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Israel has arrested 66 journalists in West Bank since Oct. 7: NGO

Anadolu Agency ASIA
Published April 04,2024

Israel has arrested 66 journalists in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of its war on the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7 last year, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said Wednesday.

This came after Israeli authorities arrested 32-year-old journalist Asmaa Nuh Hreish at her home in Ramallah in the central West Bank on Wednesday morning.

The non-governmental organization, which was established in 1993 to support political prisoners in Israeli occupation jails, said in a statement that "the number of journalists detained from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since Oct. 7 reached 66, with the occupation keeping 45 of them detained, including four female journalists, the latest being journalist Asmaa."

It noted that her arrest "adds to the arrest of her father Nuh and her brother Ahmed."

The NGO said this escalation "comes within the framework of wide-ranging arrest campaigns carried out by the occupation army since Oct. 7, including the notable recent increase in the arrest of women."

The Palestinian Prisoners Club reported that "23 of the detained journalists have been transferred to administrative detention (without charge) under the pretext of having a (secret file), including journalists Ikhlas Sawalha and Bushra al-Taweel."

As for the majority of the remaining detained journalists, "charges related to incitement (against Israel) on social media platforms or by media outlets" were directed against them, it said.

The organization said "the occupation has, over the past decades, pursued a policy of arresting journalists alongside a range of policies, crimes and violations against them in a continuous attempt to silence their voices and fight the Palestinian narrative."

It renewed its call on international human rights institutions to "assume their necessary responsibilities in light of the continuation of genocide against our people in Gaza and the targeting of all segments of Palestinian society through wide and systematic arrest operations."

According to the Prisoners Club, the total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons until the end of March exceeded 9,400, including 3,661 administrative detainees.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip after a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

More than 456 Palestinians have since been killed and around 4,750 others injured by Israeli army fire in the occupied territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which last week asked it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza, where nearly 33,000 people have been killed.