Israel’s perpetual violations of Palestinians’ basic rights in its prisons, including torture, repression and assaults are under the spotlight with dozens of sick Palestinians detainees’ lives are in danger.
As of May 2022, 4,600 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails and detention centres amid very difficult detention conditions.
The number of sick Palestinian prisoners has reached over 600 prisoners, 200 of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses, including 22 prisoners with cancer and tumours of varying degrees. The most dangerous of these cases is Nasser Abu Hamid, who is in critical health as he battles lung cancer.
According to Palestinian estimates, more than 200 Palestinians have lost their lives in Israeli prisons since 1967 as a result of torture, lack of medical care or gunshot wounds. Seven were shot, 72 were tortured to death and 59 died due to lack of medical care. Some 60% of the prisoners have suffered “brutal physical assaults.”
Cancer-Stricken Palestinian Prisoner At Imminent Risk of Death
Nasser Abu Hamid, who has been in prison since 2002, has lung cancer and recently started to take doses of chemotherapy after long Israeli procrastination and deliberate medical neglect.
He began to fall ill in August 2021 with chest pain. Doctors found and removed a lung tumour.
The prisoner was moved back to Israel’s Ashkelon jail where his condition worsened, after his access to chemotherapy was deliberately delayed more than once.
Abu Hamid is one of five brothers from the same family, handed life sentences by Israel. A sixth brother from the same family was killed by Israeli forces.
100m Letter to Red Cross outlining Israeli Violations against Palestinian Prisoners
In an effort to highlight the suffering of their imprisoned fathers and mothers, dozens of Palestinian children delivered a 100-metre-long letter to the Red Cross officer in Gaza City outlining the Israeli ongoing violations against the prisoners.
The Palestinian childrens draw attention to the suffering of their parents in the Israeli occupation prisons and the dangers they are exposed to, and to demand serious work for their release.
Palestinian Prisoners’s Right to Health Care in Israeli Prisons
Israeli authorities are persistent in unlawfully detaining thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. As an occupying power, Israel breaches its obligations under international law to provide health care to Palestinian detainees and prisoners. This is evident in their inhumane treatment of Palestinian detainees and prisoners (leading to the deterioration of their mental and physical wellbeing) and the both medical negligence and restricted access to health care during the pandemic.
As an occupying power, Israel is bound by international law to ensure Palestinian detainees and prisoners receive the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health care12. Nonetheless, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) restricts their access to health care.
Medical treatment in prisons is often inadequate, with treatment frequently intentionally delayed or withheld. When examined, prisoners are usually only given over-the counter painkillers without any follow-up.
Israel has the moral and legal obligation to protect those under its control and ensure their right to health, including Palestinian prisoners and detainees. More pressure needs to be brought to bear on Israel by Palestinian authorities and local and international organisations to protect the health of all imprisoned Palestinians.