At least 6,831 Palestinians were already being held in Israeli custody, including 331 children, according to Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem.
The number of Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces since U.S. President Donald Trump ‘recognized’ Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6 has risen to 610, including 170 children and 12 women, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reports.
At least 6,831 Palestinians were already being held in Israeli custody, including 331 children, according to Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem. The latest arrests bring the total number of Palestinian prisoners to 7,441.
Trump’s Jerusalem declaration sparked outrage across the world. Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem have since mobilized to defend Al-Quds, as Jerusalem is known in the Muslim and Arab world, as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Israel’s forceful response to the demonstrations has left at least 12 Palestinians dead so far, along with thousands more injured and hundreds arrested.
Many Palestinians, including children, have been detained in overnight raids that are becoming an all-too-common occurrence in Palestinian towns and villages through the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.
Even before the tensions caused by the U.S. declaration, children in East Jerusalem had been targeted by Israeli forces and subjected to house raids.
On October 20, hundreds of Israeli forces entered the Palestinian neighborhood of al-Esawiyah at 11:30pm, raided dozens of homes, and arrested 51 residents, including 26 children between the ages of 15 and 17.
B’Tselem later released the following statement from one of those arrested: “At around 4am, my wife Jihad and I were woken up by banging on our bedroom door. We saw a female Border Police officer and four male Border Police officers and ISA agents standing at the entrance to our bedroom with a dog…
“The ISA agent demanded that we get our son… The ISA agent ordered him to get dressed. Then they tied his hands behind his back and took him away. His mother and I didn’t say a word to him. We’re used to him being arrested. He was arrested for the first time when he was nine years old. The last time he was arrested was in August 2017.”
Human rights organizations B’Tselem, Adameer, Defender for Children International and others report that child arrests and the abuses that follow have become systematic.
On December 20, Ahed al-Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian activist known for her resistence to the Israeli occupation, was taken from her home at 3am during a military raid in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.
The arrest happened after a video showing Ahed slapping Israeli soldiers trying to force their way into her house went viral. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett then said the teenager should serve a life sentence.