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Increasing psychological and neurological illness among Palestinian prisoners

February 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The phenomenon of prisoners of war is one of the most significant consequences of conflict between nation states or in countries subject to occupation. There is no doubting the fact that the experiences of these individuals are brutal and constitute severe trauma psychologically, socially or economically. Moreover, their return to normal life following their release from captivity carries with it numerous difficulties arising from the ordeals they have been forced to endure. This includes the prolonged separation from their communities, families and loved ones as well as the torture, oppression, humiliation and deprivation of liberty they have experienced at the hands of their captors. Like many others which have experienced the ravages of war and have been subject to occupation, Palestinian society has suffered acutely from this phenomenon and expects to continue to suffer from it in the future.

A report published by the Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs and Released Palestinian Prisoners has revealed that since 1967 the Israeli occupation authorities have detained approximately 800,000 Palestinian civilians; that’s about 25 per cent of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. Based on this, the indication is that more than 70 per cent of Palestinian families have had at least one member of the family detained at one time or another. This includes the detention of individuals from every stratum of Palestinian society; women, children, the young and the old; no one is spared. A variety of inhumane practices and violations are carried out against Palestinian detainees and their families in contravention of all international humanitarian laws and conventions. This has resulted in a large majority of them suffering from various physical and psychological disorders.

In this report, we will seek to identify and shed light on some of the most important psychological and neurological disorders that afflict Palestinian prisoner.