Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ongoing arrest campaign brings total Palestinians in jail to 5,700


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained 39 Palestinians in overnight raids across the West Bank on Saturday morning, bringing the number of prisoners in Israeli jails to 5,700 amid the widest deployment of Israel forces in the region since the Second Intifada.

Around 370 Palestinians have been detained just in the past week as part of an arrest campaign carried out by Israel with Palestinian Authority coordination that began after the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion.

Former minister of prisoner affairs Issa Qaraqe said on Saturday that he expects the numbers of detentions to rapidly increase in the coming days, as the campaign shows no signs of abating.

At a lecture organized by the Youth Council of Bethlehem, Qaraqe said that the number of Palestinians being held without charge or trial had jumped to 260 detainees in recent days, while the number of minors being detained had hit 241.

Qaraqe added that 75 of the newly detained are former prisoners who were released in the 2011 prisoner swap that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinians.

Qaraqe said that "re-sentencing prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal is a form of immoral and illegal revenge, an offense to Egypt who sponsored the deal, and collective punishment that is against the human and legal rights of prisoners."

Around two-thirds of those detained in recent days have been members of the Palestinian political party Hamas, which Israel accuses of being behind what it calls the kidnapping of the youths. more