Bethlehem /PNN /
The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission monitored more than 135,000 arrests of Palestinians by the Israeli authroties since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.
The commission said that these arrests affected all sectors of Palestinian society; including children, women, and the elderly.
In a report issued on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the commission said among those cases, nearly 21000 cases of minor arrests were recorded, in addition to the arrest of half the members of the Legislative Council, a number of ministers, hundreds of academics, journalists, and workers in civil society organizations and international institutions.
The report said that more than 2,600 Palestinian girls and women were arrested, including four women who gave birth in prison under harsh and difficult conditions.
The Commission recorded a remarkable increase in administrative detention decisions. It said the Israeli occupation authorities issued more than 32000 administrative detention orders since the outbreak of the Intifada, including new and renewed orders.
The occupation authorities are still detaining around 5,200 Palestinian prisoners in their prisons and detention centers, including 38 females, around 170 children, over 1,250 administrative detainees, and 700 sick prisoners suffering from various health issues, including 24 cases suffering from cancer said the commission.
Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.
Over the years, Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy which violates international law.
The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem described this policy as such: “Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time. While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defense against undisclosed allegations. Nevertheless, courts uphold the vast majority of orders.”