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61 killed, 700 arrested in West Bank by Israel since 7 Oct.

61 Palestinians killed, nearly 700 arrested by Israeli army in occupied West Bank since launch of war on Gaza
4 min read
17 October, 2023
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank appear in Israeli military courts, unlike Israeli settlers who are tried in civil courts in Israel. 
Relatives of 17-year-old Palestinian Muhammed Nidal Milhim, who was killed in Israeli forces' raid, mourn during his funeral ceremony in Halhul, district of Hebron, West Bank on 17 October 2023. [Getty]

The Israeli army is carrying out extensive arrests of Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank, with some of these detentions made on suspicion of "incitement" on social media platforms.

According to Palestinian sources, nearly 700 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the outbreak of the war on 7 October. 

Overnight on Monday, 16 October, 51 Palestinians were detained in the occupied West Bank. 

The long list of detainees includes former Palestinian minister Issa Ja'abri and the head of the disbanded Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Aziz Dweik. Both are members of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. 

An Israeli military spokesperson said more than 200 Hamas members have been detained in the occupied West Bank since 7 October. 

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Addameer, a Palestinian rights group, stated that legal intervention on behalf of the Palestinian detainees is being impeeded by Israeli authorities. 

Following the outbreak of hostilities, the Israeli army invoked the so-called military order No. 1651, which permits the arrest of a person for up to 8 days before being presented to the court. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank appear in Israeli military courts, unlike Israeli settlers who are tried in civil courts in Israel. 

Before 7 October,  Palestinian prisoners typically appeared in court within 96 hours of arrest. The Israeli army said the procedure is implemented as part of " a military campaign against terrorism". 

Lawyers, according to Addameer, face problems locating the detainee, including a 48-hour waiting period imposed by the authorities. 

At least 5,200 Palestinians are in Israeli jails in the occupied West Bank and Israel, of which 1,264 are held under "administrative detention" without a trial. 

Furthermore, human rights groups reported that the Israeli military courts have postponed all sessions related to the appeals for Palestinian administrative detainees. 

Lawyers are also banned from meeting detainees, including in interrogation centres, Addameer has also reported. 

The Palestinian health ministry in the West Bank stated that 61 Palestinians have been killed and 1250 injured in the past 11 days alone. The overall count of Palestinians killed by the Israeli forces and Jewish settlers in the West Bank since the start of 2023 has reached 267. 

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right settler with a long history of anti-Palestinian incitement, responded to the Hamas attack by distributing more weapons to the already well-armed settler population and tasking settlers with security.

In a recent statement, he said his office is distributing 10,000 firearms, as well as combat gear, protective vests and helmets, to Israeli civilians — with a particular focus on residents of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Last Friday, 13 October, a video showed a settler with an assault rifle walking into the village of Al-Tuwani in the southern West Bank and shooting a Palestinian point blank.

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Two days earlier, settlers shot dead three Palestinians in the village of Qusra, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. And on Thursday, settlers attacked their funeral, killing another two men, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Video footage showed the settlers swerving their cars into the funeral procession before stopping and opening fire.

In Gaza, the death toll climbed to a staggering 2834; nearly a third are children. Israel began a relentless bombardment campaign following a daring incursion by Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters on military bases and settlements along the Gaza border. The death toll on the Israeli side has reached 1,400. 

Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida announced last night that the Islamic Resistance movement and other factions hold between 200 and 250 Israeli prisoners. 

In the city of Nazareth, well-known Palestinian artist Dalal Abu Amneh was also apprehended by Israeli police. According to a statement from the Israeli police, this detention was connected to her social media posts voicing support for Palestine and against Israel.