Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

500% Increase In Palestinians Detained By Israeli Occupation Without Trial In 2015

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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have issued 319 administrative detention orders for Palestinians since the beginning of 2015, a rights group said Friday, six times as many as they did the previous year.The statistics, released by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Center for Studies, suggests a massive increase in Israel’s incarceration of Palestinians without charge or trial despite repeated promises to limit the practice in line with international norms.Spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said Friday that 45 new administrative detention orders had been issued in the first three months of 2015, in addition to the renewal of the detention of 274 others. Some of those detentions had been previously renewed up to six times, for periods between two and six months.

Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence that led to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.

The total figure of 319 represents a 500 percent increase over the same three-month period in 2014, which saw only 51 administrative detention orders issued.

Of the total, 109 were issued in January, 89 in February, and 121 were issued in March. 133 of the orders, or nearly 42 percent, targeted individuals from the Hebron district.

The report comes nearly a year after around 125 Palestinians in Israeli prison launched a nearly two-month hunger strike against Israel’s failure to end the practice of administrative detention.

In 2012, Israeli authorities said they would limit the practice as part of an agreement to end a hunger strike of more then 2,000 Palestinian prisoners at the time.

Despite this, Israeli failed to uphold the agreement and the practice continues until this day.

Spike in detentions in summer 2014

In October, Israeli human rights organization B’tselem warned that the number of Palestinians in administrative detention had soared to 470, the highest number in five years and triple the figure only a year before.

The largest number of administrative detentions came in the wake of the massive Israeli “Operation Brother’s Keeper” against Hamas members in the West Bank in June 2014, during which more than 1,000 people were rounded up.

Nearly a dozen were killed and more than 120 were injured during the raids, whose alleged purpose was to find those responsible for the abduction of three Israeli teenagers taken near the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

The men responsible for the abduction, who had only tenuous links to Hamas and who appeared to have acted independently, were later found, but the hundreds of people rounded up in the weeks before were not released as a result.

Critics charged that Israel used the excuse of the abduction to launch a witch hunt against Hamas in the West Bank, which drove a wedge between Fatah and Hamas and refilled Israeli jails with Palestinian prisoners.

Further arrests were carried out in July and August 2014, when hundreds were held amid widespread protests against Israel’s bloody assault on Gaza. Rights groups said at least 250 Gazans were also arrested during that time during Israel’s brief land invasion.

Large numbers of those arrested have since been kept in the Israeli prison through renewals of administrative detentions, leaving them locked in jail with no chance of release or a fair trial.

Statistics released by Israeli military courts in the West Bank in 2011 showed that they approved 98.77 percent of all requests to extend the detention of Palestinian prisoners being held without charge or trial.

99.74 percent of Palestinians brought before them were convicted of their crimes, meanwhile, a statistic that many watchdogs say underlines the lack of justice for those tried in the Israeli military courts.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Center for Studies urged the Palestinian Authority to present an urgent case against Israel in the International Criminal Court, which Palestine joined earlier this week.

Spokesman al-Ashqar argued that “misusing administrative detention is considered a war crime against Palestinians.”

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Author: OccPalGaza

Blogging from Gaza-current events, news and actions against the Occupation.

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