Israeli Forces Kidnap 200 Palestinians in One Week
Israeli occupation forces have come under intense scrutiny as Palestinian human rights groups report a sharp increase in aggression and kidnappings in the occupied West Bank. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS), nearly 200 Palestinians have been kidnapped in the past week alone.
The reported kidnappings occurred in several cities across the occupied West Bank, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin. The PPS issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the actions of Israeli occupation forces, highlighting the extensive material damage caused during house raids. In numerous instances, families have been left shattered as multiple members were kidnapped. The Israeli forces targeted families of slain Palestinians, university students, and even children.
Abuse of Administrative Detention
The PPS emphasized that the use of administrative detention, a controversial practice that allows Israel to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable periods of up to six months, has been on the rise. This practice has particularly affected a new generation of Palestinians, including minors, and former prisoners who had previously spent years in Israeli jails.
One alarming aspect highlighted by the PPS is the overcrowding in detention and interrogation centers. Detainees are being held in cramped conditions, with some being subjected to horrific treatment. Etzion and Huwara detention centers were singled out as among the worst prisons, where detainees are allegedly held in inhumane conditions.
The PPS also noted a discrepancy between the Israeli Supreme Court’s guidelines on prisoner accommodations and the current reality on the ground. The court’s decision mandates a maximum of six prisoners per cell, but many cells are now housing nine prisoners.
The dire situation is exacerbated by the overall number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody. Palestinian figures estimate that around 4,780 Palestinian detainees, including nearly 160 children and 29 females, are currently held by Israel. Shockingly, the PPS reported that over 5,000 Palestinians have been kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of this year.
The Israeli occupation military justifies its actions by claiming they are essential for security reasons and preventing attacks on Israelis. However, Palestinian activists and human rights groups see these kidnappings as arbitrary measures, tantamount to collective punishment. They assert that Israel is employing such tactics to suppress Palestinian resistance to its occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories.
The escalating campaign of kidnappings comes at a time of heightened tensions. Disputes have arisen over various issues, including the expansion of Israeli settlements, forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem, attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians and property, and the imposition of restrictions on Palestinian access to holy sites in Jerusalem.