections and the situation is expected to get worse as the elections approach.
PCHR calls upon the international community to take serious action and practice pressure on Israel to guarantee holding the elections in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, in a way that guarantees the right of the Palestinians to vote and run for the elections.