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Report: Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians in August 2017

Sept. 17, 2017 2:11 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2017 4:52 P.M.)
(AFP/Jack Guez)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians, including 130 minors and 16 women, in August 2017, according to a joint report released by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, prisoners' rights group Addameer, and the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

According to a translation of the report by Palestinian prisoners' solidarity network Samidoun, 194 Palestinians were arrested from Jerusalem, 70 from Hebron, 50 from Ramallah, 45 from Nablus, 38 from Bethlehem, 33 from Jenin, 27 from Tulkarem, 24 from Qalqilya, 19 from Salfit, 11 from Jericho, seven from Tubas, and four from the Gaza Strip.

The total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached 6,300 prisoners, 64 of them women. Among them are 10 girls under the age of 18 and 300 underage boys, 450 administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial, and 12 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian parliament, the report said.

Over the month of August, 134 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinians -- 61 of them new orders and 73 renewals, as administrative detention orders, which based on undisclosed evidence, are indefinitely renewable.

The joint report highlighted recent arrests of Palestinian activists, noting that Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, approved by the UN General Assembly in 1998, stipulates that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.”

On Aug. 23, Israeli forces detained Salah Hamouri, a field researcher for Addameer and duel Palestinian-French national. Hamouri, who has was previously imprisoned by Israel but released in a prisoners' exchange deal in 2011, was first issued a six-month administrative detention order after his detention last month.

However, an Israeli court later ordered Hamouri to serve the remainder of his prison sentence from which he was released in 2011, approximately three months. The prosecution appealed this sentence, and his six-month administrative detention order was reinstated.

The Palestinian institutions also condemned the Israeli policy of carrying out "extrajudicial killings" against Palestinians during military detention raids, highlighting the case of Raed al-Salhi, who was shot several times at close range by Israeli forces who allegedly sought to detain the 22-year-old in al-Duheisha refugee camp on Aug. 9. Al-Salhi succumbed to his critical injuries in an Israeli hospital weeks later.

"The policy of field executions and shooting to kill is not a surprising action committed by individuals, but is instead a deliberate and systematic policy approve at the highest levels of the occupying power," the report said.

Israel has been widely condemned for implementing the "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians since a wave of unrest peaked in fall 2015. The report emphasized that human rights organizations have been monitoring and documenting cases in which Israeli forces "(shoot) at the upper body with intent to kill during demonstrations and confrontations that broke out in most of the occupied Palestinian territories."

"The occupation did not hesitate to use this method even during the implementation of its arrest raids and invasions carried out by the army in Palestinian camps, villages and cities," the report said, referring in particular to al-Salhi's killing, which it called a "war crime under international law."

Meanwhile, over the course of the month of August, Israeli courts issued sentences against 39 Palestinian minors and imposed heavy fines on underage prisoners, amounting to more than 110,000 shekels ($31,200), the report highlighted.

"The Palestinian institutions consider that the imposition of excessive financial burdens on child prisoners is a major constraint on the future of the child, a form of collective punishment and a major burden amid the prevailing state of poverty, which affects and violates other human rights for themselves and their families," the report read.

The human rights groups said they documented 59 Palestinian children had been taken to Israel's Ofer prison in August. Of these, 40 were arrested from their homes, 10 from off of the street, three at military checkpoints, four after being summoned to appear for interrogation, and two for lack of possession of work permits.

Furthermore, four children were arrested after being shot and 13 more were injured. "They were beaten and harassed during their arrest and taken to interrogation centers," the report said, adding that sentences issued against minors in August ranged from one month to 32 months.

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