Palestinian Detainees in Israel’s Prisons
Following a rare heavy snowfall that covered Jerusalem and hilly areas in the occupied West Bank overnight into Thursday, and shut down roads and schools, Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails are suffering from the cold due to a lack of heating.
"All detainees suffer from shortages of clothes and blankets and the lack of heating means that could protect them from the cold weather," the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)-run Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs said in a statement. The statement added that Israeli authorities also hindered and restricted the entry of cold-weather clothing and blankets to the inmates. It added that Israel's inhumane policy is part of a systematic effort to erode Palestinian detainees' determination and resilience.
The statement demanded that international human rights groups intervene to help the Palestinian detainees.
As of last December, Palestinian NGOs estimated that there are around 4,600 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, with at least 600 suffering from illnesses as well as 160 juveniles and 34 women inmates.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS), "the number of prisoners martyred in the prisons of the occupation has risen to 228 martyrs since 1967, including 72 prisoners who died as a result of the crime of medical negligence."
Prison is a disturbingly common experience for Palestinians. Around one-fifth of the population has at one time or another been imprisoned since the occupation began. Thousands of Palestinians have been held under "administrative detention', without being charged or even told what crimes they are suspected of having committed. In jail, Palestinian prisoners live in appalling conditions and are subjected to harsh treatment. Human rights groups have documented various forms of physical and psychological abuse: arbitrary beatings, excessive use of solitary confinement and the denial of family visits.
The Israeli government has used administrative detention as a frequent method of political control since its occupation of the Palestinian territory began in 1967. The Israeli military can hold Palestinian detainees for six-month periods, which may be renewed and extended indefinitely. Palestinians who are in Israeli jails do not have good living and health conditions.
In October 2021, expressing grave fear for the lives of five Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, UN experts called on Israel to either release or charge the prisoners, and to completely end its unlawful practice of administrative detention. “In violation of international law, Israel continues to use administrative detention to imprison more than 500 Palestinians – including six children – without charges, without trials, without convictions, all based on classified secret information that the detainees have no access to,” the experts said. “They have no recourse to challenging these undisclosed allegations, and they do not know when, or if, they are going to be released.”