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Palestinian detained by Israel at Allenby suffers mental breakdown

Aug. 16, 2014 1:38 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2014 12:22 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- On July 18, 30-year-old Muath Dureidi crossed the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank, excited to take a job in his native Palestine after receiving word that a local company had accepted his application.

His excitement turned to horror, however, after Israeli forces detained him and kept him isolated from the outside world for the next 28 days.

By the end of his ordeal, Dureidi had suffered a complete mental breakdown, and today sits completely mute in the Arab Specialized Hospital in Nablus.

It was not supposed to turn out this way for Dureidi, a native of the Tulkarem-area village of Beit Lid in the northern West Bank.

His father Nasr told Ma'an that before his arrest, Muath had traveled to the United Arab Emirates in his quest for a job, completing in-person interviews with a number of companies in the wealthy Persian Gulf state.

Shortly after arriving in the UAE, however, Muath received word from a West Bank company he had previously applied to that he had been accepted.

He subsequently flew back to Jordan in order to return to his homeland, since Palestinians are forbidden by Israel from using the more direct route through Ben Gurion Airport.

After disembarking at the airport near the Jordanian capital Amman and making his way to the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River, his father said Muath made a short call home in which he said Israeli intelligence services had detained him.

Two days later, the family was officially notified that Muath was being held at al-Jalama interrogation center near Jenin, and intelligence services repeatedly extended his detention for unclear reasons.

Over the course of the 28 days he was held in captivity, neither family members nor lawyers were allowed to visit him.

By the time he was released -- on a bail of 3,000 shekels -- he had suffered a nervous breakdown and had gone completely mute, much to his family's horror.

Palestinians are routinely denied exit from the Allenby Bridge to travel abroad by Israel, and reasons are rarely given.

Dureidi's case, however, is less common, as he was returning to the West Bank and was kept for nearly a month for unclear reasons, despite having been allowed to leave without any issue just days before.

Although the Allenby Bridge is technically operated jointly by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, Israel maintains complete control over all movement in and out of the West Bank, which has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967.
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