The head of the Popular International Committee for Gaza has blasted the US envoy to the Middle East for ignoring the plight of the Palestinians while making his call for Hamas to return Israeli soldiers captured during the 2014 military offensive against the Gaza Strip. Dr Essam Yousef criticised Jason Greenblatt for turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinian people.
“Israel and its supporters in the West, including the US and its envoy, do not respond to the demands of human rights organisations for an end to the violations of Palestinian prisoners’ rights,” said Yousef. “Too many are still held in ‘administrative detention’ with neither charge nor trial, and all face medical negligence and inhumane conditions.” He renewed his call to highlight the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, noting that their plight is still being marginalised by the international community.
“The list of violations against prisoners is long,” the veteran campaigner pointed out. “It includes solitary confinement with the intention to humiliate the prisoners, banning family visits, depriving prisoners of basic needs such as winter clothes, and keeping them in overcrowded conditions.”
Yousef denounced Greenblatt’s claims and said that the US administration is “blind” to the suffering of the Palestinian people and their fate. “We have been turned into a population of refugees, prisoners, martyrs and displaced families having to endure the decades-long Israeli occupation.”
The Committee head referred Greenblatt to the fact that Israel is holding more than 7,000 Palestinians in its prisons, while he concerns himself with just two Israeli soldiers who were captured while on active duty inside the occupied Palestinian territories. “Don’t US officials know that more than a million Palestinians have been detained by Israel since its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip started in 1967, and that the occupying state is imprisoning children in violation of international human rights law?” he asked. “Hasn’t the US administration got ears to hear about the suffering of more than 2 million men, women and children in the ‘prison camp’ known as the Gaza Strip?”
Dr Youssef stressed the Palestinians’ legitimate right to resist Israel’s military occupation of their land. He called upon the international community to take this issue seriously and act to end the “nightmare” of the Israeli occupation.