Israeli violations against prisoners have escalated significantly since last October 7 (Quds Press)



The Palestinians document daily the crimes committed by Israel and its army that fall under the terms of the war of genocide, hoping that the occupying state will be held accountable one day, and among these crimes are what were recorded against prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Violations against prisoners have greatly worsened in recent months, according to the testimonies of those released from inside the “neighborhood cemeteries,” as the prisoners prefer to describe them, especially since they have become closed to international human rights organizations, led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose delegates Israel has stopped visiting the prisons. From October 7th until today.

The head of the Prisoners' Club, Abdullah Al-Zaghari, says - in an interview with Al Jazeera - that recent months have witnessed gross human rights violations and serious violations of international agreements that protect prisoners in times of war.

He explained that all the practices carried out by the occupation army and the Israeli Prison Service against the prisoners are “inhuman and immoral violations, and are completely similar to the treatment of the Nazi German army with the prisoners of World War II, and the treatment of the American occupation soldiers with the prisoners of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib prisons,” considering that what is happening in Israeli prisons express the extent of racism in the mentality of the occupation at all levels.

He pointed out that all the occupation's aggressive behavior in the West Bank is purely vindictive, and this is evident through the method of arrest, as the occupation soldiers break into homes after blowing up the doors, entering the bedrooms of the prisoners and their families, and immediately attacking all individuals and the person to be arrested.

Al-Zaghari says that the number of prisoners in the occupation prisons has increased significantly since October 7, with the total number of detainees now reaching about 9,000 prisoners, a large number of whom were arrested after the “Al-Aqsa Flood.”

He added that the largest percentage of prisoners who were arrested were transferred to administrative detention, and their number reached 3,400, and the number of female prisoners exceeded 90, and about 250 children so far.

The journey of the male and female prisoners’ suffering, torture and abuse begins with the first moment of arrest, as the occupation army besieges the home of the Palestinian male or female citizen, which is what happened with the prisoner Haneen Al-Masaeed from the Aida Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem, who was arrested last October, and was released. It was included in the deals to release prisoners during the current war.

Al-Zaghari (center): The number of prisoners in the occupation prisons has increased significantly since the “Al-Aqsa Flood,” reaching about 9 thousand prisoners (Al-Jazeera)

Stories of female prisoners

Al-Masaeed told Al-Jazeera's correspondent that on October 11, the occupation army barbarically raided her house. They gathered her family members into a room and then took her mobile phone and said that there was an order for her arrest, as she did not expect to be arrested and she expected that the raid would be for inspection like the rest. Homes, as happens every day, but she was surprised when they informed her that there was an arrest warrant in the name of Hanin Al-Masaieed.

Regarding the process of transferring the detainee, Al-Masaeed says, “After I was arrested from my home, they took me to an Israeli police car, and next to me was a female soldier carrying her phone and playing Hebrew songs loudly and putting the loudspeaker on my ears as psychological torture. She also put a sticker on my eyes and I was tied with my hands for 4 hours, and this was "The hardest thing."

She added, "After that, they took me to the detention center in a prison called Sharon. This was a 4-day detention. It was one of the most difficult prisons, as the female guards would beat the female prisoners and take our blankets from us at six in the morning. Food was only a meal a day, and the female prisoners were subjected to very brutal treatment, as they did not respect us. After the end of the four days, they transferred us by post to Damoun prison, which contains all the female prisoners.”

Al-Masaieed confirmed that the most difficult thing in the prison was the complete isolation of the female prisoners from the outside world.

Regarding the arrest of Palestinian women and what they are exposed to, the head of the Prisoner’s Club says that the rate of arrests of women has increased, especially among underage girls, university students, and liberated female prisoners who have been subjected to torture, ill-treatment, and intentional neglect, adding that there is a lack of providing special needs for women, as they live in harsh conditions inside prison rooms. In light of the lack of clothing, treatment, blankets, and food, with the aim of humiliating the female prisoners.

He pointed to the media blackout on what the female prisoners in Gaza and male prisoners are experiencing, explaining that the testimonies that were documented indicate that they were subjected to beatings, insults, and threats of rape, which requires immediate action from international institutions affiliated with the United Nations and other human rights institutions.

