25 November 2020 – Letter on the Plight of Mohammed el Halabi


I write to you to convey the somber letter and urgent appeal of a Palestinian father in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Khalil el Halabi, regarding the plight of his son, Mohammed el Halabi, who has been held captive by Israel, the occupying Power, since June 2016, imprisoned without any evidence of the charges brought against him and enduring forced interrogations and torture aimed at pressuring a confession from him for a crime he did not commit. Mohammed has long engaged in humanitarian work in support of his people was the recipient of a UN Humanitarian Hero award in 2014 in recognition, inter alia, for his tireless work with Palestinian children in Gaza who have been afflicted with cancer, and is recognized widely for his humanitarian efforts.

I share this letter with you at the request of his father, urgently appealing for any advocacy and action that can help to address Mohammed’s plight and facilitate his release from Israeli prison. I also take this opportunity to reiterate the Palestinian leadership’s abiding call for the release of all Palestinian children, women and men that are being unlawfully detained and imprisoned by Israel, the occupying Power, including administrative detainees, and for urgent attention in particular to the most vulnerable of the prisoners, including children, the sick and elderly and especially in this time of global pandemic, and urge the international community’s mobilization in this regard.

I would be grateful if you could bring my letter and the annexed letter of Dr. el Halabi to the attention of the Members of the Security Council for their urgent consideration.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration

                                                    Dr. Riyad Mansour

                                                    Minister, Permanent Observer Mission of the

                                                    State of Palestine to the United Nations

To:  Members of the UN General Assembly

Members of the UN Security Council,

By way of Dr. Riyad Mansour

Permanent representative of the State of Palestine to the UN

I am writing to you in regards to the case of my son, the engineer Mohammad Khalil Al Halabi who has been unjustly held in Israeli jails since June 15th 2016. He has been presented at 152 sessions of Israeli courts in one of the longest courts known without any proof being presented publicly against him.  Even his lawyer is not allowed to see what they claim is the reason for his arrest.  What the Israelis say publicly that he diverted money from the organization he was working for World Vision has been refuted by reputable governmental agencies of the Australian government who was the main donor and by the world’s leading audit companies.

My son was tortured for two months as the Israeli interrogators tried to extract a confession from him and as a result, he has lost 40% of his ability to hear. The torture included putting a dirty bag over his head and forcing him to sit for a long time while preventing him from food and sleep. He was held in an isolated room 25cmx25cm with his hands handcuffed behind his back. He was threatened with rape and he was subject to loud music. All to force him to confess to a crime he has never committed.

World Vision and the Australian government conducted intensive investigations of the alleged crime and found no proof of any irregularity in his work and both have condemned his continued arrest as has most international organizations including the OCHA which produced a very strong statement calling for his immediate release.

His lawyer has told the media that the Israelis know he is innocent but they are not willing to climb down the tree that they had ascended to so as not to be embarrassed and the result is this prolonged never-ending court delays. My son could have been released a long time if he plead guilty but he refuses to plead guilty to a crime he never committed.

Mohammad Al Halabi has been honored for his work by President Arafat and has received your own UN’s Humanitarian Hero Award in 2014 for his tireless work with cancer children in Gaza and his relentless effort to try and ease the humanitarian disaster to the people of Gaza.

I hope that this letter can be distributed to all member states and that my son’s name is publicly mentioned by all including His Excellency the Secretary General, perhaps that could force the Israeli government to agree to release him and end this long and unjust detention of an innocent man.

Finally, my message to the Israeli government: this is not the way to make a just peace. A peace that will allow our children to live in peace. We are seekers of a just peace and a just solution to our cause which requires that the issue of prisoners is addressed.

Dr. Khalil el Halabi


November 25th 2020