Israel arrests as many Palestinians as released under truce deal: Reporttext_fields
As a fragile truce between Israel and Hamas continues to pave the way for the exchange of hostages and prisoners held on both sides, however, it is unlikely to reach its aim as Israel is reported to have arrested as many Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the last few days.
The truce, mediated by Qatar, commenced on Friday and was initially set for four days, but has been extended for an additional two days.
Responding to Israel's continuing arrest of Palestinians, the Palestinian Prisoners Society commented that the release of prisoners would remain an unachieved goal as long as Israel continues to arrest Palestinians as part of their occupational agenda.
During the first four days of the truce, Israel released 150 Palestinian prisoners, including 117 children and 33 women. In return, Hamas released 69 captives, consisting of 51 Israelis and 18 individuals from other nations. However, the situation took a contentious turn as Israel concurrently arrested at least 133 Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Palestinian prisoner associations.
Amany Sarahneh, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners Society, emphasized that the arrests are an ongoing practice linked to the broader policy of occupation against Palestinians. Despite the truce, the arrests have persisted, raising concerns about the potential for rearrests of those recently released.
The conditions under which Palestinians are held have deteriorated since October 7, with reports of severe beatings, lack of medical attention, and overcrowded cells. Six Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli custody during this period, and released prisoners have testified to the abuse experienced in Israeli prisons.
Despite the release of prisoners being a positive development for many families, the worry looms large as the majority of those freed are frequently rearrested by Israeli forces in the days, weeks, and months following their release. The uncertainty regarding guarantees from Israel against such rearrests adds to the anxiety among the released individuals and their families.
The situation in Ramallah reflects the mixed emotions surrounding the truce, with streets flooded by people welcoming the freed prisoners. However, the fear of potential rearrests casts a shadow over the celebrations.
The history of rearrests, especially after previous prisoner exchanges in 2011, contributes to the scepticism surrounding the current truce.
While the truce has provided a momentary respite, the underlying issues of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem persist. Nightly raids into Palestinian homes by Israeli forces have been a consistent feature, leading to arrests even on comparatively calm days.
The broader context of the conflict, marked by a long history of hostilities, makes the path to a lasting peace challenging. The recent extension of the truce for an additional two days indicates an ongoing negotiation process, but the uncertainty surrounding guarantees for released prisoners remains a critical point of concern.