Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli authorities have arrested more than a thousand Palestinian citizens and Israeli Arabs since last Oct. 1, the start of the third "intifada of the knives" that has caused the death of 53 Palestinians and an Israeli Arab. There have been eight Israeli victims. According to reports from the human rights group Palestinian Prisoners Club, based in Ramallah, West Bank, most of those arrested are young men or women.
The majority of arrests, 221, occurred in the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank, an area often the scene of clashes and violence; there are 500 Jewish settlers living in the area amid tight security and surrounded by at least 200 thousand Palestinians.
The next area is East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel, with 201 arrests made in the area, followed by the city of Ramallah, also in the West Bank, with 138 arrests. In addition at least 160 Israeli Arabs have been detained because involved in clashes and violence.
87 Palestinians have been placed under administrative detention, which allows authorities to hold suspects for long periods, without charge, and which can be renewed every six months. That measure, once applied only to Palestinian militants, now also applies to Israelis although critics are skeptical about how often it is applied.
Palestinian Prisoners Club activists point out that over 6 thousand Palestinians are still detained in Israeli prisons, of which at least 420 are under administrative detention.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of wanting to change the "status quo", giving the green light to Jews to access and pray on Temple Mount. Strongly rejecting the allegations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has ruled out a possible "international presence" in the holy place as suggested by France during a UN Security Council meeting.