by Susanne Kemp

Arresting Palestinian children and holding them without charge or trial is a common practice of the Israeli occupation on the West Bank

Arresting Palestinian children and holding them without charge or trial is a common practice of the Israeli occupation on the West Bank

Since the start of June, over 400 Palestinians have been kidnapped by Israeli forces on the West Bank. This is Israel’s supposed response to three (illegal) Israeli settlers going missing in Hebron on June 12.  In fact, the Israelis show no signs of giving up their occupation of the West Bank and, short of abject surrender, anything the Palestinians do can be used by Tel Aviv as a pretext for a new clampdown.

In this case, a constant lockdown has been imposed on Hebron, the largest city on the West Bank with a population of about 250,000 Palestinians.  The Israelis have also carried out continuous raids in Nablus, Ramallah and other cities and killed five Palestinians, including a 14-year-old since the new clampdown began ten days ago

Yesterday, June 22, Israeli deputy defence minister Danny Danon told Radio Darom “In my opinion there is room for extensive actions against the civilian population.”  He suggested one such action should be to  “shut off the electricity in the West Bank and Gaza”.

At the same time as this new wave of repression, there are perhaps 125 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, in opposition to administrative detention.  Some 5,000 Palestinians, including 200 children, are currently being held in administrative detention, ie with charge or trial.

Prisoners transferred to Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, a city about 20 kilometres from Tel Aviv, have been threatened with the barbaric practice of force-feeding.  On June 10, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) also passed its first vote on new legislation which will make force-feeding legal.  Prisoners have described some of the treatment they have faced while in hospital due to the advanced state of the hunger strikes:

“hunger strikers in hospitals are shackled to their bed by hands and legs for 12 hours a day, and bound by one leg for the remaining 12 hours. They are required to seek permission from the guards to use the restroom, and are not allowed to use it at night. Due to their constant shackling, the detainees are forbidden from walking in the rooms, despite the recommendation from the Ministry of Health to do so to keep their blood circulating.”

Solidarity with the Palestinians is more urgent than ever.

 

 

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