21 Palestinians arrested on Thursday by occupation forces

Clashes in East Jerusalem and northern Israel as tensions worsenThe following news is reprinted from the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC):

Israeli forces took into their custody, early Thursday, 4 December, 21 Palestinians, including six minors, from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, according to security sources and a human rights center. Further abuse of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons has been documented.

According to Wadi Hilweh Information Center, police detained Mahmoud Abu Ghazaleh, 72, and his son, ‘Ali, 29, for several hours after breaking into their house in the as-Suwani neighborhood in order to force his second son, Majdi, to turn himself in. Both Mahmoud and ‘Ali were released after Majdi turned himself in to police and was taken into custody.

Police also abducted minors Mu‘ath and Muhammad As-Salayma, Ashraf and Fares ‘Uwaisat, Saber ‘Ubaid, Muhammad Saleh, Majed Abu Nijma, ‘Omar Shwaiki and Ibrahim Abu Mayyala, after raiding the ath-Thawri neighborhood in the city, WAFA further reports.

Meanwhile, forces raided Tuqu‘ town, southeast of Bethlehem city, where they kidnapped seven Palestinians; Akram, 18, Muhammad Habes, 18, Muhammad ‘Adel, 18, and ‘Abed al-‘Amur, 20, as well as Ahmad, 18, and Muhammad Abu Mifreh, 19, after breaking into and ransacking their families’ houses.

Israeli forces also raided Beit Fajjar town, to the south of the city, where they took 24-year-old Hasan Thawabta, after breaking into and ransacking his house.

In the Jenin district, forces raided Zabda village to the southwest of the city, where they arrested Yousef ‘Amarna, 38, after breaking into and ransacking his family’s house. Forces raided the refugee camp while firing acoustic bombs and abducting Fathi al-Sa‘di, 20, after breaking into and ransacking his family’s house.

Forces also arrested two Palestinian youth in the Ramallah town of Dura al-Qar’ after raiding their families’ homes in the early dawn hours, according to the head of the town’s council Jabir Bajis.

They were identified as Nasim Mokhtar and Hassan Yasin.

Meanwhile, in the Hebron district, forces raided Tarqumiya town, taking Tamer and Rouhi Qabaja with them after breaking into and wreaking havoc on their store.

Several Palestinians Thursday suffocated by Israeli tear gas and three others were arrested as Israeli forces raided a town in Hebron, while a youth from Jenin was also arrested , said witnesses and security sources.

Forces raided Idhna town, to the west of Hebron, where they broke into a mobile store belonging to Fadi Farajallah, seizing several mobile devices worth INS 20,000 ($ 5,000) and arresting two of his relatives; Ahmad Abu Jheisha and Baker Farajallah.

Roadblocks were set up at the northern entrance of Halhul, the entrance of Idhna, and Zif-Yatta junction, where forces stopped vehicles with Palestinian-registered plates and inspected passengers’ ID cards.

Forces also broke into a computer repair and maintenance store belonging to Husni Bashir, ransacking it and seizing several computers. They arrested Husni’s brother, Khaled, 25, triggering clashes with local Palestinians.

Forces fired tear gas canisters, and several locals suffered from excessive gas inhalation.

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In related news, at least 10 Palestinian political prisoners incarcerated in the Israeli Nafha prison have been put in solitary confinement since last June, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) said, Thursday.

An attorney with the PPC said that he visited the prison to find that the 10 Palestinian political prisoners are isolated in foul-smelling, strictly sealed cells with no windows.

The cells are also aligned to others housing criminal inmates who frequently maltreat their political fellow inmates and verbally assault them.

PPC also reported on a severe shortage of sufficient warm winter clothes and blankets for the prisoners. Prison administration prohibits prisoners from bringing blankets and warm winter clothes from outside, but allows them to buy blankets from the prison’s canteen.

The blankets sold there are very expensive, very bad in quality and do not provide adequate warmth.

Israeli Prison Service (IPS) also restricts access to books and forces prisoners to remain handcuffed at the daily break time, PPC reported.

According to UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, solitary confinement “causes mental and physical suffering amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“Prison isolation fits the definition of torture as stated in several international human rights treaties, and thus constitutes a violation of human rights law. For example, the U.N. Convention Against Torture defines torture as any state-sanctioned act ‘by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person’ for information, punishment, intimidation, or for a reason based on discrimination,” said American friends Service Committee.

According to the Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, illegal, immoral and degrading practices are committed by the Israeli Prison Service against Palestinian inmates in Etzion detention facility in the southern West Bank, as well.

Hussein Sheikh, an attorney with the committee, said that around 50 Palestinian inmates currently incarcerated in Etzion, near Bethlehem, are frequently subjected to immoral and humiliating practice, including being forced to strip off clothes in front of other inmates, which constitutes a blatant violation of international law.

Mr. Sheikh added that prisoners are also forced to completely strip before and after trial.

The attorney also reported on other forms of maltreatment against prisoners by IPS, including the use of foil language against them during the count time in the morning and the evening.

Cases of physical abuse, solitary confinement, stripping off clothes in chilly night air, deprivation of food and water for hours, and denial of breaks were also reported.

Sheikh said that prisoners live under bad conditions in their cells, including poor sanitation, infestation of insects, in addition to the severe shortage of sufficient warm winter blankets, further aggravating their health conditions.

He called upon all human rights organizations for immediate intervention in stopping such crimes, as well as upholding their responsibility in this regard.

These statement came two weeks after a special report by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) revealed that hundreds of Palestinian minor inmates were subjected to sexual abuse by Israeli Prison Service.

The report stated that at least 600 Palestinian children were arrested in Jerusalem since last June, of whom nearly 40% were exposed to sexual abuse during arrest or investigation by the Israeli authorities.