Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion has highlighted the continuing damage done to prospects for a renewed Middle East peace process by the Israeli policy of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention without trial of 4,800 Palestinians.Dr Bennion spoke out after members of the European Parliaments' Palestine Delegation (DPLC) took part in an international meeting on "Freedom and Dignity" in Ramallah, Palestine, to discuss the ongoing problem of the arbitrary arrest and detention without trial or charge of Palestinian political prisoners by the Israeli authorities.The full press release issued by the DPLC can be found here [http://philbennion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=107&catid=7&Itemid=196]There are currently more than 4,800 Palestinians including women and juveniles, being detained without charge. Most are held in prisons in Israel - violating the 4th Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners during an occupation. More than 200 Palestinians have lost their lives in Israeli prisons and detention centres since 1967, at least 71 of them allegedly as a result of torture, according to a statement made by 14 Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations.Commenting, Phil Bennion MEP said:"Without getting bogged down in polemic, it is important to stress how counter-productive arbitrary arrest and administrative detention is in terms of undermining the perceived legitimacy of Israeli policy with regard to Palestinians, and hindering the vital task of reinvigorating a peace process. The continued reports of torture, attested to by both Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations, are also important."I continue to hear evidence from Israeli NGOs, from activists here in the UK and even in the Israeli press that supports these allegations. There is widespread opposition to this practice by many within Israeli civil society and the wider community."The Israeli government must start listening to its own people, to its friends and allies and to the EU, its major trade partner and take steps to end this practice and work to put the peace process back on track."I fully support the call from the DPLC for the EU to fulfil its obligation to monitor closely the situation of Palestinian detainees and raise this issue at all levels of dialogue with Israel. This process must include a European Parliament fact-finding mission to assess detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners and the practice of administrative detention by Israel, as mentioned in the resolution the Parliament adopted on 14 March 2013."Israel's commitment to respect its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to the Palestinians, in the light of Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, must be taken into full consideration in the EU's bilateral relations with the country."