Palestine Liberation Organization
Negotiations Affairs Department
23 January 2012
Saeb Erekat: “Israeli Detention of Jerusalem Representatives Test Quartet’s Credibility”
Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, condemned Israel’s detention of Jerusalem Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohamad Totah and Khaled Abu Arafeh, as “a flagrant act of aggression”.
“Twenty-four hours after the Palestinian side formally submitted a letter rejecting the detention of PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik and demanding the release of all elected representatives, Israel responded with an affirmation of its hostility towards Palestinian democracy and peace efforts,” said Dr. Erekat.
The PLC Members were in the protest tent inside the premises of the International Committee of the Red Cross when a large number of undercover Israeli officers stormed the tent, forced the PLC Members off the ICRC premises and detained them this Monday afternoon. The tent was set up by Jerusalem PLC Members eighteen months ago to protest Israel’s illegal decision to strip them of their Jerusalem residency and exile them from the occupied City.
Dr. Erekat added, “Israel responded to the on-going Quartet and Jordanian efforts by demolishing nine structures in the Jordan Valley this Monday and detaining these elected representatives”. He continued, “These actions are indicative of Israel’s systematic and illegal practices of settlement expansion and population expulsion, which characterize its colonial occupation”.
Finally, the Chief Negotiator called on the Quartet to put an end to these Israeli aggressions that also test the credibility of the Quartet’s efforts and stated positions. He also renewed the Palestinian demand for the release of all Palestinian prisoners; “Israel continues to entrench its occupation through illegal actions and grave violations of International Law. With these actions, Israel exposes the farcical nature of its peace rhetoric”, Dr. Erekat concluded.