Roee Nahmias, YNetnews
July 7, 2008
In bid to increase Palestinian public pressure, official newspaper for Palestinian Authority reports of 'medical experiments' being conducted by Israel on Arab, Palestinian prisoners. 'The Israeli occupation is killing prisoners through slow deaths,' claims director general of prisoner affairs center at Al-Quds University
Incitement in the Palestinian media is far from rare, but with Israel on the cusp of a prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah and the fate of a similar deal for Palestinian prisoners still far from being finalized – the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper is trying to ratchet up the pressure.
In a series of reports published in the 'al-Hayat al-Jadida' newspaper Israel is accused of poisoning Palestinian prisoners in its custody and conducting "medical experiments' on them.
In a special report issued on Monday by 'Palestinian Media Watch,' an Israeli institute that monitors Palestinian news outlets, excerpts from recent articles published in the paper – which is under the authority of PA President Mahmoud Abbas – which allege the prisoners are being poisoned.
"The occupation forces continue to conduct medical experiments on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in their facilities, this goes against all international treaties and conventions. And this is not limited merely to a policy of medical neglect, but violations that include using prisoners as trial subjects for medication," the paper wrote three days ago.
"Many of the male and female prisoners were given injections from needles they had never seen before, that led to permanent hair loss and facial hair loss. There are prisoners who have lost their sight and their sense, those who have lost their sanity and those whose mental condition is increasingly deteriorating, there are prisoners who have become barren and cannot reproduce," the article said.
'A slow death in prison'
In a report from Sunday the paper accused Israel of killing Palestinian prisoners. The report quotes the director-general of the 'Abu-Jihad Center for Political Prisoners' Affairs' at the Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem, Fahed Abu Al-Haj, as saying that "the Israeli occupation is wiping out prisoners through slow deaths."
Al-Haj asserts that 226 prisoners have "died as martyrs" in Israeli prisons.
The paper goes on to report that Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, while serving as chairperson of the Science and Technology Committee "discovered in July 1997 that there were thousands of dangerous experiments being conducted every year on Palestinian and Arab prisoners. She said at the time that her office had thousands of permits from the Israeli Health Ministry given to the big Israeli pharmaceutical companies, allowing them to carry out trials on Arab and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails."
Mrs. Itzik's office responded that she had never said any of the statements attributed to her. "This is nothing but cheap propaganda and things taken out of context to validate false theories," the speaker's office said.
'Experiments – just like the Nazis'
It should be noted that this is not the first time such allegations have been made. Similar claims have appeared in the Palestinian media throughout the years and comparisons have frequently been drawn between the reports and Nazi medical experiments.
Palestinian Media Watch says a report from September of last year says: "We have many examples of the experiments conducted by the Nazis, but we will bring one example that is very similar to the Israeli experiments, and that is where poison was injected into the prisoners food in order to study how it affects humans and then conduct autopsies on those who die as a result.
The monitoring institute says that the purpose of the current round of reports is to stir Palestinian public opinion ahead of the imminent prisoner exchange agreement.
At the request of the institute, the Health Ministry addressed the claims: "There have not been, nor are there currently, any experiments being conducted on inmates in prisoners, nor have any been authorized."