MOHAMMAD QAHOUSH

Age:
24 years
Address:
Ni’lin
Martial Status:
Single
Profession:
Construction Worker
Date of Arrest:
19.11.2013
District:
Ramallah
Last Update:
16.07.2014

Name: Mohammed Nawar Qahoush

Date of Birth: 14 July 1993

Prison: Ayalon Prison

Marital Status: Single

Occupation: Construction Worker

Residence:  Ni’lin

Hunger Strike: 61 days in protest of the administrative detention policy

 
 
Arrest
Qahoush was arrested on 19 November 2013 along with other Palestinian workers in Taybeh in the occupied 1948 territories.
 
Under Israeli law, residents of the West Bank are required to obtain a permit from the Israeli authorities to enter or work across the “green line.” Obtaining a permit is difficult, and in many cases denied. The high unemployment and lack of work opportunities in the West Bank has driven thousands of Palestinians to cross the Green Line “illegally” in order to obtain jobs. Undoubtedly, the presence of Palestinian workers without permits is largely ignored as the Israeli economy heavily depends on the Palestinian workers, who often take construction and other labor-heavy jobs. However, this also creates an opportunity for Israel to round up and arbitrarily arrest them at their own discretion, as in the case of Mohammad Qahoush. According to Israeli law, “trespassing” into Israeli territories holds as sentence of four months and a heavy fine.
 
All of the Palestinian workers except Qahoush, were remanded in the Taybeh police station for one night, and consequently released. Qahoush was transferred to Ofer Prison and issued an administrative detention order, which he is detained under until today.
 
Legal Analysis
Qahoush was charged on 5 December 2013 for entering Israeli territories without a permit and providing services to an illegal organization by writing slogans and hanging posters on walls. Qahoush’s lawyer, Adv. Aouda Zbeidat, reached an agreement with the Israeli Military Prosecution to cancel his charges relating to association with an illegal organization, as the evidence was insufficient. The prosecution also agreed to consider sentencing him until 2 February 2014, taking into account the time he had already spent in prison from the day of his arrest. The verdict would be made on the same day of the proposed release.
 
However, during his session in the Military Court, the Military Prosecutor, Gali Dekel, announced the intention to issue an administrative detention order. The hearing was postponed until 9 January 2014, in which the administrative detention order was issued. The order was confirmed by the Military Judge the next day for 6-months. The order of events clearly indicates that the administrative detention order was premeditated and that the Israeli intelligence was waiting for the verdict to issue the order.
 
The accusations presented against Qahoush include participation in military activities and belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It should be noted that these accusations were not mentioned in his initial indictment nor during his interrogation, pointing to the arbitrariness of his arrest.
In the hearing, the military prosecution refused to clarify the nature of the military activities. Although Adv. Zbeidat insisted that the period in which Qahoush was remanded after his arrest be included as the start date of his administrative detention, the military court judge refused and stated that the order was issued with the closure of the first case. The judge confirmed the order for its full duration, and refused to reveal any of the disclosed material, citing security reasons.
 
In the appeals court, the appeal against the administrative detention order was also rejected and judge Ronin Atzmon claimed that Qahoush remained a security threat and should be detained for six-months without disclosing any of the information.  
 
The military court judge authorized the administrative detention orders without clarifying the information or ensuring the credibility of the disclosed information. Similarly, in the appeals court, the judge also confirmed the administrative detention order decision without examining the material. This clearly shows the conspiracy between the Israeli military courts and the intelligence agency. Furthermore, the court’s refusal to include Qahoush’s initial detention period as part of the administrative detention indicates the inaccuracy of Israel’s claim that he is a dangerous threat to Israeli security.
 
Ni’lin, the Apartheid Wall and the Qahoush family
The Israeli apartheid wall passes through several Palestinian villages, including Qahoush’s village Ni’lin. The wall has caused great harm and difficulty to the residents of these villages. Thousands of acres of land were confiscated from Palestinians to construct the wall, restricting their ability to cultivate their olive trees. Ni’lin is known for its resistance against the apartheid wall, and is considered the first spark of the popular resistance against the wall. During the confrontations with the Israeli forces, many residents of Ni’lin have been martyred and many others injured or imprisoned.
 
Ni’lin is surrounded by five illegal Israeli settlements from all directions including Kiryat Sefer.  A military checkpoint was placed at the gates to the settlement and Qahoush’s family home is adjacent to this gate. The Qahoush family has faced severe harassment from the IOF, who aim to pressure them to leave their land so that the settlements can expand. Daily life for the family is disrupted as they are forced to be physically inspected at the checkpoint when leaving their home for work or school. The family’s daily activities are often completely disrupted if the checkpoint closes for days. The Qahoush family is socially isolated due to the extensive searches conducted on village residents who try to visit them.  The family also reports that their home is raided by the IOF at night, who claim that this is part of their military training and security inspections.
 
Qahoush lives with his father, mother, four brothers and one sister. Until now, his mother is the only family member who have been allowed a permit to visit him in prison. Her visits were suspended during his hunger strike.
 
ACT NOW!
 
Here is how you can help Mohammad Qahoush:
 
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Mohammad Qahoush be released immediately and his administrative detention order not be renewed.
 
Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il
 
Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
 
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
 
Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
 
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Mohammad Qahoush and to put an end to such an unjust, arbitrary and cruel system of incarceration without trial.