Activist Says Number of Palestinian Inmates Rising amid West Bank Manhunt

Activist Says Number of Palestinian Inmates Rising amid West Bank Manhunt

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Israel's security forces conducted a raid in the West Bank’s village of Burqin, close to Jenin, over the weekend, arresting many Palestinians and claiming they are suspects of terrorist activities.

A similar operation has also been conducted in the West Bank city of Hebron, where a number of Palestinians have been captured.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Jewish state has arrested 2,140 Palestinians, primarily in the cities of Jerusalem and Jenin, pushing the overall number of inmates to more than 4,000 people.

Many of those arrests occurred in April, when scores of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem during Israel's violations on the Temple Mount, a hill that houses the Al Aqsa mosque.

Sahar Francis, director general of Addameer, an NGO that fights for the rights of Palestinian inmates, says those who have been arrested are held in dire conditions.

"These people are subjected to daily harassment. Their basic rights are violated, and they face degrading treatment".

In 2015, a Knesset report found that Palestinian prisoners were being held in crowded cells, with each inmate getting roughly two meters of space. In addition, the study has revealed that they were deprived of frequent visits, and that their right to medical assistance has been restricted.

Addameer also has a long list of the way Israeli prison authorities deal with sick Palestinian prisoners. According to the data provided by the NGO, Israeli prisons now house over 600 sick Palestinians, including 22 inmates with cancer, some with tumors.

Their failure to receive much-needed treatment as a result of "Israeli medical negligence" could cost them their lives, Francis claims.

Another source of concern is the psychological state of these inmates.

In 2021, Israel increased the number of prisoners placed in solitary confinement following the escape of six prisoners from the Gilboa prison in Northern Israel in September 2021. By the end of March 2022, they totaled 29, people and Francis says it has become one of the "most dangerous Israeli practices". However, she adds that it has only been one of many.

"In addition to solitary confinement, Israel has also enacted a series of illegal collective penalties imposed on all Palestinian prisoners", said a statement released by Addameer.

"It imposed lockdowns of all prison sections, it shut down canteens, and forcibly transferred over 350 inmates (from Gilboa) to unknown locations across Israel... (Parallel to that) it has also issued about 400 administrative detention orders against students, female journalists, children and the elderly, (allowing) Israeli authorities to hold these Palestinians without charges or a legal trial," the statement added.

Francis says she and her organization have been trying hard to cater to the needs of the Palestinian inmates. They have been raising awareness about their rights in local, regional and international arenas. They have been fighting their battles in court. However, the activist says it's difficult to beat the system.

"The whole system is designed to maintain the oppression and the control, and that includes the investigation bodies that are responsible for verifying our complaints about torture and ill treatment."

"Those complaints are always denied. Cases are closed because of what Israel calls insufficient evidence", she continued.

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