Palestinian prisoners are suffering in Israeli jails, especially those who have become ill following the bad detention conditions imposed on them by the Israeli Prison Service, as there is no concern for their health even in cases of serious illness.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, more than 6,200 Palestinian prisoners are being detained in Israeli jails with approximately 600 of those prisoners suffering from serious chronic illnesses which require immediate medical attention to save their lives.
Moreover, many of these prisoners have grown ill due to the harsh detention conditions and deliberate medical neglect imposed on them by the Israeli authorities.
President of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “Prisoners suffering from severe chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, kidney failure and patients with mental or physical disabilities, do not receive the necessary treatments for their conditions. They are instead given painkillers and basic medications just to keep them alive. No therapeutic treatments are provided to any prisoners with the conditions mentioned above.”
Fares pointed out that, “Many chronic illnesses develop due to a delay in diagnosis. In many cases, if a prisoner were to receive a medical check-up, their tests would be prolonged and can sometimes drag on for days if not months. That is, if a patient is even lucky enough to be examined in the first place. All of these conditions and policies further aggravate the disease.”
“Often, the state and condition of the prisoner are not serious; however, the lack of a precise diagnosis causes their health to deteriorate,” Fares added.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, there are about 20 cases of prisoners with permanent disabilities in the occupation’s jails and they are unable to move. There are four cases of disabled detainees who now reside in the prison hospital in Ramla.
According the organisation’s statistics, “about 25 prisoners are suffering from cancerous tumours and are in need of immediate medical treatment, which is not provided by the prison service. Approximately 160 prisoners suffer from severe chronic illnesses resulting from deliberate medical neglect and these prisoners continue to be neglected despite their immediate need for medical treatment.”
“Many of these diseases are directly caused by the policies carried out by the Israeli occupation, including the process of arrest. Not to mention, the conditions in which the prisoners live, Israel’s policy for the interrogation rooms and the state of the cell can all cause psychological and neurological diseases among the prisoners. More importantly, the way they are treated during detention, including increased assault and movement from one prison to the next, could perhaps lead to the development of some disabilities,” Fares explained.
Poor conditions among the prisoners can often be worsened in some cases by malnutrition, inadequate lighting and ventilation in the cells and prison itself as well as certain practices that are universally rejected as acceptable for prisons such as collective punishment, intrusions, and the use of tear gas in prisoner cells.