BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel has detained nearly the same number of Palestinians they freed in the first stage of a prisoner exchange deal in the two months since the swap, a prisoners group said on Thursday.
Israeli forces detained nearly 470 Palestinians since the Oct. 18 release of 477 prisoners from Israeli jail in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Ramallah-based rights group Addameer said.
"This wave of arrests reveals that the exchange deal has not deterred Israel’s policy of detention of Palestinians; rather, Israeli prisons are being refilled with almost the exact number of Palestinians that were released in October," the prisoners group said.
Seventy children have been detained in the two months since, Addameer said. In the past two weeks, 11 children were arrested in Jerusalem refugee camp Shufat and 10 in Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, according to figures from the rights organization.
Further, 11 women have been arrested, two of whom are still in custody and three are under house arrest, they said.
In the second phase of the prisoner exchange, 550 prisoners are set to be released on Sunday. Gaza prisoners ministry official Riyad al-Ashqar said on Thursday that six women and 55 children were among those slated for release.
But Addameer said it was "concerned" about the implications of its figures for the period following the next phase of releases.
The rights group highlighted that arrests targeted politicians and protesters in West Bank villages.
Since Oct. 18, Israel detained two PLC members renewed the administrative detention orders of six, and sentence another lawmakers to 30 years in jail.
Among villages holding weekly non-violent protests against Israel separation wall and settlement expansion, forces detained 17 people in Beit Ummar, two in Bilin, three in Nabi Saleh and two in al-Walaja during the same period, the group said.
There are 4,937 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails, according to latest figures collected by Addameer.