Democratically elected Palestinian political leaders are routinely targeted and detained as part of ongoing Israeli efforts to suppress Palestinian political processes – and, as a necessary result, political sovereignty and self-determination. The Israeli policy of detaining members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has adversely disrupted PLC normal functions. Israeli occupation forces have arrested several Palestinians in mass arrest campaigns during March 2017 including, 5 Palestinian Legislative Council Members, bringing the number of imprisoned PLC members to 12.
Three PLC members were arrested in March 2017 with their legal status being undetermined yet. They are: Mrs. Samira Al-Halaiqa who was arrested from her home in Hebron on 09 March 2017, Mr. Mohammad Al Tol and Mr. Ibarhim Dahbour who were arrested on 22 March 2017.
Additionally, six Palestinian Legislative Council members are currently held under administrative detention, without charge or trial, namely: Mr. Hasan Yousef, Mr. Azzam Salhab, Mr. Mohammad Jamal Al Natsheh, Mr. Khaled Tafesh, Mr. Anwar Zaboun, and Mr. Ahmad Mubarak. Additionally, other PLC members Mr. Ahmad Saadat, Mr. Marwan Barghouthi,and Mr. Mohammad Abu Teir have been sentenced.
International law affirms the right to political expression and participation. This is affirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that states are to ensure “to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without , sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin" (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966).
On 25 March 2015, during its twenty-eighth session, the Human Rights Council expressed “deep concern that thousands of Palestinians, including many children and women and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, continue to be detained and held in Israeli prisons or detention centres under harsh conditions, including, inter alia, unhygienic conditions, solitary confinement, lack of proper medical care, denial of family visits and denial of due process, that impair their well-being, and expressing deep concern also about the ill-treatment and harassment of any Palestinian prisoner and all reports of torture” (A/HRC/28/L.34).