In addition to arresting the Speaker again, on Monday 23 January, the Israeli authorities detained PLC member Mohammed Totah and former Palestinian Minister Khaled Abu Arafah, who had taken refuge in the compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross in East Jerusalem after their Jerusalem residence permits were cancelled.
These developments took place just days after the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians met in Geneva to consider the situation of 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Many of these members have already served prison terms in Israel for representing Hamas. They were subsequently re-arrested and are currently being held in administrative detention.
"The IPU is extremely concerned by all situations in which duly elected members of parliament are prevented for whatever reason from carrying out their mandate to represent the people. In this instance in particular, almost 20 per cent of the parliament is in detention. Beyond and above the implications this has for the functioning of the Palestinian Parliament, I believe that this situation puts a serious strain on the peace process. I urge the Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and respect for the parliamentary mandate and to release forthwith the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in administrative detention."