At least three Palestinian security officials have been arrested and a number of Palestinians detained since the start of the year, according to a report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in the West Bank.
The arrests are part of an overall crackdown against Palestinian activists, according the PCHR, which has also said that hundreds of Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces.
“We have seen the effects of Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and activists, who have been arbitrarily detained, beaten, threatened, arrested, and detained, for a long time,” said Ahmad Abed, PCHR’s Middle East director.
Abed said the arrests have forced many Palestinians to leave the West Wall, which he said is currently used by Palestinian security personnel and is “under siege”.
“They are not free to enter the West Jerusalem area, and Palestinians have no legal right to enter it, nor have they any legal means of obtaining permits for their travel,” he said.
While the arrests are largely confined to security forces, the PCHR also found that the Israeli military is also involved in the arrests.
“[Israeli forces] are often present at checkpoints and have often used the pretext of stopping cars for checkpoints, arresting people for no reason other than to collect their ID cards,” Abed said.
“The [Israeli] military has no responsibility for arresting people.
The only reason they are arresting people is because they have the authority to do so.”
Abed described the situation as “catastrophic” and said that Palestinians are being targeted because they are “the real targets of the occupation”.
He also accused the Israeli army of “using the pretext to harass Palestinian women” and “harming” their health.
“Israelis are not protecting the Palestinians in their homes and businesses.
The occupation is not respecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.
This is an assault on the Palestinian rights,” he added.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Palestinians must accept “a two-state solution”, adding that “they have to accept that they are part and parcel of Israel”.
“This means that they have to respect Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace, without discrimination,” he told a conference.
Earlier this month, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down amid mounting tension.