Report: 42 Palestinians held in Israel without trial

Study published by B'Tselem says the detainees have been in jails for more than two years.

idf arrest hamas gaza 298.88 (photo credit: )
idf arrest hamas gaza 298.88
(photo credit: )
Israel has been holding 42 Palestinians in administrative detention for more than two years, the B'Tselem NGO said in its annual report published on Thursday. The 2008 summary also singled out St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit's Palestinian captors for criticism, calling on Hamas to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the captive soldier. The report said 548 Palestinians were held without trial in administrative detention at the end of 2008, and that two detainees had been held without trial for more than four and a half years. Nevertheless, the number of such detainees dropped significantly, from 813 in January 2008 to 548 in December. The report also said that for the first time ever, Israel was keeping two minor girls in administrative detention. B'Tselem called on Israel "to immediately release all of the administrative detainees or to try them for the offenses that they are suspected of carrying out." From January 1 to December 26, 455 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, including 87 minors, B'Tselem said. According to its data, approximately 38 percent of those - 175 - were not involved in violence. The organization also noted that 18 Israeli civilians and one foreign citizen were killed by Palestinians in the past year, as were 10 members of the security forces. There were 137 kilometers of Israeli-only roads in the West Bank, alongside 63 permanently-manned checkpoints, over a quarter of which were inside Hebron, according to the NGO. The report blasted other practices that it said violated human rights in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, included house demolitions, continued building of the security barrier outside the Green Line, and lack of enforcement of the law against "violent settlers." Dr. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor blasted the report for failing to mention the term "terrorism" even once, which he described as "another example of B'Tselem's very one-sided approach to the topic of human rights." "They condemn what they claim are Israeli activities under the cover of security as if the security issues were not serious," he said. "But that security is in place to protect the basic human right of staying alive." Steinberg did, however, say that he found it positive that B'Tselem mentioned Schalit and the Gazan rocket fire at Israeli communities in the southern coastal region and the western Negev. "The fact that they do this, unlike Amnesty International and Oxfam, provides a limited amount of balance, but that is not sufficient," he said.