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Al Mezan calls for an investigation into the detention of the PA’s Minister of Public Works and Housing upon return to Gaza and for rule of law

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18 June 2021 |Reference 60/2021

On Thursday afternoon, 17 June 2021, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mohammed Ziyara, was reportedly detained by members of Gaza’s Internal Security Apparatus upon his return to the Gaza Strip through Erez crossing. 


The 64-year-old minister, who is a resident of Al-Rimal neighborhood, west Gaza City, told Al Mezan that some officers identified themselves as members of the Internal Security Apparatus when they stopped the car carrying him back into Gaza. He said, “one of the officers told me to step out of the car for interrogation. He threatened that he would not let me pass if I did not comply with his order, but I refused. I explained to him that I had diplomatic immunity, but he told me that I was being treated as a regular citizen and that I lacked authorization to perform my duties as the Minister of Public Works and Housing in Gaza. Almost three hours later, I left the car to pray. Then, at around 5:50 pm, I was allowed to pass.”


In a press statement from Gaza’s Ministry of Interior denying the allegation, the Ministry’s spokesperson said, “Mr. Ziyara was not detained by our security apparatus. He was welcomed to the office of Gaza’s crossing director, where he performed the evening prayer, then continued his trip back to Gaza. There is no truth to the circulating news claiming he was detained.”


Al Mezan expresses concern about the incident and calls on the competent authorities to investigate it and hold accountable law enforcement personnel if there has been a breach of law. Effective measures must be applied to deter the recurrence of similar incidents, notably when diplomats and public figures who enjoy diplomatic immunity are involved. 


Al Mezan also reiterates its calls for ending the internal political division and the duality of the political system in view of restoring the rule of law and the primacy of democratic values to Palestine.