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NGO: Israel uses 'organized terrorism against Palestinian media'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces arrest Al Jazeera journalist, Givara Budeiri, during a protest in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on June 5, 2021. (Photo via Twitter)

An NGO promoting media freedom says more than a dozen Palestinian journalists are being held in harsh conditions in Israeli jails in contradiction to international law, denouncing the regime for practicing “organized terrorism” to silence Palestinian media.

The Journalists’ Support Committee (JSC) said in a statement on Saturday that seven of the 17 Palestinian journalists have already been sentenced, while five others are being incarcerated under the so-called “administrative” detention — a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

The journalists’ rights group added that five members of the press in the occupied territories are awaiting their verdicts as well.

The JSC warned against “the delay in issuing verdicts against the prisoners who have been detained for several years without charge,” describing the policy as “a blatant violation of international law and human rights.”

“The occupying Israeli regime practices organized terrorism against Palestinian media in an attempt to silence Palestinian journalists and undermine the steadfastness of Palestinian people,” it said.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated without charge or trial.

Palestinians and human rights groups say “administrative detention” violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence. 

Rights groups describe Israel’s use of “administrative detention” as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on the regime to bring the practice to an end.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said Israeli officials issued 1,595 such detention orders against Palestinians in the occupied territories in 2021, with 200 Palestinians detained under the inhumane policy in May when the regime launched the 11-day war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The PPS said 60 Palestinian detainees, who were mostly held without trial or charge, have resorted to hunger strike to regain their freedom, including Hisham Abu Hawwash. Abu Hawwash, who had been on hunger strike for 141 days, agreed earlier this month to end his fast after reaching a deal with Israel to be released next month.

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