An Israeli soldier fires tear gas canisters towards Palestinian protesters outside the compound of the Israeli-run Ofer prison near Betunia in the occupied West Bank on March 30, 2016. ©AFP
The Tel Aviv regime has jailed 43 journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories since October 2015 amid heightened tensions between the Israeli and Palestinians there, a New-York based rights organization says.
In a report released on Saturday, the Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists condemned the increasing number of detentions of reporters and called for their immediate release.
The committee further noted that journalists have reported torture, medical negligence, as well as unreasonable and illegal rulings during their detention in Israeli jails.
Among the 43 held in Israeli detention centers two were reported to be foreign journalists.
At least four of the 43 reporters were released in February and March, with 20 more — including a female journalist and a media student – still remaining in Israel’s custody, while others have been transferred to house arrest.
The report stated that three journalists are suffering from severe medical conditions.
The committee added that Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq is still recovering from his hunger strike that brought him close to death.
A Palestinian man takes part in a mock hospital scene depicting hunger-striking journalist Muhammad al-Qiq in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on February 13, 2016. ©AP
Qiq began refusing food on 25 November 2015 after he was detained without charge at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah. After 94 days, he ended his hunger strike after a deal was reached with Israel to drop the journalist’s detention.
The report was published to mark the annual Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.
Over 500 detainees are under the so-called administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the illegal and unfair administrative detention and to demand an end to the policy.