Senior Palestinian official arrested by Israeli forces
A Palestinian protester takes cover as Israeli soldiers fire tear gas during a peaceful protest in the West Bank village of Nabeh Saleh, February 6, 2015. (AFP/File)
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Israeli security forces have arrested a senior Palestinian official as he was attending a protest event near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, a report says.
Jamil al-Barghouthi, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s committee against the separation wall and settlements, was detained in the village of Silwad on Monday, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
He was attending a ceremony for planting trees, which is considered a symbolic act of protest against illegal Israeli settlements.
The Israeli troops reportedly attacked Barghouthi and other participants in the ceremony before taking him into custody.
Barghouthi was appointed by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in December last year to replace Ziad Abu Ein, who lost his life as he participated in a similar tree planting event.
Abu Ein died on December 10, 2014, after Israeli soldiers hit him with the butts of their weapons and their helmets in the village of Turmusayya.
Following the incident, Abbas condemned “the brutal assault that led to the martyrdom” of Abu Ein, calling it “a barbaric act that cannot be tolerated or accepted.”
Thousands of Palestinians stage weekly rallies to denounce the Israeli settlement activities and the separation wall, which has isolated large swathes of Palestinian territory. The wall will be approximately 700 kilometers (430 miles) upon completion.
In a non-binding advisory opinion delivered in 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague called on Tel Aviv to stop the construction of the illegal separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories.
International criticism is growing against Israel’s settlement activities. The international community regards all Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.
Israel occupied and then annexed the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in the Six-Day War of 1967, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.
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