Ramallah - ADDAMEER: Since the beginning of the military operation launched by the occupation against the Palestinian people in various locations, events have escalated gradually, leading to a significant increase in violations by the occupying authorities against Palestinians. From the beginning of the aggression until today, the number of martyrs in Gaza has exceeded 5926, with more than half of them being children and women. The number of martyrs in the occupied West Bank reached about 101. As events escalated, the occupying forces began conducting massive arrest campaigns that continue in various cities and villages of the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. The total number of arrests from October 7th until today is more than 1266 detainees, including approximately 32 female detainees, 14 journalists, and 13 members of the Legislative Council. Additionally, there are more than 18 child arrested and around 22 university students.
As for the occupied territories of 1948, a number of Palestinians have been arrested. Until now, we cannot determine the exact number, including activists, lawyers, and artists, based on posts on social media and the charge of helping the enemy during war.
Apart from the arrest cases, a number of students have been expelled from universities based on social media posts related to the aggression on Gaza.
Palestinian Detainees from Gaza
Regarding the detainees from Gaza, accurate information about the actual numbers is not available yet. However, initial information from Palestinian prisoner organizations indicate that their number has reached about 4000 detainees, including those arrested during the battles and Palestinian workers who were present inside the occupied territory after October 7th.
The Israeli Minister of Security issued an order stating that Palestinian detainees from Gaza will be held in a camp called "Sdeh Teiman," which is a military camp near Be'er AlSabe’, considering them as "unlawful combatants" based on the "Unlawful Combatants Law" issued in 2002. The organizations also noted the extension of detention for another group of detainees (approximately 50 detainees) for the purpose of interrogation, and they will be tried under the anti-terrorism law, allowing detainees to be denied access to their lawyer for up to 21 days.
Palestinian prisoner organizations and lawyers also face difficulty in accessing the missing Palestinians, as the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) does not provide information about the place of the missing. Lawyers are still prohibited from visiting detainees in the camps of “Anatout”, a military camp near Jerusalem, and Sdeh Teiman camp, preventing them from assessing the conditions of detention and verifying the presence of the missing in these military camps.
Instructions have also been issued to the police on how to deal with entry into the occupied Palestinian territories without a permit, according to the "Entry and Residence in Israel Law Contrary to the Law for the Year 1952." The instructions state the following:
- Any person entering Israel without a permit, even if it is their first entry, will be presented with an indictment. This applies to residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- In case a person is inside Israel based on a permit but violates its conditions, an indictment for "violation of permit conditions" will be presented.
- If a person entered Israel based on a permit and did not violate its conditions, but their entry was after the Throne Day and the war, they will not be presented with an indictment, and they will be returned to the areas of the West Bank.
Policy of Collective Punishment Against Detainees and Their Families During Arrest Campaigns...
Several violations falling within the policy of collective punishment practiced by the occupation authorities against the Palestinian people have emerged during recent arrest campaigns. Palestinian Prisoner organizations have documented the use of brutal beatings and field interrogations by occupation soldiers, as well as threats of murder and rape, the use of police dogs, and the use of civilians as human shields. Additionally, there have been cases of home destruction and assaults on detainees' families prior to their arrest, excessive force during arrests, and the use of detainees' families as hostages.
*The occupation employs a policy of collective punishment against prisoners inside prisons and detention centers...
Since the declaration of a state of emergency by the occupation, and the beginning of the aggression against the Palestinians, the (IPS) isolated the prisoners inside the occupation's prisons. On the second day of the aggression (October 8, 2023), the (IPS) implemented a series of retaliatory and punitive measures against the prisoners. This included closing sections in all prisons, confiscating available TV stations for prisoners, increasing the jamming devices for communications, in addition to banning lawyer and family visits in all prisons. The frequency of cell searches for prisoners also increased. The suppression forces stormed the women's section in Damoun prison using gas, cut off electricity, and isolated the representative of the women prisoners, Marah Bakir, transferring her to Jalameh prison.
The (IPS) did not stop at these punitive measures. They also worked to withdraw food items from various prisons and closed the canteen, providing only two very small and poor-quality meals a day. This constitutes a deliberate starvation process practiced by the (IPS) to retaliate against and torment the prisoners, without considering any of the humanitarian standards that guarantee the prisoners their basic rights to live and eat inside the prisons. In addition, the occupation authorities deprived sick prisoners of their right to treatment from the beginning of the aggression, by closing the prison clinics and preventing prisoners from going to external clinics and hospitals. This poses a significant risk to the lives of detainees and prisoners, as dozens of them suffer from severe and chronic diseases, especially cancer patients who need prompt treatment. This deliberate medical neglect aims to torment and slowly kill the prisoners. The (IPS) also crowded detainees into overcrowded prisons, forcing many of them to sleep on the floor.
In light of the punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners, the heightened isolation imposed on them due to electricity cuts and the prevention of family and lawyer visits, and in the context of the solitary confinement of prisoners, the (IPS) announced last night, Monday, October 23, 2023, the martyrdom of the released prisoner and administrative detainee Omar Draghma, 58 years old from Tubas. So far, we have not been able to verify the reason for the detainee's martyrdom due to the imposition of isolation on prisoners. According to Draghma's lawyer, he was able to attend the judicial review session (the confirmation session) via video conference on the same day and was in good health, showing no signs of illness or fatigue at that time, before his martyrdom was announced hours later. The Israeli army arrested Draghma on October 9th, along with his son, as part of a series of arrests carried out by the occupation authorities in Tubas. It should be noted that he was a released prisoner who had spent several years in occupation prisons.
