The Israel Prison Service on Sunday in Tel Aviv lamented that the number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons had soared following a wave of violence that started in October.
A spokesman for the prison system said 438 Palestinian minors were in the prisons’ custody in February, up from 170 in September.
He, however said that Dima al-Wawi, a 12-year-old girl, whose case received widespread attention in social and conventional media, was freed after over two months in Israeli detention.
The personnel said she was detained after she tried to stab them with a knife at the entrance to an Israeli settlement near the southern West Bank town of Halhoul where she lives.
He disclosed that Al-Wawi, who was said to be the youngest Palestinian detained in Israel, was received by family and Palestinian officials as she was handed over at a West Bank military checkpoint outside the city of Tulkarm.
Issa Qaraque, Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Minister, accused Israel of practising the “ugliest savage state oppression,” while Tulkarm Governor Issam Abu Bakr called the detention of children a “crime against all of humanity”.
Human rights organisations have protested Israel’s detention of minors.
They charged that Israel discriminated between Israeli minors who were subjected to Israeli civil law, and Palestinian minors, who are subjected to military law.
The officials said this was an indication that different rules applied to Palestinian minors from the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli military rule, allowing forces to detain them at a younger age than Israeli minors.
Meanwhile, Israel has accused radical leaders of inciting youths to violence and notes that boys as young as 11 have launched knife attacks against Israelis.
Several stabbing attacks have also been carried out by girls and women.
“Since October, Palestinians have launched scores of knife attacks against Israelis, protesting the ongoing occupation, as well as perceived violations.
“Some 29 Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians, many of them knife attackers, have been killed in the wave of violence,” they said.
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