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Israel and Palestine: Detention

Volume 684: debated on Monday 10 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What recent discussions they have had with the Government of Israel regarding their detention of over 7,000 Palestinians, many of them detained for lengthy periods without trial.[HL6666]

Administrative detainees are held in both Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Israel Prisons Service (IPS) facilities. According to figures provided by the IDF to Israeli non-governmental organisations, the IDF was holding, as of 3 January 2006, 741 Palestinians in administrative detention. The IPS told our embassy in Tel Aviv that, as of May 2006, 617 administrative detainees were being held in IPS facilities.

According to the IPS, 6,223 security prisoners (those convicted by Israeli courts of terrorism-related crimes) were being held in IPS facilities in May 2006. A further 1,656 were being held awaiting trial. According to the IPS, security detainees are allowed family visits and are given medical and dental care. The International Committee of the Red Cross regularly visits IPS facilities and makes recommendations on conditions inside Israeli prisons to the Israeli authorities.

We remain concerned by Israel’s policy of administrative detention, particularly that of minors. We regularly raise our concerns with the IPS. We last raised the issue of Palestinian prisoners with the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 15 June, and our ambassador in Tel Aviv last raised this with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's special adviser on 22 March.