The Palestinian Authority’s Minister for Detainees’ Affairs has said that the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons serving sentences of 20 years or more has now reached 130. Speaking during a visit to a recently-released detainee, Eissa Qaraqei said that Palestinians in Israeli jails have “broken world records” for spending such lengthy periods in prison under the “most horrible occupation in the modern era”.
Mr. Qaraqei described 2010 as “a period of ongoing conflict”, as it has witnessed confrontations and disputes between Palestinian detainees and Israeli prison administrators. The disputes, he said, often escalated the authorities’ “oppressive policies”, such as storming into cells and searching them, attacking detainees and imposing arbitrary punishments on the detainees and their families.
The Minister warned that continued detention of prisoners for long periods with no prospect of release can constitute a threat to prisoners’ lives. In his opinion, he added, the frequent and ongoing arrest campaigns create a state of instability and tension, especially due to the arbitrary and inhuman measures taken against prisoners by the Israeli occupation authorities.