Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in West Bank raids

Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in West Bank raids
3 min read
12 April, 2016
At least 12 Palestinians, accused of "suspected illegal activity", were arrested during pre-dawn raids on Tuesday by Israeli security forces across the occupied West Bank.
Israeli security forces have been widely criticised for holding prisoners in arbitrary detention [AFP]
Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians on Tuesday during pre-dawn raids across the occupied West Bank, locals have reported.

Three youths were arrested in the Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah, while four others were detained in the Bethlehem area.

Others from Salfit, Tulkarem, Hebron and Jenin were also taken.

An Israeli spokesperson told Ma'an News that the 12 Palestinians were detained over "suspected illegal activity".

Earlier this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the Israeli military for frequent incursions into areas of the occupied West Bank under Palestinian jurisdiction, on the grounds that the move is in direct contradiction to the Oslo agreements.

Around 7,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, many of whom are held under arbitrary detention in violation of international law, according to prisoners' rights group Addameer.

Israeli security forces have also been widely criticised for using unnecessary force to arrest or detain Palestinian children as young as 11, according to a Human Rights Watch [HRW] report released last year.

"Israeli forces' mistreatment of Palestinian children is at odds with its claim to respect children's rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW, at the time.

On Monday evening, the Palestinian Prisoners' Affairs office announced that the youngest Palestinian female prisoner on record would be released later this month, after the Israeli prison service approved a request for her early release.

Dima al-Wawi, 12, will be released on 24 April.

The Israeli supreme court sentenced Wawi, from the West Bank, to more than four months' imprisonment and a fine of $2,000.

She was arrested on 9 February for allegedly carrying a knife in her school bag, as she was heading to school in her uniform near the town of Beit Ummar, a little north of Hebron.

Extremists arrested

Meanwhile, Israeli police said on Tuesday that four Jewish Israelis had been arrested for alleged anti-Palestinian vandalism in the occupied West Bank.

The four suspects, including two teenagers aged 16 and 17, are suspected of having targeted Palestinian property for political reasons, though further details on the alleged crimes were not released.

A number of Jewish extremists have been arrested since the
firebombing of a Palestinian home in July 2015 [Getty]

According to army radio, an Israeli soldier from an elite unit has also been arrested as part of the same investigation. Police did not confirm the soldier's arrest.

Jewish extremists have been blamed in the past for vandalism and violence targeting Palestinians, Christian holy sites and even Israeli military property.

A number of Jewish extremists have been arrested since the firebombing of a Palestinian home in July 2015 that killed an 18-month-old, along with his mother and father.

In January, a court charged two Israelis over the arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma after slow progress in the case led to criticism from human rights groups and Palestinians.

A small number of other Israeli extremists have been placed in administrative detention, which allows suspects to be held without trial, with incarceration renewable every six months indefinitely. Israel frequently employs such measures against Palestinian suspects.

The Duma attack generated global condemnation and drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism, including accusations that Israel had not done enough to prevent such violence.

Agencies contributed to this report.