April 17, 2016 - Saed Bannoura
The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) have reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped around 1.000.000 Palestinians, including tens of thousands of women and children, since occupying the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in 1967. Two detainees died in 2015 due to being denied access to specialized medical treatment.
In their joint report marking April 17, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, the Detainees’ Committee and the PPS said the Israeli army has kidnapped, since the beginning of “Al-Aqsa Intifada,” in late September 2000, until this day, more than 90.000 Palestinians, including 11.000 children, 1.300 women and girls, and 65 elected legislators and government ministers.
The report also revealed that Israel issued nearly 15.000 Administrative Detention orders, holding detainees for months, and in many cases for years, without charges.
It added that the current number of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, is at least 7.000 persons, including 70 women and girls, held in 22 prisons, detention and interrogation centers.
“Since October 1st 2015, the Israeli army has kidnapped at least 4.800 Palestinians, including 1.400 children, mainly from Hebron and Jerusalem”, the report said, “These abductions targeted children, elderly, youngsters, men, women and mothers, teachers, journalists, writers, artists and workers…”
The youngest Palestinian child currently imprisoned by Israel is Deema al-Wawi, 12, from Halhoul, north of Hebron. She was taken prisoner on February 9, 2016, after the soldiers claimed they “searched her school bag and located a knife.”
The ‘Ofer Israeli military court later sentenced al-Wawi to four and a half months, and ordered her family to pay a fine of 8000 Israeli Shekels. She was frequently interrogated under harsh conditions without any legal representation or the present of an adult family member.
Eyewitnesses denied the Israeli claims and said that the soldiers assaulted the child and abducted her, because she was walking close to an illegal colony (built on Palestinian lands) on her way to school. Al-Wawi is scheduled to be released by the end of this coming April.
Among those kidnapped in the same period are 43 Palestinian journalists, who were kidnapped in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
The report also said that the abductions and imprisonment violate the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law, and all related human rights agreements, especially considering that Israel tortures most of the detainees, in addition to carrying out terrifying dawn and late night invasions into Palestinian homes.
“The conditions those detainees face are extremely difficult; they are subjected to different sorts of torture, including psychological,” the report said, “They are held without legal representation, and face constant violations.”
“Testimonies and documented cases show that in virtually 100% of the cases studied, the detainees have been subjected to a form of torture or abuse; this includes physical violence, psychological abuse, and public humiliation,” the statement added, “They are even humiliated and assaulted in front of their families after the soldiers invade their homes to kidnap them”.
In addition, the report added that Israel is currently holding 750 Palestinians under Administrative Detention, under alleged “secret files,” which are not allowed to be seen by the detainees, or their lawyers.
As for ailing detainees, there are currently more than 1700, including 23 in the Ramla prison clinic. Many prisoners with illnesses and injuries remain in their cells, and are given only painkillers. 25 of these prisoners suffer from different types of cancer, and are deprived of the right to specialized medical treatment.
The report also revealed that two Palestinian detainees died in Israeli prison in 2015, after being denied the right to specialized medical treatment, and that the number of detainees who died in Israeli prisons since 1967 is 207.
The first detainee who died in 2015, is Ja’far Awad, 22, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron; he died on April 10, 2015, of various diseases he suffered after he was kidnapped and imprisoned by the army. He suffered from diabetes and pneumonia, as well as various gland issues and numerous complications.
The second detainees is Fadi Ali Darbi, 30, from the northern West Bank city of Jenin; he died in October 2015, after suffering from various health complications, then suffered a stroke that put him in a coma for many days. This led to brain death, then death.
Israel also rearrested more than 70 Palestinians who were released under the Shalit Prisoner Swap agreement in 2014, including detainee Nael al-Barghouthi, who had previously been imprisoned for 34 years.
47 of them had their previous sentences re-imposed on them – in direct violation of the terms of the release agreement negotiated with the Palestinian Authority. These include, in several cases, multiple life-terms, after Israel formed a special committee to look in their cases. One of them is Samer al-‘Eesawy, who held an extended hunger strike until Israel approved his release, and the army kidnapped him again later.