Dirar Abu Sisi, the 43-year-old deputy engineer of the only power plant in the Gaza Strip, went on a one-day hunger strike Thursday to protest against being held in solitary confinement by Israel. His fast marks the latest episode in a mysterious story of abduction and torture.
In February 2011, Abu Sisi traveled to Ukraine, his wife Veronika’s native country, to seek citizenship after Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s winter 2008-09 attack on the Gaza Strip, made him fear for the safety of their six children. On 18 February, he boarded an overnight train from Kharkiv to Kiev, hoping to meet his brother Yousef, a resident of the Netherlands, for the first time in 15 years.
But he never reached Kiev. During the night, three men, two of them wearing Ukrainian military uniforms, boarded his compartment, flashed a badge from the Security Service of Ukraine, and demanded that Abu Sisi leave with them. At around 1am, they forced him off the train.
“My last contact with Dirar was immediately before his disappearance, the night of 18 February 2011 at about 10:30 in Palestine,” Veronika told The Electronic Intifada. “The next day, my brother-in-law later told me that Dirar’s phone was ringing, but there was no answer, and we should inform the Ukrainian authorities and the Palestinian embassy that he was missing. I immediately flew to Kiev to look for him.”
Her plane may have passed her husband’s in the air. By the end of 19 February, Abu Sisi was held in the isolation unit of an Israeli jail near Petah Tikva, 76 kilometers from Gaza and more than 2,000 from Kiev. more
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of protesters gathered in Jerusalem's Old City and the Gaza Strip on Friday, as regional protests continued against an anti-Islam video produced in the US.
Around 400 protesters left Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque and tried to march towards the US consulate, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
Israeli forces prevented protesters reaching the consulate, blocking the rally at Damascus Gate using stun grenades. Four people were detained, Rosenfeld told Ma'an.
Hundreds gathered in cities across the Gaza Strip on Friday, after Hamas and Islamic Jihad called for demonstrations against the video for its insult to the prophet.
Jihad leader Abu Tariq al-Mdalal said the protests "send a message to the whole world condemning this attack against our prophet... we call on the Arab world to use all its abilities to respond to this attack, and to close the (Israeli) and US embassies." more
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPPS) reported, Thursday, that detainee Hasan Safady was moved to the Assaf Harofeh Israeli hospital after his health condition witnessed a sharp deterioration following 85 days of continuous hunger strike.
Amani Sarahna, spokesperson of the PPS, stated that the health condition of Safady is dangerously deteriorating, and added that the Prison Administration called his lawyer after he refused to talk vitamins and even liquids.
She added that Sarahna agreed, on Thursday, to take liquids, but refused medications and vitamins.
Safady was kidnapped by the army more than six months ago, and was placed until solitary confinement without any charges. more