Kidnappings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces on the rise

Close to 20 Palestinians have been kidnapped in the last three days in the occupied Palestinian territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem.

May 22, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Kidnapping of Palestinians

Close to 20 Palestinians have been kidnapped by Israeli occupation forces over the last three days, from the occupied territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On the night of May 19 and the dawn of May 20, Israeli forces kidnapped six Palestinian citizens from the West Bank, including a Hamas official. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society, two of them were kidnapped from Ramallah. They were later identified as Ghazi al-Darbani from Kafr Malik town, and Adel al-Khatib from Arura town.

Three other Palestinians were abducted in separate raids in the al-Khalil and Silat al-Harithiya towns in Jenin. Senior Hamas official Sheikh Ibrahim Abdul-Razzaq was also picked up from his home in Tayasir town.

Raids were also conducted in the occupied East Jerusalem region where three Palestinians were kidnapped, including a child. According to reports, Yazan Farroukh, aged 16, was kidnapped from his family home in the Louza neighborhood of Silwan. The forces reportedly broke into the home, and damaged household items and family property. They confiscated the family members’ mobile phones before kidnapping Farroukh. Israeli police also kidnapped Naser Qaws and Nayaz al-Salaima from the neighborhood of al-Masrara.

On the morning of May 19, Israeli forces conducted massive raids in the West Bank, kidnapping three Palestinians. They were picked up from different places and were later transported to secret locations for interrogation. Amer al-Zayyah, one of the three, was kidnapped at day break from his home in al-Khader town in Bethlehem, according to local residents.

The Israeli forces also ambushed the nearby town of Tuqa, firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters at the homes of Palestinians. An unidentified young Palestinian man was arrested at a checkpoint northeast of Bethlehem. At the Qalandia checkpoint, north of occupied East Jerusalem, the soldiers stopped ex-detainee Obada Jouba and took him into custody again.

A Palestinian girl was detained near the Ibrahimi mosque in the southern West Bank province of al-Khalil on the evening of May 19. An Israeli TV channel claimed that the 22-year-old was stopped at a checkpoint near the mosque and searched, and was subsequently detained after a knife was found in her bag. She was then taken to an undisclosed location for further interrogation for an alleged stabbing attempt.

Israeli occupation forces conducted raids on Friday night as well, kidnapping two Palestinians and raiding several Palestinian homes. Ex-detainee Hussein Bassous, a resident of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, was detained at a checkpoint near Jerusalem. A few young men from the West Bank were also detained for one and a half hours after they returned from the al-Aqsa mosque through the Qalandiya crossing. An unidentified young Palestinian man was shot and injured and later kidnapped near the Ibrahimi mosque.

At dawn on Friday, Israeli forces ransacked some homes in at-Tuwani, east of Yatta in al-Khalil. They also raided Qusra town, southeast of Nablus, several hours after settlers infiltrated into an area in Asira al-Qibliya and set fire on cultivated fields near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.

This systematic and widespread campaign of regular raids and kidnappings to instill fear among the Palestinians, and to keep them suppressed, is a serious violation of international and humanitarian laws. In 2018 alone, 6,489 Palestinians were kidnapped, including 1,063 children, 140 women, 6 legislators and 38 journalists. The detainees face very harsh conditions and are often denied access to medical treatment. They often face the prospect of solitary confinement, and are forced to live in small, cold and damp cells with no covers. They are also subjected to torture, extended interrogation, and have exorbitantly high fines imposed on them. Abducted Palestinians are threatened with violence against their loved ones as well.

A majority of the kidnappings took place in the occupied West Bank, with 4,495 detainees, which is 69.3% of the total kidnappings. 27.8%, 1,803, were kidnapped from occupied East Jerusalem, and 191, 2.9% of the total were abducted from the Gaza strip. Among the Palestinians still in detention, 87% are from the West Bank, 8% from occupied East Jerusalem, and 5% from the Gaza strip. At least 6,000 Palestinians are currently being held in 22 prisons, detention centers, and interrogation facilities in Israel. 23 Jordanian and Syrian nationals are also among them.