Brutally beaten

Prisoner Jaafar Abayat, who was released a few days ago from Megiddo prison after spending 17 years in the occupation prisons, says that the prisoners are subjected to the worst forms of abuse and persecution after the attack on them began in the first three days of the war after the seventh of last October.

According to Abayat, the violations included attacks on the prisoners in their rooms and the confiscation of all their clothes, necessities, food, and blankets. Televisions, radios, and all chairs and tables were also taken away, leaving them in the rooms with almost nothing, indicating that all of these achievements were achieved by the prisoners in strikes and struggle. Inside the prisons by the prisoner movement over many years, as the occupation authorities restored the prisons in the 1950s.

On the other hand, a prisoner who was released last January and preferred to remain anonymous said that the prisoners are living in the Negev prison - which he described as “a slaughterhouse like Guantánamo prison” - suffering, as a result of the extreme cold, the lack of food and drink, and the lack of water for bathing. And no covers.

He stated that he and the prisoners were beaten in their rooms over a period of continuous days until the day the prisoner Thaer Abu Asab was martyred simply because he asked one of the guards: Is there a ceasefire?

The guard responded to him threateningly: I will show you, and he summoned units that stormed Abu Asab’s room and beat him in the face with an iron stick. Two days later, the prisoners learned of his martyrdom.

Freed prisoner Haneen Al-Masaeed (left) with her mother (Al-Jazeera)

Willful negligence

Recent months have witnessed the occupation authorities forcing Palestinian prisoners to strip naked and giving them numbers instead of their names in an attempt to humiliate and oppress them, in addition to the occupation soldiers transmitting videos of attacks on prisoners via social media sites to brag about their crimes.

Freed prisoner Jamil Al-Daraawi - from the village of Al-Ubaidiya, east of Bethlehem - who was released on January 11 after 18 years of detention, says that the conditions in the occupation prisons are very difficult in all aspects, starting with the continuous assault and taking away the prisoners’ belongings, and ending with the prevention of visits. And food and ending with preventing treatment.

He added that prisoners with chronic diseases were suffering from medical neglect, and today their suffering has doubled, especially those suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases, after the occupation stopped giving them medicine, treatment and medical follow-up, in addition to preventing Red Cross visits to them since the start of the war.

Among the prisoners who were subjected to torture and abuse was prisoner Kamal Abu Arab from the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, who was arrested 20 months ago and released on January 22 of last year.

Abu Arab says that one of the most prominent attempts to humiliate prisoners is the morning and evening count, where the guards enter and count the prisoners by giving each prisoner a number instead of his name. Recently, after the war, the guards force the prisoners to kneel, and whoever refuses is brutally assaulted, which led to the martyrdom of 7 prisoners.

Regarding the availability of food, Abu Arab explains that the food is very poor and small in quantity.

What contributed to the spread of more diseases was that the occupation authorities prevented prisoners from bathing, in addition to confiscating their clothes while keeping only one piece of clothing, as the prisoners were forced to wash and wear it while it was wet, according to Abu Arab.

International silence

The head of the Palestinian Prisoner's Club, Abdullah Al-Zaghari, says that the Prisoner's Club has recorded cases of attacks with the aim of insulting the dignity of prisoners by forcing them to kiss the Israeli flag and stand for the Israeli anthem.

In his opinion, the international human rights and humanitarian system failed miserably because it was unable to pressure the occupation to stop its crimes against the prisoners, and was content with issuing reports and statements of timid condemnation against Israel. “We primarily hold the Red Cross responsible in this aspect because they are the ones with the expertise in the field of following up on the conditions of the prisoners and ensuring the state’s commitment.” occupied by international agreements.

Al-Zaghari concluded by saying that the testimonies of prisoners about the torture, humiliation and neglect they were subjected to in Israeli prisons show the urgent need for immediate intervention by international institutions to stop these violations and oblige the Israeli government to abide by human rights conventions, the most important of which is the Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects prisoners in times of war.

For his part, the official spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ziad Abu Laban, explained, in response to Al Jazeera’s questions, that the committee has not visited prisons as was usual before October 7 until now, stressing that resuming visits is their highest priority.

Source: Al Jazeera