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PA: 'Palestinians suffering under collective punishment'

The entire Palestinian population is being held hostage to the whims of the Israeli occupation forces following the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers in Hebron, a statement published today by the Ministry of Information said.

"Israel Occupation Army launched a massive manhunt and door-to door-searches in the occupied Palestinian Territories grabbing dozens of Palestinians. The search for the three allegedly missing Israeli teens has been accompanied by widespread arbitrary arrests," the statement entitled Palestinian People under Collective Punishment said.

The Palestinian Prisoner Society said 46 people were detained in Hebron, 23 in Nablus, 16 in Ramallah, 12 in Jenin, four in Bethlehem, five in Tulkarem, five in Qalqiliya, five in Jerusalem, six in Tubas and two in Salfit.

"Inside the city of Hebron, Israeli paratroopers fanned out across the streets, sealed off most entrances to the city and no cars were allowed in or out of the city," the report said.

The ministry said: "Palestinians view the Israeli campaign with deep skepticism. The disparities between how the Israeli media reacted to the allegedly missing three teenagers – compared to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including more than 200 arrested in the last 24 hours – has made it hard to take the campaign seriously and evoked questions related to the credibility of the Israeli story."

It explained that the settlers were kidnapped from an area which is under full Israeli control and not governed by the Palestinian Authority. "By blaming the State of Palestine, Israel is putting pressure on the Palestinian Unity Government," it said.

In the statement the ministry called on the international community and international human rights organisations to protect the Palestinian people against "the Israeli collective punishment".


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