According to the Centre for Prisoner Studies in the Palestinian territories, there are 2,000 sick Palestinian and Arab detainees being held in Israeli prisons. This constitutes 25% of the total number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody. Sixteen of these prisoners are seriously ill with cancer.
In a press release, the human rights group stated that the total number of Palestinians and Arabs held by Israel now stands at about 8,200, ten percent of whom come from the Gaza Strip. Five hundred detainees originate from Jerusalem and inside Israel itself, the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948. Those being held, often without charge, include 380 children and 34 women.
The Centre's statement highlights the impact of Israeli policies which violate the rights of Palestinian prisoners, citing the imposition of solitary confinement, the blocking of visits and carrying out humiliating searches of prisoners' families. The Centre also mentioned cultural deprivation, as well as policies of medical negligence towards sick prisoners, especially those with chronic diseases.
"Meeting these policies with silence encourages the Israeli government and the management of the Israel Prison Service to persist in their violations and to continue to interfere with principles of human rights as well as international laws and conventions," said Raafat Hamdouna, the centre's director. He called upon human rights and humanitarian organizations to put pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to allow the entry of specialized doctors to treat chronic cases within prisons and to end their abuse of Palestinian and Arab prisoners.