Three Palestinian Peace Activists In Gaza Face Prison For Holding A Video Call With Israelis

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Three Palestinian Peace Activists In Gaza Face Prison For Holding A Video Call With Israelis

Photo: Hamas security forces in Gaza in June. Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Palestinian authorities have charged three Palestinian peace activists for holding a peace call on Zoom with fellow peace activists in Israel.

The Gaza Youth Committee organised what was called 'Skype With Your Enemy', a campaign to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis. Over 200 people both in Israel and Palestine are thought to have taken part. The organisers, have now been charged by the Hamas led authorities of "weakening revolutionary spirit".

If convicted, they could face years in prison and hard labour. It is currently forbidden by law for Palestinians in the Gaza strip to interact with Israelis except in very specific circumstances, such as medical care or legal proceedings.

The charges have been heavily criticised by human rights groups. Omar Shakir, of Human Rights Watch, said that the Hamas decision to charge the three was outrageous and stated that the incident:

"Is part of a pattern of Hamas authorities arbitrarily arresting activists for their peaceful free expression. The fact that they are now prosecuting them after more than five months of detention compounds this injustice."

Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, added his fury at the decision that some of those charged may face judgement in a military court, he said:

"The natural court for civilians is a civilian court. Period."

Rami Aman, leader of the Gaza Youth committee and the instigator of the event, said that it was vitally important that normal people on both sides of the conflict get a chance to meet each other face-to-face to discuss their everyday lives, their common struggles, and their desire for peace.

He went on to state his belief that only through this common dialogue would it be possible to end conflict and create a mutual peace that will be to the benefit of both nations.

Palestinian authorities, particularly those in the Gaza strip run by Hamas, are of the firm view that showing any weakness to the Israelis will only result in the further diminishment of Palestinian rights. Indeed, the Israelis are continuing to annex much of the West Bank in violation of international law despite the outcry of peaceful Palestinian activists.

The recent normalisation of ties between Israel and Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has further strengthened Palestine's view that they are being forgotten and that they may soon be wiped off the map entirely.

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Thinking Humanity: Three Palestinian Peace Activists In Gaza Face Prison For Holding A Video Call With Israelis
Three Palestinian Peace Activists In Gaza Face Prison For Holding A Video Call With Israelis
The Palestinian authorities have charged three Palestinian peace activists for holding a peace call on Zoom with fellow peace activists in Israel.
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