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Hamas arrests three local activists after Gaza ‘bike for peace’ ride

Elhanan Miller
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Published: 2 July 2019

Last updated: 4 March 2024

HAMAS SECURITY FORCES have arrested three members of the Gaza Youth Committee, including the group’s leader, and are holding them incommunicado for a week.

The arrests followed a bicycle marathon held in Gaza on June 21, calling on Israel to end its siege of the Gaza Strip. A solidarity bike ride took place on the Israeli side of the border, as well as in other international locations.

A statement published by the group on July 1 reported that Muhammed Matter, Alaa Qaddom and group leader Rami Aman were arrested on June 25 and are still being held by Hamas security with no information on their condition or whereabouts. The organisation -- and Aman personally -- have been accused by Hamas media of “normalisation” with Israel due to the coordinated peace activity, as well as a Skype conversation held between Gazan and Israeli activists following the event.

“The Gaza Youth Committee received permission from Tawfiq Abu Naim (head of Gaza’s internal security force) for the marathon,” the statement read. “They accuse them of tricking the Palestinian security and engaging in normalisation with the ‘Zionist enemy’.”

A spokesman for the group declined to comment further for fear of harming the safety of the three detained men.

Clashing with Hamas’ bellicose stance on Israel, the Gaza Youth Committee has called for a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza. The group carries out training in nonviolence and has initiated a letter-writing campaign to international activists. Its members also hold regular Skype calls with Israeli citizens across the border to promote peace.

Aman has been called in for questioning by Hamas numerous times in the past. On March 20, he was arrested and questioned for eight hours by local security following a cross-border Skype call that included 200 Israelis.

Israelis and Gazans negotiate political potholes to bicycle for peace

Photo: Start of the bike ride on June 21

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