Israel detains more than 600 Palestinians without charge since 2016

Jerusalem: Israel is holding about 600 Palestinians without charge or trial, the highest number since 2016, local media reported.

HaMoked, an Israeli rights group, which regularly collects figures from prison authorities, said on Monday that as of May there were 604 detainees held in administrative detention.

HaMoked further says 2,441 Palestinians are serving sentences after being convicted in military courts.

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Another 1,478 detainees are being held for questioning, have been charged and are awaiting trial, or are being tried.

The last time Israel held so many administrative detainees was in October 2016, following an escalation of violence, including stabbings, shootings, and ramming attacks by Palestinians.

“Administrative detention is used only when the security forces have credible and well-established information of an actual security threat posed by the detainee, and when other avenues to remove the threat are not feasible,” the army said in a statement.

Several Palestinians in administrative detention have gone on a prolonged hunger strike in protest, and many have lifelong health problems.

Administrative detainees and their lawyers have boycotted Israeli military court proceedings since the start of this year in protest.

Israeli authorities have used administrative detention orders since their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.

More than 700,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank.

All the settlements are illegal under international law. The United Nations Security Council had condemned the settlement activities in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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