Israel holds about 4,650 Palestinians, including 200 children, 40 women and 520 administrative detainees, in prisons.
Six Palestinian prisoners escaped from Gilboa jail, a maximum security prison about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the border with the occupied West Bank, on September 6.
The men made their way through a tunnel under the sink in their cell that they had been digging for months. The Israeli authorities discovered the escape of the prisoners around 3:30 am.
Police, soldiers and agents from Israel’s Shin Bet agency joined the search, deploying sniffer dogs and establishing checkpoints in the surrounding areas.
As of Saturday, September 11, Israeli police said they arrested four of the men who were captured near Nazareth and Umm al-Ghanam. Two remain at large.
Over the weekend, Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem took to the streets in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and protested against their punishment.
According to the Prisoners’ Rights Group Addameer, there are currently 4,650 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons in Israel and the occupied territories.
The Palestinians see them as political prisoners trying to end Israel’s illegal occupation.
- 520 are being held without charge or trial
- 200 are children
- 40 are women
- 544 are serving life sentences
- 499 are serving a sentence of more than 20 years
Since early 2021, Israeli forces have arrested more than 5,500 Palestinians, including women and children, according to Palestinian NGOs. The month of May saw the highest number of arrests, with 3,100 Palestinians placed in Israeli custody.
How is it for the imprisoned children
The Israeli army has imprisoned some 12,000 Palestinian children since 2000, according to Addameer. Most of these children were charged with stone throwing, a crime punishable under military law with up to 20 years in prison.
Israel is the only country in the world that tries children in military courts, often denying them their basic rights.
Currently, 200 Palestinian children are being held in Israeli prisons, most of whom are in pre-trial detention and have not been convicted of any crime.
In 2020, Save the Children [PDF] he asked 470 Palestinians from the West Bank who had been detained by the Israeli army over the past 10 years what conditions were like.
- 81 percent suffered physical beatings
- 86 percent were subjected to strip searches
- 88 percent did not receive adequate and timely medical care.
- 89 percent were blindfolded or hooded during detention.
- 52 percent were threatened with harming their families.
- 47 percent were denied contact with an attorney.
Administrative detainees: held without charge or trial
There are currently 520 Palestinians in “administrative detention”, without charge or trial. Detainees, including women and children, can be held by the military for renewable periods of six months without charge.
According to international law, an occupying state is prohibited from moving and holding prisoners outside the occupied territory, as Israel does with several prisons within its borders.
Over the years, many detainees have gone on hunger strike in non-violent protest against their detention.
Every year on April 17, Palestinians commemorate Palestinian Prisoner’s Day to highlight the plight of detainees in Israeli jails and their fight for freedom against the Israeli occupation.