With the onset of the winter season and the Covid-19 outbreak the torment of Palestinians held in Israeli jails worsening. The eyewitness testimony of former prisoner Ali AlMoghraby shows Israeli Authorities not only prevent the entry of winter clothes and blankets but they stop hot water in the bathrooms and provide no heaters. This is despite the demand for Israeli occupation authorities under international law to provide the prisoners with all their basic needs. The suffering of the Palestinian prisoners like the rest of the Palestinians seems to bypass the liberal west that shouts about Human Rights and respect for Law.
Ali Moghraby added that the Israeli prison forces routinely carry out night break-ins. This involves forcing the prisoners out of their cells into the cold and freezing weather and throwing their possessions out in the yard. They leave poorly clothed prisoners in the exposed condition for hours without any protective winter cloths and occasionally their possessions get wet.
Hanadi Almoghrabi, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank, talked about her husband and her 15-year-old son who are both in Israeli custody. With silently crying she said with pain, “the inhumane treatment and the cold weather has made her child and husband very weak and sick”. She added that the Israeli authorities deny to pass on blankets and warm clothing she takes”. Hanadi lives in constant fear for the lives of her loved ones. She feels overwhelmed and helpless as she explains that Israeli authorities do not provide detainees with their minimum needs of protection from the pandemic. More than 170 items, including cleaning and disinfectants, have been removed from the prison.
Israelis hold more than 700 prisoners who are classified as medically ill. There are around 500 Palestinians who suffer from chronic diseases related to or exacerbated by the cold such as rheumatism, joint pains, chronic stomach issues, haemorrhoids and kidney disease. Five Palestinian prisoners have died of medical negligence so far this year.
The Prisoners Affairs Commission said in a press release this week that 140 Palestinian prisoners had tested positive with Covid-19. And they warned due to the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in prisons, this makes fertile ground for the pandemic to spread among inmates. Several Palestinian human rights organizations have sounded the alarm about the potential increased fatalities and that the world is witnessing an Israeli policy created humanitarian crisis in the Israeli prisons.