The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s committee on the Middle East on Tuesday met to discuss the imprisonment of members of the Palestinian parliament.
The head of the Fatah bloc of lawmakers, Azzam Ahmad, headed a delegation representing the Palestinian Authority at the committee’s meeting in Geneva.
The meeting came as Israeli forces detained Palestinian lawmaker Abul Jabbar Fuqaha from his Ramallah home, the fourth MP from a Hamas-affiliated party seized by Israel in five days.
Ahmad updated members of the committee on the arrest by Israeli forces of Aziz Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and a number of other lawmakers.
He also described how Israeli forces raided on Monday the headquarters of the International Red Cross in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, and detained a lawmaker and a former minister.
Ahmad noted that several Jerusalem lawmakers were deported from the city, while 27 other members of parliament remain in custody. These include senior Fatah leaders Marwan Barghouthi, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat, and Fatah leader Jamal Tirawi.
Ahmad also mentioned that a lawmaker from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Qais Abu Layla, was denied entry to Jordan as a member of the delegation to Geneva.
The Palestinian delegation urged the IPU and all parliamentarian bodies in the world to denounce Israel’s policy of detaining elected representatives of the Palestinian people.
Call to Stop Arresting Lawmakers
A week earlier the IPU called on Israel to stop detaining Palestinian MPs.
The IPU committee on the human rights of parliamentarians discussed the cases of elected officials held in Israeli jails during a meeting in Geneva last Saturday before issuing the call.
Some 20 Hamas MPs are held in Israeli prisons in administrative detention without charge or trial.
"The Committee has repeatedly expressed concern at this practice, which denies the members of parliament the opportunity to represent the people who have elected them," the IPU said in a statement Monday.
"It essentially means that the Palestinian Parliament is unable to carry out its legislative and oversight functions. The Committee called upon the Israeli authorities to abandon this practice," the statement added.
The union is an international organization affiliated to 159 parliaments.
It was established in 1889 and works closely with the United Nations.