The Israeli occupation authorities detained 330 Palestinians in March. The figure includes ninety children, six women, eight journalists and a parliamentarian, reported the Palestine Prisoners’ Centre (PPC).
In its monthly statement on Israel’s detentions of Palestinians and the conditions facing them in Israeli jails, the PPC said that last month’s arrests were made during 300 military operations across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Most of those detained are still behind bars.
The PPC’s spokesperson, Reyad Al-Ashqar, said that March witnessed an increase in the number of children detained by the Israelis. Out of the total of 90 children taken into detention, 50 were captured on the streets of Hebron in one day. Of the six women detained, one 14 year-old girl was interrogated in the absence of her parents or lawyer for several hours before being released.
Elected parliamentarian Ahmed Attoun had his appeal against his detention refused by the military court in Ofer; he was put in “administrative detention” without charge or trial for six months. The same court set down sentences on a number of Palestinians, ranging from two years for Intissar Al-Sayyad to life plus 60 years for Ishaq Arafah. Ms Al-Sayyad’s fellow female detainee, Alaa Al-Jaaba, had her hearing postponed yet again.
Al-Ashqar said that journalists arrested by the Israelis included Waleed Khalid, who has already served 18 years behind bars. Other journalists are being held in custody pending court cases; Sharif Al-Rajoub, however, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while Mahmoud Abu-Khader and Amer Abu-Arafa had their detentions extended for another six months.
Two of those detained during March, said the PPC, are disabled and seriously ill: former prisoner Feras Abu-Shokor is paralysed and deaf, while 16 year-old Naser Abu-Baker has debilitating kidney failure.
The organisation’s report notes the deterioration of the health of dozens of Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. Of prime concern is Maysara Abu-Hamdiyya, who has cancer but has been denied access to proper treatment. After a lot of external pressure, he has finally been admitted to Soroka Hospital.
Meanwhile, Mansour Mowqada, who is suffering from hemiplegia and lives on an artificial respirator, is also critically-ill. Critical health condition notwithstanding, Samer Al-Issawi is still on hunger strike after eight months. Fellow hunger striker Ayman al-Sharawneh was deported to the Gaza Strip after a severe deterioration in his condition.
According to the PPC, the Israeli occupation authorities have carried out several punishment measures against Palestinian prisoners, cutting water supplies to some prisons and depriving a number of prisoners of family visits. Solitary confinement is also a punishment used by Israel, with Sami Asaliyya joining others as a victim of such conditions after being subject to violent assault by his captors.
The PPC called on all human right organisations to intervene to stop Israel’s brutality against Palestinian prisoners.