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Report unveils the use of Palestinian detainees for Israeli medical testing

A Palestinian report unveiled that Israel exploited Palestinian prisoners as laboratory samples to test new drugs – produced in the laboratories of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Several years ago a number of medical organizations as well as health and humanitarian institutions warned of the abuse of Palestinian prisoners through the conduct of such tests on them.

The Palestinian Ministry of prisoners' affairs reported that, "As this issue is coming to the surface again, it raises many serious concerns among the Palestinian prisoners and their families, who are worried about their children's future and their health status in Israel jails."

The report explained that the fear now is not due to the medical negligence, lack of medicines, malnutrition and the poor medical care provided to the prisoners – despite the importance of all these – but to the Israeli medical departments' failure to observe humanitarian standards. The report also highlighted that this situation is incompatible with the fundamental ethics of the medical profession which can be summarized mainly in the fact that the purpose of a doctor's mission is saving the life of the patient and relieving any pain that can affect his health psychologically and physically.

In a special research carried out by the International Solidarity Foundation (ISF) on this issue, the Israeli physicians' role in occupation jails was summarised in three main duties that contradict the profession's ethics notably by extracting confessions from prisoners by use of force.

The physician's first duty is to prepare a special form on the detainee's condition, called physical fitness form, where the doctor identifies the initial physical weaknesses in a Palestinian detainee's body after conducting some preliminary tests. Then he informs the investigatory department about the results which would then be used to pressure the captive and force him to confess.

The second duty is to hide the effects of torture and abuse in the detainee's body before any submission to the court or any visit by human rights and/or humanitarian organizations.

As for the third role, it is to extort the detainee and use the prison medical centre to connect clients with the prison administration for transferring information about detainees through these clinics. The most serious task carried out by those physicians, which was stressed upon by ISF, is using the Palestinian prisoners for testing the Israeli medicines and medical ingredients.

The paper reported that these trials and tests are not conducted by the prison and investigation services, but mediated by the Israeli Ministry of Health that is engaged with supervising, monitoring, and preparing scientific studies on the detainees' response to medicines, pharmaceuticals, syringes and chemicals that they are offered.

Israel Ministry of Health operates such acts within the normal organizational Israeli chain, like the usage of laboratory animals in its labs, since it considers these as a legitimate scientific act that violates human dignity and poses a threat to their lives.

According to the ISF report, the Israeli Parliament Member and Chair of the Parliamentary Reform Commission of Science, Dalia Isaac, had revealed earlier, in a Knesset session facts about the running of 1,000 tests of unofficial medical drugs on Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.

Foreign and Western magazines revealed that most of these experiments are usually carried out on Palestinian and Arab prisoners who are ignored by their governments and those not regularly visited by human rights organizations or parents during their detention. This ensures the confidentiality of such testing and enables the Israelis to avoid accusations of maltreatment.

Source: Quds Press

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