Israel arrested 1,300 Palestinians in two months, rights groups say

According to a new report, Israel arrested 1,319 Palestinians in January and February. Of them, 274 are minors, 23 are women, and four are journalists.

Illustrative photo of Border Police officers arresting a Palestinian. (Oren Ziv/
Illustrative photo of Border Police officers arresting a Palestinian. (Oren Ziv/

The Israeli army arrested 1,319 Palestinians during the months of January and February, according to a new report released Wednesday by various Palestinian prisoners rights groups. Of the 1,319 arrested, 274 are minors, 23 are women, and four are journalists.

The report culls data from various organizations, including the Prisoners and Liberties Affairs Association, the Palestinian Prisoner Club, Addameer, and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and includes a geographic distribution of those arrested: 381 from Jerusalem, 30 from the Gaza Strip, and the rest from the West Bank (with more than 200 of those arrested hailing from the Ramallah area).

According to the report, close to 6,500 Palestinians, including administrative detainees, are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails. Of those, 350 are children, and 63 are female, including six female minors. Since the beginning of the year, Israel has issued 169 administrative detention orders — 50 of which were new, rather than renewed terms for Palestinians already in administrative detention. The total number of prisoners in administrative detention is close to 500.

The report highlights two particularly violent arrests that constitute severe violations of basic human rights. The first is the case of Yassin Al-Saradih, a 30-year-old resident of Jericho who died in IDF hands after being severely beaten, and possibly shot, and denied medical treatment. The second is that of Ismail Abu Riale, an 18-year-old fisherman from Gaza who was shot to death by the Israeli navy and whose body was held by Israel for 12 days. According to Palestinian human rights organizations, Israel has killed 213 prisoners since 1967, including 72 prisoners who died of injuries sustained from torture.

Human rights abuses do not cease when Palestinians are arrested. Addameer’s report records testimonies of Palestinians who were subject to body-cavity searches, denied medical treatment, imprisoned in crowded cells (especially in women’s prisons), served nutritionally inadequate foods, and were physically and psychologically abused. The authors of the report demand that the United Nations investigate Israel’s systematic human rights abuses that violate the Geneva Convention.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.