Palestinian researcher Abdul-Naser Ferwaneh has revealed that Israel is holding 4,600 Palestinians spread across 17 of its prisons. The specialist in prisoners' affairs said that 83 per cent of the prisoners are from the West Bank, ten per cent are from the Gaza Strip and the remainder are from the Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 (what is now called Israel).
According to Ferwaneh, there are 182 children are among the prisoners, 11 women, 184 administrative detainees, 13 elected Palestine Legislative Council members and three former ministers. The total number of prisoners includes dozens of academics, politicians and technicians.
Around 1,200 prisoners, according to Ferwaneh, have health issues. They are being denied medical treatment, including 20 prisoners staying in what is called "Al-Ramleh Hospital". The researcher said that 18 prisoners are suffering from cancer and 85 are disabled. Many complaints have been made about the conditions for prisoner-patients in Ramleh.
More than one hundred of the prisoners have been in jail since before the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1994; 531 are serving at least one life sentence, with more than 70 having been in jail for more than 20 years already. Twenty-three have been behind bars for 25 or more years.
Prisoner Ayman Sharawneh has been on hunger strike for 172 days and Samer al-Isawi has been on hunger strike for 142 days; their protests receive very little publicity, even though there are at least four other prisoners who joined the hunger strike about one month ago. All are protesting against their administrative detention.
Mr. Ferwaneh, who is himself a former prisoner, called for all human rights organisations to act to save the lives of the prisoners on hunger strike and to find a solution for all the Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli jails.