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Palestinian officials call for boycott of Israeli military courts

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Issa Qaraqe (C), the head of the Palestinian Authority's commission for detainees, speaks at a press conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, February 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian officials have demanded a boycott of Israeli military courts after the regime rearrested a freed Palestinian and sentenced him to life in prison.      

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), made the remarks at a press conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, calling on the families of the prisoners and Palestinian organizations to stop attending the Israeli military trials and to refuse to pay convicts' fines.

He further said that Palestinians had paid the Israeli authorities as much as $6 million last year as convicts' fines imposed by the regime’s courts.

Palestinians detained by Israeli forces are usually brought before the military courts and defense lawyers say they are often not informed of the charges against their clients or allowed to speak with them before the trial.

“Palestinian movements and prisoners' families must choose boycott,” Fares added.

On February 22, Israeli forces arrested Nael Barghouthi for a second time after he was jailed for life in 1978 but released in a 2011 prisoner exchange. The Israeli military said he had been jailed for allegedly committing “a series of security offenses” nearly forty years ago, but was rearrested for allegedly “violating his terms of release.”

An Israeli military court restored Barghouthi’s original sentence of life plus 18 years.

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (R), who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant in March 2016, is embraced by his mother at the start of his sentencing hearing in a military court in Tel Aviv, on February 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“One must take the difficult decision of rebellion and boycott” of the courts, Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Authority's commission for detainees, said at the same presser.

He added that the same military court system handed down just an 18-month jail term to an Israeli soldier, who killed a wounded Palestinian last March. The controversial ruling sparked rage among Palestinians and right groups.

The United Nations also denounced the ruling and described it as a “lenient” and “unacceptable sentence" for such “an apparent extrajudicial execution.”

Nearly 280 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli soldiers since September 2015, when tensions intensified after Tel Aviv regime forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

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