'Israel looking to deport hunger-striking prisoner'

Israeli official tells the 'Post' Israel ready to deport Palestinian Essawi to EU or UN country, but prisoner has refused.

By
April 13, 2013 22:43
1 minute read.
Samer Essawi after being sentenced, February 21, 2013.

Samer Isssawi, hunger-striker 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)

 
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Israel would deport Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi to any country that would accept him, an official told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.

Issawi has already refused an offer to be released to the Gaza Strip, the official added.

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In the past few weeks, representatives from the European Union and the United Nations separately approached the Prime Minister’s Office, via National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, expressing concern about Issawi’s health because of his hunger strike, the official said.

Israel told the EU and UN officials, “If you are concerned about him, we are happy for you to take responsibility for him,” according to the Israeli official.

Israel then told the EU it would release Issawi, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to any EU member state that would accept him, the official said.

It similarly told the UN it would deport Issawi to any UN member state that would agree to have him live there, the official said.

There has been no response to the offer, the official said.

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An EU spokesman responded by stating that Israel had not made a formal application to the EU on this matter.

The Israeli official said the proposal to deport Issawi was made in working conversations between officials of Israel and the EU.

Isawwi’s attorney could not be reached for comment on Saturday night.

Samer was arrested in 2002 as part of Operation Defensive Shield during the second intifada and given a 26-year sentence for terrorist activities. He was released in 2011, as part of the Gilad Schalit deal, and rearrested in 2012 for violating the terms of his release.

According to Physicians for Human Rights, he has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days.

Isawwi’s is one of four security prisoners in Israeli jails on a hunger strike. Their cause has been publicized by activists and by Palestinian officials, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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