Palestinian prisoners’ affairs organizations, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, released the following monthly report on Saturday, 3 December, of events relating to the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces in November 2016. Translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. (Photo for illustration purposes only.)
In the month of November 2016, 527 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were arrested, including 120 children and 11 women. 163 were arrested in Jerusalem (including 74 children) and 100 were arrested in al-Khalil. 50 were arrested in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, another 50 in Bethlehem, 42 in Jenin, 39 in Nablus, 27 in Tulkarem, 17 in Salfit, 11 in Qalqilya, 10 in Jericho, six in Tubas, and 12 from the Gaza Strip.
There are approximately 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 48 women prisoners, 11 of them being minor girls. The total number of child prisoners is approximately 350, with the majority held in Megiddo and Ofer prison. There are approximately 700 total administrative detainees. 111 administrative detention orders for imprisonment without charge or trial were issued in November, including 32 new orders.
Continued Arbitrary Detention of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip
Israeli occupation forces are continuing the policy of arbitrary detention against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and violating international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Palestinians are arrested without charge and legal procedures are not followed in the arrest of Palestinians. Moreover, the right to a fair trial guaranteed by international standards and instruments is consistently violated, in particular in the denial of Palestinian detainees’ right to information about their own case, including the reason for their detention and access to a lawyer before they are brought before a military court. In addition, occupation forces regularly use excessive and extreme force during detention operations, for example the use of heavy gunfire against Palestinian fishermen at sea, putting their lives at risk for no reason. During the month of November, six incidents resulted in the arrest of 12 Palestinian civilians, including eight fishermen arrested at sea.
Battle of the Empty Stomachs
At the end of November, four prisoners are engaged in an open hunger strike, three against the policy of administrative detention. Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid have been on an open hunger strike since 25 September in protest of administrative detention. Both are in a serious health condition at Assaf Harofeh hospital. Their administrative detention has been “suspended” by the Israeli courts and the two detainees have announced their rejection of this action. In addition, Ammar Hmour continues his hunger strike since 21 November in protest of his administrative detention.
Kifah Hattab also announced his hunger strike during the month of November, demanding that Israel deal with him as a prisoner of war. Noor el-Din Amer ended his hunger strike, which lasted for 20 days, against solitary confinement and the dneial of family visits, in an agreement with the prison administration. Under this agreement, his sister will be allowed to visit him in the coming period, he will be able to receive winter clothing during her visit, and conditions of his confinement in Ashkelon prison will be improved.
Injustices Against Children
During the month of November, Israeli occupation courts issued unjust sentences against dozens of children, mostly from Jerusalem, in addition to the imposition of heavy fines and damages in the thousands of shekels. Sentences ranged from months to over ten years. The most prominent case is that of Ahmad Manasrah, sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and fines of 180,000 NIS ($47,150 USD). The two children Munther Khalil Abu Mayalah, 15, and Mohammed Taha, 16, were sentenced to 11 years in prison each; both had a 50,000 NIS ($13,100) fine imposed upon them. Nurhan Awad was sentenced to a prison term of 13 1/2 years and a 30,000 NIS ($8000) fine was imposed upon her. There are dozens of detained children still awaiting their fate before the occupation court.
Bahaa al-Najjar Imprisoned after One Week of Freedom, Returned to Administrative Detention
On 2 November, 2016, the imprisonment of Bahaa al-Najjar, 21, from al-Khalil expired. On the evening of this date, without receiving any official paperwork for his release, he was told that there was no new administrative detention order issued against him and so he was released – but that did not last long. Bahaa was arrested once again on 9 November, and once again ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial for six months.
The case of al-Najjar represents the policy of administrative detention as a method of psychological torture against prisoners by the occupation. In addition, the United Nations Working Group onn Arbitrary Detention also considers the occupation practices administrative detention systematically and on a large scale against Palestinian civilians. With the denial of the right to a fair trial, this constitutes a grave breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.