Israel has imprisoned 20 percent of the Palestinian population – at one point or another – since the 1948 occupation of Palestine by what later became the state of Israel, according to a Wednesday report by the Ramallah-based Palestinian government.
“Some 800,000 cases have been documented of detained Palestinians – from all walks of life – in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem,” read a statement by Abdel-Nasser Farwana, chief statistician at the Palestinian Prisoners Ministry.
According to Farwana, the 800,000 documented cases represent around 20 percent of the total current Palestinian population, which stands at some 4.2 million.
“At this moment, Israel still holds 5243 Palestinian prisoners, 85 percent of whom hail from the West Bank,” Farwana said.
Farwana’s remarks come as Palestinians prepare to mark 66 years since the onset of the Israeli occupation, to which Palestinians refer as the “Nakba” (“the catastrophe”).
In 1948, as the self-proclaimed Jewish state declared its “independence,” some 800,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes in historical Palestine to make way for the newcomers.
Most sought refuge in neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.
Palestinians commemorate the Nakba on May 15 of each year.
In recent decades, Israel and the Palestinians have struck several prisoner exchange deals. The most recent of these now remains on hold after Israel refused to release scores of Palestinian prisoners – despite earlier pledges to do so – amid a crumbling U.S.-sponsored peace process.
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