Around 470 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip last month, said three Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on Monday. "The detainees included 50 minors and 11 women," said a joint report on Monday issued by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees, the Palestinian Prisoner Society, and the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. "A total of 162 residents of occupied east Jerusalem were among those arrested," the report said. According to the report, 220 minors and 38 women are still being held in Israeli prisons.
Israeli treatment of Palestinian children in military detention has become a major area of concern for the international community. International human rights groups have heavily criticized Israel's handling of Palestinian teen hero Ahed Tamimi, placing the Israeli military court system that Palestinian youth face on the West Bank under scrutiny. According to a report released last July by the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, there was a 30% increase in the number of children arrested when compared to the same period in 2017 when 380 children were arrested by Israeli forces.
"Currently, there are 7,500 prisoners in Israeli jails," the NGOs said, adding that 500 Palestinians are currently being held under Israel's policy of "administrative detention," under which prisoners can be held for renewable six-month periods without charge or trial. The policy of administrative detention was first established by British colonial forces during the British Mandate period (1923-1948) in Palestine. More than 200 Palestinians have lost their lives in Israeli prisons since 1967 as a result of torture, lack of medical care or gunshot wounds, Palestinian human rights organizations announced in 2018. In a joint statement, Palestinian Prisoners' Association, Prisoners of Conscience and Human Rights Protection Organization said 216 Palestinians have lost their lives in the Israeli prisons since 1967, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). Among them seven were shot, 72 others were tortured to death and 59 lost their lives due to lack of medical care. The statement highlighted the fact that Palestinians in Israeli prisoners were being subjected to "inhumane" treatment, including physical and psychological torture. Some 60 % of the prisoners have suffered "brutal physical assaults." The statement also urged U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to launch a special committee to probe Palestinian deaths in Israeli prisons.
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