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Detentions continue in West Bank as medical treatment is condemned

Israel's occupation forces have detained at least 19 more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank during night raids in the territory. The arrests took place as the standard of medical treatment in Israeli prisons was condemned by campaigners for prisoners' rights.


Israeli troops swept into Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem last night, searching two houses before taking two former prisoners, Ghassan Foad and Raafat Darweesh, away to an unknown destination. Witnesses said that Israel's arrest of five Palestinians, including two minors, in Beit Fajjar neighbourhood in Bethlehem was "horrifying and violent". Saleem Taqatqeh, Aziz Deriyeh and Majdi Thawabteh, along with his cousins Montaser, aged 16, and Alaa 14, were also taken to unknown destinations.

Similar Israeli actions took place in Hebron, Balata Refugee Camp and Nablus where journalist Baker Oteeli is known to be among those detained. Many of those taken away by the Israelis have not been identified formally.

Meanwhile, a group campaigning for prisoners' rights has condemned the medical treatment available to Palestinians being held by Israel as two more prisoners were taken to hospital. Abdullah Qandeer of "Waed" said that Mohamed Al-Taj from Tobas, who is suffering from chronic lung disease, is expected to die soon unless he does not receive proper treatment. According to a lawyer acting for the Palestinian Prisoners' Forum, Mr. Al-Taj was rushed to the clinic at Al-Ramleh Prison, which has a very poor reputation for its lack of proper care and facilities for treating sick prisoners.

A former prisoner who spent 15 years serving in the clinic at Al-Ramleh said that there are six gates through which a prisoner needs to pass when it is agreed to conduct medical tests. This process may take up to several hours. "During my service at Al-Ramleh," he told MEMO, "I have seen two prisoners die at those gates."

The Forum's lawyer also confirmed that Maysara Abu-Hamedyya has been taken from his prison cell to an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv to be treated for cancer.

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