*Sharp Increase in the Number of Administrative Detainees Since the Beginning of the Aggression...
Since the start of the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, and with the escalating pace of arrests and continuous raids on Palestinian cities and villages, the number of administrative detainees has significantly risen. According to "Hamoked," since the beginning of the month, the number of new administrative detainees has increased to about 295, bringing the total number of administrative detainees to more than 1614 until today, held without charge or trial. The total number of administrative detention orders, including renewals and new orders, has reached about 330.
It's worth mentioning that within the wide-scale arrest campaigns, the occupation authorities deliberately utilized the policy of extending administrative detention against detainees who had already obtained substantive court decisions. This falls under the policy of collective reprisal against detainees and their families.
*The Occupation Works to Impede the Work of lawyers in Military Courts...
Since the start of the Israeli aggression against Palestinians, and the increase in the number of Palestinian detainees in occupation prisons, the occupation authorities have worked to obstruct and restrict the work of lawyers. In the first week of the aggression, lawyers were completely prohibited from visiting prisoners in Israeli prisons. In the second week, some lawyers were allowed to visit certain prisons under complex and delaying procedures. Additionally, the (IPS) does not cooperate with lawyers in cases of locating new detainees or detainees from Gaza. This leads to a loss of communication between the detainee, their lawyer, and their family. Lawyers need 48 hours to find out the detainee's location. Furthermore, military court sessions (Ofer and Salem) for various trial proceedings have been postponed.
*Occupation Authorities Make Several Amendments to Laws and Military Orders Amid Their Ongoing Aggression Against Palestinians
Among the recent measures, the occupation activated Article 33 of Military Order No. 1651, which stipulates procedures for arrest "in a military campaign to combat terrorism." This allows the detention of a person for 8 days before being presented to the court, instead of 96 hours, automatically preventing them from meeting their lawyer for two days.
Since the start of the Israeli aggression, the occupation declared a state of emergency. The occupation issued and amended some orders related to detainees and prisoners inside the prisons. On October 7, 2023, the decision to convert court sessions to be held via "video conference" during the state of emergency was approved. It should be noted that the sessions will be limited to extension sessions for the purpose of iinterrogation or presenting indictment lists, or in cases of issuing administrative detention orders. All ongoing trial proceedings have been postponed.
Additionally, an order for the detention of "Unlawful combatants" (temporary order) was issued on October 8, 2023. This order stipulates the detention of Gaza detainees in the "Sdeh Teiman" camp, a military camp located near BeerAlSabe’, and it designated Palestinian detainees from Gaza as "Unlawful combatants" based on the Israeli Unlawful Combatants Law issued in 2002. This order is effective for 10 weeks from its date. On October 13, an amendment was issued to the Unlawful Combatants Law, titled "Emergency Regulations (Final Deadlines for Dealing with Unlawful Combatants during War or Military Operations for the Year 2023." It included the following:
- Expanding the scope of those authorized to issue arrest orders to include brigadier generals and those of lower rank.
- Brigadier generals are given 21 days to issue an arrest order instead of 7 days.
- The legal review period for the arrest decision is extended from 14 days to 30 days.
- The lawyer's visit will be within 21 days before the legal review instead of 7 days.
- The prohibition of meeting the lawyer by the official responsible for issuing the arrest order becomes 28 days from the date of arrest instead of 10 days.
- Judges can extend the prohibition of meeting the lawyer for 45 days instead of 21 days.
In addition, a temporary military order (No. 2148) was issued regarding the extension of administrative detention periods as follows:
- Amendment of Article 39 of Order 1651 to be 6 days (144 hours) instead of 72 hours.
- Amendment of Article 41 (b) concerning the postponement of the release decision until an administrative detention order is issued to be 6 days (144 hours) instead of 72 hours.
- Amendment of Article 287 (a) regarding the date of the judicial review to be 12 days (288 hours) instead of 8 days.
Note: These procedures will apply to administrative detainees who were arrested before October 7th, and whose detention orders expire during the effective period of this amendment.
Furthermore, amendments were made to the Anti-Terrorism Law, expanding it to include not only participation in writing publications, likes, and shares, but also if involved in monitoring news posted on social media platforms related to a "terrorist organization."
The Knesset also approved amendments to the Prison Service orders to allow prisoners to sleep on mattresses on the floor in cases of overcrowding.
Collective punitive measures aim to impose further oppression and control on Palestinians
The crimes committed by the occupation authorities against Palestinian detainees and prisoners are part of the systematic collective punishments imposed on the Palestinian people. These punishments aim to enforce further isolation on detainees and prisoners. In the absence of the International Committee of the Red Cross fulfilling its responsibilities towards detainees and prisoners, and knowing their places and conditions of detention, the crimes escalate under the state of isolation imposed on the detainees. The latest of which was the death of administrative detainee Omar Draghmeh under circumstances that are still unclear due to the inability of Palestinian prisoner organizations to communicate with the prisons.