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  • Families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails hold their pictures during a protest against wage cuts, in Gaza City, February 7, 2019

    Families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails hold their pictures during a protest against wage cuts, in Gaza City, February 7, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 February 2019

"As Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party heads into the election, they are no doubt seeking to show they are even tougher on Palestinians," Nadia Hijab said.

This January alone, Israel detained 509 Palestinians, including 89 children and eight women, from occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian prisoners rights groups.

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Israeli authorities detained 102 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, 88 from Ramallah, 80 from Hebron, 55 from Jenin, 62 from Bethlehem, 30 from Nablus, 30 from Tulkarm, 25 from Qalqilya, 8 from Toubas, 6 from Salfit, 10 from Jericho, and 10 from the Gaza Strip, according to a joint statement by The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), the Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee, and Addameer,Ma'an News reported.

The organizations stated that as of Jan. 31, around 5,700 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons, including 48 women, and 230 children under 18 years of age. The total number of administrative detainees is at 500, with around 95 Palestinians being held in administrative detention without charge or trial in the same month -- 50 of them were newly detained.

The three rights groups said Israel is holding 18 journalists, including  two who are serving life sentences and three in administrative detention, which is a controversial practice by Israel.

As B'Tselem states, "Administrative detention is a controversial policy in which prisoners are detained indefinitely, no evidence is required, and the terms are renewable indefinitely. " Earlier in January, detained Palestinians vowed hunger strikes if Israel worsened jail conditions.

Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely, and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time.

The joined statement added that Israel has intensified its collective punishment policy against families of Palestinians who are alleged to have attacked Israelis, including the detention of several members of the immediate and distant relatives.

According to the director of the Palestinian policy network, Al Shabaka, intensifying policies that make life harder and unbearable for Palestinian prisoners are a political tool for Israeli politicians who are looking to gain support in the lead-up to elections.

"As [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party heads into the election, they are no doubt seeking to show they are even tougher on Palestinians," Hijab told Al-Jazeera.


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