HUNDREDS of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails have been boycotting the regime’s military courts for 16 consecutive days now, in protest against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention.
Imprisoned under the controversial policy of ‘administrative detention,’ at least 500 Palestinian inmates have been registering their protest at their detention without charge at the hands of the Tel Aviv regime by refusing to show up for their military court hearings since the beginning of the year, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported on Sunday.
The boycott includes hearings for renewal of administrative detention orders, as well as appeal hearings and sessions at Israel’s so-called supreme court.
The detainees said in a statement that their move is a continuation of longstanding Palestinian efforts ‘to put an end to the unjust administrative detention practiced against our people by the occupation forces.’
They also noted that Israel’s use of administrative detention has expanded in recent years and many women, children and elderly people have been incarcerated under the controversial policy.
Over 540 Palestinian prisoners, including women and minors, are currently being held under ‘administrative detention’, where they are kept without charge for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times.
The detention is by order of a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime itself describes as ‘secret’ evidence.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
Palestinians and human rights groups say ‘administrative detention’ violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention.
Israel issued 1,595 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in the occupied territories in 2021, according to a new report.
Palestinian prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Rights groups describe the regime’s use of administrative detention as a ‘bankrupt tactic’ and have long called on Israel to end it.
According to figures from Defence for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children between the ages 12-17 are also arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year.
Since 2000 Israeli forces have arrested more than 17,000 minors.
- Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and the Amal group have announced they are ending their three-months boycott of the country’s cabinet sessions.
The groups, which together back several ministers from various portfolios, made the announcement on Saturday.
They said the decision was driven by their desire to join consultations over the 2022 budget and the country’s ongoing economic recovery.
Since late 2019, Lebanon has been mired in a deep financial crisis that has caused the Lebanese pound to lose around 90 per cent of its value to the dollar and led its banking system to collapse.
The Hezbollah resistance movement says the United States has a ‘proven role’ in destroying Lebanon’s economy by imposing tough sanctions against the country and supporting its corrupt officials.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement he welcomed the decision to end the boycott and would call for a cabinet meeting as soon as he receives a draft budget from the Finance Ministry.
Hezbollah and Amal initiated the boycott as a form of protest against the handling of an investigation into the huge Beirut port blast in 2020.
The groups have sought the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, who has been overseeing the investigation, denouncing his ‘politicisation’ of the probe.
Last year, Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, said Bitar ‘tends to pin the blame on others. He is not reliable anymore,’ adding: ‘Families of the victims have grown very suspicious of his behaviour.’
- The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has condemned the international community’s silence on Israel’s attempts to Judaize the occupied city of Jerusalem and step up its settlement expansion policies right across the Palestinian territories.
The ministry, in a statement released on Saturday, said the Tel Aviv regime is racing against time to implement its colonial settlement plans in the occupied Palestinian lands as part of attempts to distort historical, legal and demographic realities in the West Bank.
The statement said such bids are meant to serve Israel’s colonial interests in the occupied Palestinian territories and would actually close the door on the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian foreign ministry points out that Israeli settlement projects target large parts of Area C, which constitutes more than 60 per cent of the West Bank, and are mainly concentrated in occupied East Jerusalem and its surroundings.
Such moves will ‘separate Jerusalem from its Palestinian surroundings, will be sacrilegious to its sacred landmarks and will spoil the city’s cultural identity,’ the statement added.
The ministry also denounced Israel’s settlements construction, home demolitions and ethnic cleansing, as well as repressive measures and restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities against Jerusalem residents.
It held the Tel Aviv regime fully and primarily responsible for ongoing violations and crimes in Jerusalem and its outskirts, warning that expansionist Israeli measures will eventually perpetuate occupation of Palestinian lands and displacement of Palestinian citizens, and will bolster an abominable apartheid regime in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The United Nations Security Council has, in several resolutions, condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.
In addition to expanding its illegal settlements, Israel restricts freedom of movement for Palestinians not only in and out of Palestine but also within it. Israeli settlers, backed by the military, also routinely storm the al-Aqsa Mosque and provoke clashes with Palestinian worshippers.
Meanwhile, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement said Israeli officials are deliberately allowing female Palestinian prisoners to be infected with coronavirus.
Amina Hamid stated that Israel Prison Service (IPS) authorities merely quarantine female prisoners infected by the coronavirus and provide no medical care for them.
Imprisoned Palestinian women are suffering from harsh and miserable conditions, are deprived of family visits and meetings with defence lawyers, neglected medically and exposed to various forms of torture, she said.
The remarks come as Israel is reportedly holding 33 Palestinian women behind bars in Damon Prison, who have recently been quarantined in order to limit the possible spread of the coronavirus.
Israeli military forces arrested at least 178 female Palestinian nationals in 2021, marking a 32-per cent increase compared to the preceding year.
Since 2015, the number of Palestinian women arrested has reached more than 900, among them mothers of prisoners, martyrs and minor girls, according to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Hundreds of detainees, including women and minors, are being held without charge in various Israeli prisons, with some of them being held in that condition for up to 11 years.