March 2017 Report: 509 Palestinians arrested in March by Israeli occupation forces


Four Palestinian institutions concerned with prisoners and human rights, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, issued their monthly report on Sunday, 9 April covering the situation in March 2017. The following translation is provided by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Occupation authorities arrested 509 Palestinians during the month of March 2017 from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, including 75 children and 13 women, including two minor girls and 5 Palestinian Legislative Council deputies.

During March, 160 Palestinians from Jerusalem were arrested, 80 from al-Khalil, 73 from Bethlehem, 35 from Ramallah and el-Bireh, 34 from Tulkarem, 33 from Nablus, 31 from Jenin, 21 from Qalqilya, 15 from Jericho, 11 from Tubas, 11 from the Gaza Strip and five from Salfit.

Israeli occupation authorities issued 111 administrative detention orders in March, including an order for imprisonment without charge or trial against re-arrested released prisoner Ihsan Dababseh and PLC member Mohammed Ismail al-Tal.

The total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is approximately 6,500; among them are 62 women prisoners, including 14 minor girls. There are approximately 300 children detained in Israeli prisons, and 500 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Last month also saw the continued arrest of Palestinian leaders and the prosecution of political activists and journalists by the occupation, in an attempt to prevent them from performing their role in educating the community and organizing the Palestinian people, and to prevent journalists from covering and exposing the practices of the occupation. This policy is intended to suppress and gag their voices, particularly in occupied Jerusalem, During March, five deputies of the PLC were arrested including MP Samira Halaiqeh, while five journalists working in various media were seized.

In addition, Palestinian prisoners experienced a continued policy of invasions of sections and rooms of detainees and ransacking their belongings, as well as continued medical neglect of hundreds of jailed patients and high rates of administrative detention, solitary confinement and isolation, the detention of children and the imposition of exorbitant monetary fines, and denial of family visits to hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The four institutions expressed their strong condemnation of the gross and systematic Israeli violations of international law against Palestinian prisoners, and also condemned the continuing arrest and systematic targeting of journalists by the occupation, which hinders their work in disseminating information about human rights violations to which Palestinians are continuously exposed. Such repression violates freedom of the press and freedom of expression and also violates international conventions and humanitarian law, which provide special protection for journalists through the additional Protocol I of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977, and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which uphold the right to receive and impart news and ideas, which applies to journalists. The institutions also note the continuing arrests by the Israeli occupation of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council by the Israeli occupation despite international law barring the arrest of individuals for their political views.

The four institutions also call upon the international community and international bodies to respect their legal and moral obligations toward the ongoing crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to take effective measures to compel the occupation to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law. They urged action and playing an active role to hold the occupying power accountable, as well as holding accountable the perpetrators of crimes against Palestinian civilians to ensure that they do not enjoy impunity.