On the arrest of the General Secretary of the Abnaa elBalad movement, Comrade Muhammad Kana'ane, of the central committee member Comrade Husam Kana'ane and the editorial secretary of the elJeel elJadeed magazine Comrade Sahar 'Abdu.
To the Prime Minister of Israel:
We the undersigned have been informed of the following facts:
At 4am Saturday morning, February 7, 2004, a large group of Israeli police, border guards and security services raided the home of the general secretary of the Abnaa elBalad movement, Muhammad As'ad Kana'ane (Abu-As'ad) in the Galilean township of 'Arabe. After a thorough search of the house, they confiscated the computer and documents belonging to the Abnaa elBalad movement and to the "elBalad cultural association". In the process of the search, they deliberately caused a great deal of damage to the family's belongings. Their behaviour terrorised the young children and they even physically manhandled Abu-As'ad's wife and children. They also searched and confiscated the cars of Muhammad Kana'ane and his brother Husam Kana'ane, a central committee member. They also confiscated their mobile phones and then arrested the two
The same forces also attacked the office of Abnaa elBalad's in 'Arabe, smashed through the main door and the internal doors, confiscated the computer and some documents, after terrorising to the neighbours.
At the same time, another force of 10 plainclothes policemen and security service officers carried out another raid in the port city of Haifa. They seized political bureau member Yoav Bar from his home, and searched the Abnaa elBalad club and the centre of the "elBalad cultural association", where they caused a great deal of damage, smashing furniture, throwing books, magazines and documents onto the floor and stamping on them. They tore down posters from the walls, and stamped and jumped on the pictures of Palestinian victims of the Israeli occupation. They even poured garbage, oil and cleaning fluids on the piles of books and magazines on the floor. While they were doing all this, they threatened Bar with administrative arrest and expressed their deep desire to shoot him dead on the spot. After more than an hour the police went away, confiscating the computers, the archives and many other documents.
At the same day, at about 7pm, Sahar 'Abdu, the editorial secretary of the elJeel elJadeed magazine, was arrested by the Israeli Police while on her way back from a visit to Jordan.
An hour later, at 8pm, at the court of 'Aka (Acre), the judge extended the arrest of comrades Abu-As'ad and Husam for a further ten days. They have not been allowed to see a lawyer, and all the evidence has been kept "secret".
Abnaa elBalad is a legal political organization of the Palestinians working within the borders of Israel established in 1948. It acts to defend the daily rights of the Palestinian people against racist oppression, and calls for a democratic solution to the Palestinian problem through the establishment of a democratic state in the whole of historic Palestine.
The Israeli authorities wish to criminalise Abnaa el-Balad because of its Arab nationalism. Although we do not necessarily agree with their views, we defend their democratic right to put forward their views and to campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people. The arrest of these leaders is only part of an ongoing campaign waged by the Israeli authorities and their friends in the media to outlaw parties and groups in Israel that express opposition to the oppression of the Palestinian people within the 1967 occupied lands and inside Israel itself. It is part of a more general attack on anyone who defends the rights of ordinary Palestinian people. It is also part of a class war against both the working class Jews and Arabs. The idea is to tar anyone who opposes them with the label of “terrorism”. Today Abnaa el-Balad is under attack. Tomorrow other dissident groups will be open to attack, including dissident Jewish trade union activists and socialists.
Based on this information regardless of our opinion about their political proposals, we demand an end to the persecution of Abnaa elBalad members, and we call for the release of those who have been detained.
The Email and phone numbers of the Prime Minister of Israel are: