Dr. Barghouthi's Arrest by Israeli Army (5th January 2002)

Dr. Barghouthi's Arrest, and the Israeli Military's Brutal Treatment of Dr.Barghouthi and European Delegates

Dr.Barghouthi is the president of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), which won the WHO World Health Award 2001

source: PHA, updated by Pam Zimkin

5 January 2002

The arrest of Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi - a physician and human rights activist, president of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), which won the WHO World Health Award 2001, and director of the Health, Development, Information and Policy institute (HDIP)­ on Wednesday the 2nd of January by plain clothed Israeli police, was condemnable.
Arrested after participating in a morning press conference in East Jerusalem, Dr. Barghouthi was held for over four hours in the notorious Israeli detention center, "Maskopia".

Dr. Barghouthi was finally deported from East Jerusalem to the West Bank at the Ram checkpoint, between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Upon his release, and waiting for his car to arrive to take him back to Ramallah, the doctor was talking with international delegates and press, who were with him at the time of his initial arrest.

It is at this point that the most horrific events of the day occurred.

According to witnesses at least three jeeps of Israeli soldiers arrived at
the checkpoint, and attempted, without reason, to re-take Dr. Barghouthi.
The events that followed illustrate the brutality of the Israeli
occupation, and their continued disproportionate use of force and violence against civilian Palestinians, and their foreign supporters.

For ten minutes the group was subjected to pushing, punching, being thrown to the ground and dragged along in addition to the soldiers firing tear gas and throwing sound bombs. They also opened fire above the heads of the people. In this aggressive and violent assault Ms. Luisa Morgantini, in her sixties, and Ms. Ulla Sandbaek, both members of the European Parliament, were thrown to the ground and physically attacked.

This vicious, unprovoked and completely unjustified attack against Dr.Barghouthi and the group must be condemned in the harshest terms. The fact that the Doctor was released, without charges, one hour later confirms that there was no reason for his detainment. Upon his release it became clear he had been beaten and suffered a fractured knee, in addition to lacerations and bruising to his face and body.

Dr. Barghouthi has continuously worked in the Palestinian health sector, to provide health care to the more than three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; he was a member of the negotiating team in Madrid, and has over the years consistently advocated a non-violent, peaceful approach to the removal of the Israeli occupation of the West bank and Gaza Strip.

We all must denounce Dr. Barghouthi's arrest for being in East Jerusalem which is part of the Occupied Territories, and his treatment at the hands of the Israeli police and Army, and therefore government. We must also criticize, and demand an explanation for, the violence use against the
foreign delegation and other people with Dr. Barghouthi at the time of the attack.

We are beginning a campaign of formal protest to the Israeli government and as part of this we would appreciate if you could please write/email/fax or call the Israeli Embassy in your country ­ for the relevant address information please see http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.htm, in addition to asking your representatives to make an official protest to he Israeli government.

Also write to the following Israeli officials, remembering a fax is great deal more effective than an email:
Shimon Peres
Email: sar@mofa.gov.il
Fax: 972 2 5303367

Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Defense Minister
Email: sgansar@mod.gov.il or sar@mod.gov.il
Fax: 972 3 6976218

Uzi Landau, Minister for Internal Security
Email: sar@mops.gov.il
Fax: 972 2 5308151

Nissim Dahan, Health Minister,
Fax: 972 2 6787662

Sent by Pam Zinkin