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Palestinian mothers fear giving birth in Israeli prisons

May 21, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Palestinian women attend a protest in solidarity with female Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, outside the Red Cross office in Gaza city on December 22, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

Fear and anxiety have taken a toll on Palestinian mothers who are forced by circumstances to give birth while being held in Israel’s brutal prison system, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) has confirmed. Israel is currently holding at least 80 Palestinian women prisoners.

Aisha Hilal Ghaidan, 34, and Jihad Mahmoud Ghawanmeh, 33, for example, both languish in the notorious Damoun Prison under what is claimed are false pretences. Both are pregnant. Ghaidan is nearing the end of her seventh month of pregnancy, while Ghawanmeh is in her fourth month.

According to the PPC, they are held in “tragic and difficult conditions” and “lack the basic minimum necessary healthcare” provisions. Despite repeated demands for them to be released, the Israeli occupation authorities insist on keeping them in captivity over unsubstantiated allegations of “incitement”.

Ghaidan is a mother of five children and was arrested on 4 April. Her sister Aina was arrested on the same day but was later granted conditional release pending trial. The Israeli army had previously arrested their mother, Khadra, who was later released, as well as two of their brothers. All faced “incitement” charges.

The Israeli occupation army arrested Ghawanmeh, who has four children, in the Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. Her medical records show that she suffers from anaemia, and so has special nutrition and healthcare needs. Four of her brothers are also being held by the occupation state.

Since the beginning of the genocidal war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on 7 October last year, Israel has been alleging “incitement” as the excuse of the arrest of thousands of Palestinians.

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