Palestinians were delighted at the success of 6 prisoners ‘escape from Gilboa prison where Hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank demonstrated in support of those prisoners who escaped from the high-security prison of Gilboa.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, all the detainees who escaped are from the city of Jenin, four of whom are sentenced to life imprisonment. They are Mahmoud Ardah (46 years), who has been detained since 1996, Muhammad Ardah (39 years), who has been detained since 2002, and Yaqoub Qadri (49 years), who has been detained since the year 2003. In addition to them are Al-Zubaidi, and Munad Anfaat, both of whom have been detained since 2019.
The detainees crossed through a tunnel dug from the cell in which they were staying to outside the prison, and the excavation process took six years without the prison guards noticing these actions.
However, this joy has not been continued after the occupying army announced the arrest of four of these escaped detainees. And fears escalated about the fate of the prisoners who were re-arrested, beaten and tortured. Local media reported that the prisoner Zakariya Al-Zubaydi the leader of the escape operation was transferred to an Israeli hospital after his health deteriorated during the interrogation.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club renewed its invitation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit prisoners, to check on their health and to prevent them from being singled out for a long time, as that would endanger their lives.
Israel’s reaction after the escape
In response to this operation, the Israeli forces arrested at least six relatives of those prisoners for questioning. The Director of the Human Rights Watch Office in Israel and the Palestinian Territories considered these arrests to be a mafia action, since systematic resort to collective punishment by the Israeli Government is illegal.
The Israeli occupation have carried out brutal repression against the prisoners in section “3” in Gilboa prison, after the prisoners’ escape and confirmed that they are working to transfer about 400 detainees from Gilboa prison in anticipation of the existence of other tunnels. Official Palestinian sources, reported that the prison authorities escalated their mistreatment of prisoners, and made “shifts” in all prisons.
Gilboa Prison located in northern Israel, with very high security nature, in which prisoners accused of carrying out operations against Israel are held, it is one of the most heavily fortified prisons of occupation in Israel. It’s nicknamed the “Iron Safe” because of the provisions of its procedures to prevent any attempt to escape from it and is called “Israeli Guantanamo” by Palestinian prisoners.
The number of prisoners inside Gilboa prison is currently about 400, including more than 70 prisoners from various organizations, which Israel classifies as the “most dangerous security.” Two prisoners were martyred in Gilboa prison in 2005 and 2007 as a result of medical neglect, and the prison witnessed 3 failed escape attempts, the last of which was in 2014, when Islamic Jihad prisoners dug a tunnel and it was discovered at the last moments and their escape attempt was thwarted.
Palestinian detainees ‘situation in Israeli prisons
The escape of the six prisoners has highlighted the situation of detainees in Israeli prisons, where 4850 Palestinian prisoners are trapped in occupation prisons, in the midst of great suffering as a result of the violations to which they are subjected. Detainees are distributed to 23 prisons and detention centers, which are described by law institutions as the worst in the world.
According to the latest statistics of the Prisoners’ Affairs Authority, out of the total number of prisoners, there are 43 women, and 225 children. More than 500 prisoners – according to the authority – suffer from various diseases, including dozens of people with disabilities and cancer patients
The Prisoners Affairs Authority says that the number of administrative detainees (without trial) in Israeli prisons has reached about 540 administrative detainees. The data indicate that 34 prisoners have been detained for more than 25 years, while about 13 prisoners have been detained for more than 30 years. The prisoners were engaged in a hunger strike in refusal to administrative detention and the number of prisoners who have fought this battle since the beginning of 2021 has reached about 50 prisoners.
According to international human rights organizations, the detention of Palestinians without informing them of the charges against them, enabling them to defend and discuss evidence, constitutes a serious denial of fair trial guarantees under international law, a flagrant violation of human rights.
The Israeli prisons have become a scene of torture and oppression, which has cast a shadow over the minds and psyche of hundreds of prisoners, who are released after long years of imprisonment, and return to Palestinian society, while they are not physically or psychologically healthy.
Silent reaction of international community’s to Israeli abuses
Palestinian people and officials in addition to the humanitarian organizations used to call upon the international community, on all occasions, to assume the responsibilities of the Contracting States Parties under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and take action to ensure that the occupation carries out its legal obligations towards the prisoners, and to pressure it to release them, especially the sick, the elderly, the women and children of the minors in addition to the old prisoners. However , the silence of the international community on the conduct of the criminal occupation, the policy of arbitrary detention, including of children, and its systematic violations against Palestinian prisoners, their families and their rights have contributed to the continuation of these abuses by Israeli power.