Amid the brief pause in fighting within the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government has ramped up arrests in the occupied West Bank, detaining almost as many Palestinians as they have released through their truce with Hamas.
After reaching the milestone agreement last week, the first four days of the temporary pause saw Israel release 150 Palestinian prisoners – 117 children and 33 women. However, Israel also arrested at least 112 Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the four days, according to the Palestinian Authority’s commission for prisoner affairs, via The Seattle Times. The Israeli army has admitted to arresting a lower number of 71.
Palestinian children released from prison
Palestinian officials claim that more arrests were made in the two-day extension of the truce, and that the Israeli military has escalated arrests drastically since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7. Israel arrested over 5,000 Palestinians in the first two weeks following the attacks, doubling the amount of Palestinians prisoners it already held prior to Oct. 7, Palestinian officials said at the time, translated by Al Jazeera.
More than 3,000 of the prisoners are detained under what Israel calls “administrative detention,” meaning they are being held without knowing the charges against them, and without an ongoing legal process. Prior to the hostage exchange, 350 children were held in Israeli prisons, with charges most commonly including throwing stones and “harming regional security.”
Palestinians are also tried in military court, whereas an Israeli who committed the same crime would be tried in civil court. In one year, 99.7 percent of cases that went through Israeli military courts ended in a conviction, according to the Israeli government’s own data.
Allegations of torture have been made against Israeli law enforcement by Palestinian prisoners, both before and after Oct. 7, which some of the recently released Palestinian children have also claimed.
Around 1,200 Israelis and people of other nationalities were killed in the Oct. 7 attacks. Israeli bombardment has since killed more than 15,000 people in Gaza, 40 percent of them children, according to the latest data. Alongside the 150 Palestinian prisoners so far released by Israel, Hamas has released 60 out of the 240 hostages taken during the attacks.The temporary pause in fighting is set to end Wednesday, but Israeli and Hamas officials have continued to work with international mediators to extend it in order to facilitate more prisoner exchanges.
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