Israel's jails 'overcrowded' as it plans to imprison more Palestinians this year

Israel's jails 'overcrowded' as it plans to imprison more Palestinians this year
As Palestinians in Israeli jails reach more than 9,000 facing unprecedented dire conditions, Israel prepares to arrest thousands more throughout the year.
3 min read
West Bank
12 March, 2024
Over 3,500 Palestinians are currently held without charges in Israeli jails. [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

Israeli jails are planning to receive thousands of Palestinian detainees during 2024, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said on Monday, according to Israeli media.

During a meeting with representatives from the Israeli ministries of defence and national security, the Israeli army and intelligence presented estimates that thousands of Palestinians would be arrested despite the lack of space in Israeli jails.

The Israeli army and the intelligence presented short-term and medium-term plans to make preparations for the expected influx of Palestinian inmates, which Netanyahu approved, according to reports.

Israeli forces have been ramping up arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip since 7 October, arresting more than 7,000 Palestinians in five months.

The number of Palestinians detained without charges under the 'administrative Detention' system has also reached 3,500, more than doubling the number before 7 October.

"The occupation is already engaged in an unprecedented arrest campaign that doesn't seem to be slowing down", a source at the Palestinian Addameer prisoner support association told The New Arab.

"Arrests have included all sectors of society without exception, including many without any arrest precedents who are being given administrative detention orders in large numbers", said the source.

"The occupation forces are arresting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the dozens and sometimes by the hundreds every day, including entire families", the source noted. "What we have documented from released detainees' testimonies indicates that jails are very overcrowded, with cells made for five to eight inmates containing up to twelve at the same time".

"There is a severe lack of clothes, and our documented testimonies suggest that some detainees haven't changed their clothes for months; some haven't seen sunlight for weeks", they added.

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Earlier last week, Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that 27 Palestinians had died in Israeli detention since 7 October.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club and the Palestinian Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs, 12 Palestinians dead in Israeli jails since 7 October have been identified.

The latest death was 22-year-old Asef Refai, who died of cancer in late February. His family accused Israeli authorities of medical neglect.