Around 2,800 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year, according to three Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) yesterday, revealing the ongoing systematic violations of human rights. The detainees included 446 minors and 76 women, said a joint report issued by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees, the Palestinian Prisoner Society and Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
According to the report, 220 minors and 43 women are still held in Israeli prisons.
"Currently, there are 5,500 prisoners in Israeli jails," the nongovernmental organizations said, adding that 500 Palestinians are currently held under Israel's policy of administrative detention, under which prisoners can be held for renewable six-month periods without charge or trial.
Israeli forces frequently carry out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem on the pretext of searching for "wanted" Palestinians.
Israeli treatment of Palestinian children in military detention has become a major area of concern for the international community.
According to a report released by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights earlier this month, hundreds of Palestinian children have been subjected to Israeli violence since the Great March of Return protests started last year, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators converged on the buffer zone separating Gaza from Israel. During the same period, 17 children were detained by Israeli forces during protests. Israel has responded to the rallies, still held every Friday, with deadly force, killing more than 220 Palestinians and injuring thousands more.
Israel was criticized by a U.N. human rights body for its killing of protesters in Gaza and for its treatment of Palestinians, declaring it a "war crime" under the Statute of Rome. The high casualty toll triggered a diplomatic backlash against Israel and new charges of excessive use of force against unarmed protesters.
Israeli violence has continued amid years of diplomatic paralysis, diminishing hopes for peace and escalating Palestinian frustration with the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump. Roughly 10,000 children have been detained by Israeli security forces since 2000 and subjected to military court proceedings.
International human rights groups have heavily criticized Israel's handling of Palestinian teen hero Ahed Tamimi, placing under scrutiny the Israeli military court system that Palestinian youth face in the West Bank. Tamimi was freed after an eight-month detention, but some 270 Palestinian children continue to be imprisoned and are subjected to poor treatment by Israeli jailers.
According to a report released last July by the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, there was a 30 percent increase in the number of children arrested when compared to the same period in 2017 when 380 children were arrested by Israeli forces.