There are hundreds of Palestinians like Ahed Tamimi: denied bail and held in detention until the end of their trials. Over 400 more are imprisoned without ever being charged with a crime.
While the case of Ahed Tamimi has garnered international media attention, the Israeli military prison system’s treatment of Ahed and her mother is not unique. Israel Prison Service (IPS) statistics published by Israeli anti-occupation organization B’Tselem earlier in January reveal that Israel is holding over 300 Palestinian minors in prison. Over 180 of those minors are being held in detention until the end of legal proceedings, without having been convicted, like Tamimi.
According to IPS data handed over to B’Tselem, as of the end of November 2017 there were 5,881 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, of whom 1,775 were being detained until the conclusion of legal proceedings. Over 400 were administrative detainees, including three women and two minors (aged 16 and 18). Administrative detention is a measure Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and some Jews) indefinitely without charge or trial. It is meant to be adopted rarely and with moderation. In practice, however, Israel uses administrative detention as a first, not last, resort.
In total, 2,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails without having been convicted of any crime.
The data shows a sharp increase in the number of imprisoned minors over the past three years. In December 2014, there were 181 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails. By December 2015, that number had jumped to 477. The total number of Palestinian administrative detainees peaked in April of 2016 at 692.
B’Tselem spokesperson Amit Gilutz condemned the systematic practice of denying bail to Palestinian defendants in Israeli military courts in a statement issued on Wednesday, following the rulings in Ahed and Nariman’s cases. “The routine decision, prior to sentencing, to imprison a person who has not been convicted until the end of legal proceedings in fact empties the legal process of substance,” he said.
The military court system, Gilutz continued, “is one of the most destructive apparatuses of the occupation whose goal is not to pursue justice or truth but to maintain Israeli control over the Palestinian people. So it is in the case of the Tamimi family, and in hundreds and thousands of other cases.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article left out the year during which there were 181 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails. It was 2014.