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Israel releases 2 Hamas-affiliated Palestinian MPs after 4 months in prison

July 6, 2017 3:40 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2017 6:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities released two Hamas-affiliated Palestinian parliamentarians detained four months prior, a Palestinian official said.

First deputy of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Bahr, who is also a member of Hamas, said that he had congratulated Anwar Zboun and Khalid Tafish on their release, wishing them a “calm, peaceful life empty of the occupation’s aggression.”

Zboun and Tafish, who are members of the PLC’s Change and Reform bloc, were detained in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 6 during an overnight raid.

Bahr said that the two MPs informed him of the incarceration conditions for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, highlighting that they nonetheless had high spirits and remained hopeful for freedom despite arbitrary Israeli procedures.

Bahr said that the PLC would continue to work to release all parliamentarians held by Israel, as well as all Palestinian prisoners, calling upon West Bank-based MPs to fulfil their political duties to address Israel’s suppressive occupation there.

Following Zboun and Tafish’s release, at least 12 Palestinian parliamentarians still remain incarcerated by Israel -- including Fatah leading figure Marwan Barghouthi and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat.

The latest Palestinian MP to have been detained was PFLP member Khalida Jarrar, who was incarcerated on Sunday just over a year after her previous release from prison.

Israel has particularly targeted Hamas-affiliated legislators in 2017, detaining half a dozen of them in the span of several months.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,200 Palestinians were held by Israel as of May, 12 of whom PLC members.
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