The number of Palestinians and their supporters arrested in Israel over the last few weeks, considerably exceeds the number that were released yesterday- human rights groups have noted. Seven of the prisoners named for release had actually been out of prison for one week already, as they completed the full term of their sentences. There are currently 6,000 people in prison. The Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds, report that out of the 339 prisoners freed, 163 would have been released soon due to imminent full completion of their terms. Of the rest - 31 were due to be released this month; 33 were due for release this September; 29 were due for release this October; 18 were due for released in December, 2003; 13 were due for release in January, 2004; 13 were due for released in February 2004; 9 were to be released in March, 2004. The remaining 17 would have been freed by September 2004. In the meantime the number of new arrests by Israeli forces continues to grow. In the early hours of Tuesday 5 August, Israeli soldiers stormed into a Peace Camp in the West Bank village of Mas'ha, near Salfit. This area was chosen because the Apartheid separation wall is set to pass through it. Scores of peace activists tried to prevent a bulldozer from destroying the house where they were staying. Forty-eight human rights activists were detained by the Israeli army, and then arrested by Israeli police. They were transferred to a detention centre in the Ariel settlement. Out of the 48, seven were Israeli, and 34 were foreign nationals, including several Christians, from the USA, Italy, Japan, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Germany and France. The Israeli Ministry of Interior deported one Italian woman. The rest were released, but were warned that should their activities continue, they would be expelled. Source: Palestinian Monitor
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