Record Number of Palestinians Being Held in Israeli Prisons

The last three months of 2015 saw a significant rise in the number of Palestinians being held Israeli custody, alongside with the rise in violent incidents. The number of administrative detainees as well as the number of women and minors in custody is the highest they have been in years.


Under the Freedom of Information Act, B’Tselem receives monthly updates from the Israel Prison Service (IPS) about the number of prison inmates in its custody. The figures are received a month’s delay and reflect only the number of persons being held on the last day of the month in question. Therefore, Palestinians imprisoned and released in the course of the month do not enter into these figures. B’Tselem also receives updates on the number of prisoners being held by the military: These figures are much lower, and the individuals are held only briefly. They are not included in the information provided below.

At the end of December 2015, the IPS was holding 6,066 Palestinians on what Israel defined as security grounds – the highest number since the end of July 2010. This category does not include Palestinians held for entering Israel without a permit, an act that the authorities consider a criminal offense, notwithstanding its inherent difference from other criminal offenses. From the end of September to the end of December 2015, the number of inmates held on security grounds went up by 822 (an increase of 15.6%). The sharpest rise was in October:

The last quarter of 2015 also saw a marked change in the statistical breakdown of inmates according to the legal category under which they were being held: the number of sentenced prisoners dropped from 64.7% to 56.8%, while that of administrative detainees rose from 6% to 9.6% and persons remanded in custody rose from 26% to 28.7%.