A court hearing was held in Ashkelon, Israel Tuesday to extend the detention of four Palestinians with Israeli citizenship captured by Israeli forces on a humanitarian aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip, including two Sheikhs.
The four prominent Israeli citizens are Sheikh Raed Salah, the Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (north); Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabes, the Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (south); Mr. Muhammed Zeidan, the Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; and Ms. Lubna Masarwa of the Free Gaza Movement and Al Quds University.
These four individuals were arrested from the Marmara boat, part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was attacked by the Israeli navy Monday morning. The four Israelis will be represented by Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Orna Kohn.
While the nearly 700 foreign activists who were on the ships will be deported, according to Israeli sources, it is unclear what will happen to the four prominent Israeli citizens who were part of the flotilla. Although Israel has continued to refuse to release information about who, among the aid workers, was killed or injured by Israeli forces during their attack, Israeli officials confirmed that none of the four Israelis were killed or injured.
After the Israeli attack, and subsequent media and communications blackout implemented by the Israeli military, rumors floated that Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah had been killed or injured, but Salah appeared at his court appearance unharmed on Tuesday afternoon.
Palestinians inside Israel make up 20% of the population of what is now Israel, and Israeli officials have called these Palestinians with Israeli citizenship a ‘demographic threat’ whose growth rate threatens the ‘Jewish character’ of the Israeli state. Recent legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset calls for the expulsion of any Palestinian-Israeli who is considered to have loyalties to anything other than the Jewish state, and some legislators and Cabinet members have called for required ‘loyalty oaths’ by these indigenous residents of what is now Israel.