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Arab League calls for international protection for Palestinians held by Israel

Palestinian children take part in a protest demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza city, on November 29, 2016 [Mohammed Talatene/Apaimages]
Palestinian children take part in a protest demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza city on 29 November 2016 [Mohammed Talatene/Apaimages]

The Arab League called on Sunday for international protection for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, Anadolu has reported. Such protection should aim to put an immediate end to their suffering, an official statement added.

Marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day, the organisation said that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails "suffer violations classified as war crimes that need an International Criminal Court ruling." The international community, it insisted, should bear its "legal and ethical responsibilities" to oblige Israel to respect international law by dealing with the Palestinians it is holding as prisoners of war.

Read: 1m Palestinians detained by Israel since 1948

Calling for Arab and international human rights groups to expose Israeli violations against the Palestinian prisoners, the Arab League also called for an international mission to investigate the conditions in which they are held in Israel's prisons. It accused Israel of "the worst physical and psychological torture" against Palestinian prisoners.

The umbrella body highlighted the deteriorating situation of those Palestinian prisoners who fall ill and are often neglected by the Israeli authorities. It pointed out that 210 sick prisoners have died due to medical neglect, mentioning Mohamed Al-Jallad, the latest of such prisoners, who died in February.

Palestinians started to mark Palestinian Prisoners' Day in April 1974, when Israel released Mahmoud Hijazi in the first prisoner swap between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation state. This year, senior Fatah MP Marwan Al-Barghouti – who is serving multiple life sentences in Israel – called for a mass hunger strike on 17 April in protest at the conditions of around 7,000 Palestinian prisoners inside 22 Israeli prisons. It is expected that 1,000 prisoners will join the strike.

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