Israel arrests another Palestinian lawmaker

Story highlights

  • Israel says the lawmaker was arrested for security questioning
  • It was the 5th arrest of a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmaker in the past week
  • A Palestinian lawmaker calls it a "war on Palestinian democracy"
  • An Israeli police spokesman says lawmakers are "not immune from the law"
Israeli security forces stormed the West Bank home of a Palestinian parliament member affiliated with Hamas on Tuesday morning.
It was the latest in a series of high-profile arrests of Palestinian officials involved with Hamas.
Israeli military personnel arrested Abdul Jabbar Fuqaha, a Palestinian lawmaker from the change and reform party bloc, which is affiliated with Hamas.
An Israeli military spokesman said Fuqaha was arrested for questioning on security matters.
Independent Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti characterized the arrests as an "act of war."
"This is an Israeli war on Palestinian democracy, because regaining Palestinian unity and reconvening the Palestinian parliament session would mean regaining Palestinian democracy," Barghouti said.
Tuesday's arrest brings to five the number of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmakers arrested by Israel in the past week.
On Monday, Israeli authorities arrested two Palestinian lawmakers at the east Jerusalem headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross where they had been holed up for a year and a half staging an open-ended sit-in to protest Israeli revocation of their Jerusalem residency.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that the two have been "arrested on suspicion of involvement with Hamas" adding that they were "not immune from the law."
Sabri Saidam, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told CNN, "It is impossible for the free world to see a state claiming to be wanting peace by attending talks in Amman while kidnapping legitimate parliament representatives and elective members of the Palestinian society... This act is a demonstration of the real wish of the Israeli government to cripple any efforts in the direction of achieving a lasting peace in the region."
Last week, Israel arrested two Palestinian Legislative Council members in the West Bank, Aziz Dweik and Khaled Tafesh Dweib, for what the Israeli military said was involvement in terrorist activity.
Tuesday an Israeli military court sentenced Dweik, who served as speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, to six months in administrative detention -- a process that allows the Israeli military to hold suspects without charge.
The militant wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis and others. The U.S. government and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization. Hamas is a political party in the Palestinian territories.
Due to political divisions between Palestinian political factions, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not met since 2007.