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Israel-Hamas truce extended to a seventh day: Live updates


6:00 a.m. ET, November 30, 2023

Palestinian prisoner releases shed light on Israel’s controversial justice system in the occupied West Bank



A bus carrying a group of 30 freed Palestinian prisoners arrives in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on November 30.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Fatima Shahin spent seven months in an Israeli prison. Authorities initially accused her of attempted murder of an Israeli in the occupied West Bank, but she was never charged with any crime.

On Friday, the 33-year-old from the West Bank city of Bethlehem was freed, one of the 39 Palestinians released that day in exchange for Israeli hostages as part of the truce between Israel and Hamas.

Like Shahin, the majority of those released so far were detained and hadn’t been charged, put on trial or given an opportunity to defend themselves. Some say they weren’t even told why they were being detained.

Some of the Palestinians were held under a murky military justice system that theoretically allows Israel to hold people for indefinite periods without trial or a charge.

Israel has been operating two distinct justice systems in the West Bank since it captured the area in 1967. Palestinians living there fall under the jurisdiction of Israel’s military court system, where judges and prosecutors are uniformed Israeli soldiers. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers there are subject to civilian courts.

A legal adviser at the Israel Defense Forces’ International Law Department told CNN on Wednesday that the different systems were in place because under international law, Israel is not allowed to “export” its own legal system to the West Bank.

B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, a non-governmental organization, says the courts “serve as one of the central systems maintaining Israel’s control over the Palestinian people.”

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