Head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana said that around 20% of the Palestinians “have been arrested by Israel since the Nakba of 1948”
In his statement to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe) that coincided yesterday Thursday 15th of May, and which Anadolu Agency was able to obtain a copy of on Wednesday, Ferwana stated that, “the period following the Nakba was the most brutal and criminal in comparison to what followed, where physical torture was prevalent, seeking to inflict direct harm, adopting the policy of expulsion and mass exiling of detainees, as well as the mass and individual executions of the detainees”
According to Ferwana, since 1948 over 800 thousand cases of arrests of Palestinian citizens have occurred across all sectors and segments of the Palestinian society in the Gaza strip, West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem, constituting approximately 20% of the total population exceeding 4 million and 42 thousand (according to the Central Bureau of Palestinian Statistics)
In the previous years, a number of prisoner swaps have occurred between Israel and Palestine, releasing thousands of the hostages from the Israeli prisons, the first of which took place 23rd July 1968 between the PLO and Israel, and the last of which occurred on the 11th of October 2011, in return for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by the Hamas movement.
Ferwana pointed out that Israel “still holds in its prisons and detention centres 5243 Palestinian detainees, 85.3% of which are from the West Bank, the remaining 14.7% are from Gaza, Jerusalem and the 1948 territories. He added that this is the most updated report for the Israel Prison Service, as well as 28 detainees from other nationalities.
The Palestinian director added that from the total number of detainees there are 18 female detainees, the oldest of which is Lena Jerboni, detained since 2002, and 196 minors under 18 and 200 administrative detainees, all held without charge or trial, and 11 deputies as well as a former minister.
He added that “The Israeli occupation forces executed large numbers of citizens after arresting them, then proceeded to execute others who had escaped massacres and genocides, after detaining them for minutes or hours.”
In regard to this matter, Ferwana called for the world at large, and for the “champions of democracy and human rights” to stand in solidarity with the detainees, and to highlight the folder of routine arrests, presenting it to all regional and international forums to demand the release of all the detainees and to close this file.
Palestinians commemorate the 15th of May every year the memory of the Nakba, which is also the anniversary of the announcement of the state of Israel on the 14th of May 1948, in response to the United Nations decision to split Palestine between the Palestinians and the Jewish settlers, displacing around 800 thousand to western and Arabic countries.
In 1948, armed Jewish groups destroyed around 531 Palestinian cities and villages, committing massacres leading to the loss of more than 15 thousand Palestinians, according to official Palestinian figures.