Israel operates one of the world’s most unconscionable gulags. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners fill it.
Fundamental human rights are denied. Torture, ill-treatment and medical neglect are commonplace.
In February, Arafat Jaradat was lawlessly arrested. On arrival in detention he was healthy. He had no history of health problems.
Shin Bet interrogators brutalized him. They did so mercilessly. They tortured him to death. Severe upper body bruising, blisters, and blot clots were visible. He had multiple broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs. He died in severe pain.
Dozens of other Palestinians perished the same way. Some did in prison. Others succumbed after release. Shin Bet killers remain unaccountable.
They continue cruel and inhuman treatment. They do so with impunity. Their rap sheet is one of the world’s worst.
Palestinian prisoners suffer horrendously. Conditions they endure include severe overcrowding, poor ventilation, deplorable sanitation, inadequate clothing, wooden planks with thin mattresses and filthy blankets, poor food in terms of quality, quantity and conformance with dietary requirements, poor medical care, and restricted or no access to family members and counsel.
Isolation is worse. Alone or with one other prisoner, lockdown runs 23 hours daily. Most cells are 1.5 by 2 meters to 3 by 3.5. Little light or air gets in. Conditions resemble entombment. International law is violated.
Longterm isolation causes severe anxiety, panic attacks, lethargy, insomnia, nightmares, dizziness, irrational anger, confusion, social withdrawal, memory and appetite loss, delusions and hallucinations, mutilations, despair and hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, and inability to live normally outside prison.
Since 1967, over 200 Palestinian prisoners died in captivity. Dozens did from torture. Dozens more from medical neglect. Treatable illnesses go unaddressed. It’s standard Israeli practice.
Palestinian Prisoners Club president Kaddura Faris said “Israel is killing prisoners through deliberate medical neglect.”
The Supreme Council of Prisoners petitioned international authorities. It asked them to pressure Israel to treat sick detainees.
Its plea went unanswered. World leaders do nothing. They don’t give a damn about Palestinians’ health, welfare and rights.
Israeli medical neglect killed Maisara Abu Hamdiyya. On April 2, he succumbed. He did so shackled painfully to his Soroka Hospital bed. He called going there “another journey of suffering.” He was 64. He suffered from advanced throat cancer. It spread to his spine.
Israel bears full responsibility. Days earlier, he lost bodily movement. Death was imminent. In August 2012, he complained of throat soreness and neck swelling.
Proper treatment was denied. Biopsy results were concealed. Severe pain increased.
He began losing weight. He lost his voice. In January, it was entirely gone. He was fading. He had little time to live. He wasn’t told he had cancer until March. It was way too late to save him.
He was born in Hebron. He challenged occupation harshness. He joined the Union of Palestinian Students. He studied electronics in Cairo. He earned a law degree in Beirut. At home, he faced repeated arrests.
He spent four decades in exile. In 1969, he was first imprisoned. He worked in Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Jordan. He risked arrest at home. He was detained numerous times. He was held administratively without charge or trial.
Post-Oslo, he worked for the newly-formed PA Preventive Security Force. On June 2, 2005, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. It was extended to 99 years. He committed no crimes.
He was a leader. He taught, wrote and inspired. Young prisoners admired him. He was a role model. In 2007, he developed a painful stomach ulcer. He endured willful medical neglect. He explained his ordeal on Facebook, saying:
“The intentional negligence starts during the treatment, when the doctors receive orders to not cure the patient but to give him painkillers without any restoration of the damaged parts.”
“These instructions come from the Israeli security apparatus, and the goal is to keep the prisoners alive but not cured to be a lesson to others.”
He said heart disease patients only get painkillers. A paralyzed one got abdominal injections. Intestinal damage followed.
Former hunger striker Khader Adnan explained how ill prisoners are mistreated. “Some were beaten occasionally. Others were chained by their arms and legs to their hospital beds.”
“Still others were placed in some sort of cages and totally ignored.” Israeli prisons are “horrifying place(s).”
Since 1967, medical neglect and mistreatment caused dozens of Palestinian deaths. Hundreds incarcerated today need medical care. What’s given is minimal at best.
It’s barely enough to keep them alive. Release comes only when death is imminent.
PA Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said 25 other Palestinian prisoners have cancer. His deputy, Ziad Abu-Ein, says “Israel no longer is entrusted with the safety of prisoners.”
On March 31, over 30 Eshel Prisoner detainees began hunger striking. Guards attacked them with batons and tear gas. Isolation followed.
PA authorities spurn their own people. They ignore their rights. They enforce occupation harshness. They let innocent Palestinians suffer and die.
Mondoweiss contributor Jessica Purkiss commented. PA officials conspire with Israel. They’re occupation enforcers. They betray their own people. They’ve done so since Oslo.
“The special relationship between the PA and Israel is no secret,” said Purkiss. Al Haq general director, Shawan Jabarin, added:
“I know well the security cooperation between the PA and Israel hasn’t stopped at any time. The political talks and negotiations have stopped, but the security coordination has always continued.”
“Israel, the US, Arab states, and Europe, they all need the PA to continue. It is not in their interest to destroy the PA or for it to collapse.”
“Israel and the US use that pressure to the PA in the ceiling of what they want to do. Politically speaking, it is a servant for Israel and still takes all the responsibility.”
Oslo created the PA. Its an Israeli puppet. Its role is enforcer. “When one third of the population is dependent on a wage from the PA,” said Purkiss, “it becomes clear that to keep the general public in favor of the PLO, the PLO must keep Israel in its favor.”
Doing so violates Palestinian rights and welfare. PA officials share responsibility. They do so with Israel. One-third of its budget goes for security. Israel alone benefits.
“Not only is it recognized here that the PA is openly sharing files with Israel’s notorious intelligence agency, the Shin Bet,” said Purkiss, “there is no attempt to hide the fact that the entity of the PA has been created solely for this purpose, as a ‘tool.’ ”
It spurns its own people. It lets them suffer in prison and die. It does nothing to intervene and help. Disingenuous rhetoric rings hollow. It substitutes for action. It never comes.
On April 3, the Jerusalem Post said 4,500 Palestinian began hunger striking. They’ll do so for three days or longer. They’re protesting Hamdiyeh’s death.
Clashes occurred across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers confronted protesters violently. Dozens of injuries followed. Arrests were made. Israel compounds murder with excessive force. It’s standard Israeli practice.
A Final Comment
The Arab Association for Human Rights and Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council expressed “a deep sense of mourning and outrage” over Hamdiyeh’s death. He “join(s) a long list of martyrs who died as a result of systematic medical neglect and torture at the hands of Israeli authorities.”
Five died since January 2011. It was after the ICRC “concluded an agreement with the Occupation to cut down the medical services provided to sick prisoners, reducing the financial contribution of the ICRC to costs of medical care in Israeli prisons and requiring prisoners to cover a substantial part of those medical expenses themselves.”
A previous article discussed ICRC duplicity. It supports imperialism for profit. It benefits from human misery. It blew its cover many times.
Its claimed humanitarian mission is cover. What’s involved is money, special privileges, and connections to people in high places. Francis Boyle calls ICRC “shameless. But such has always been the ICRC.”
It’s “always been the most sanctimonious gang of hypocrites in the NGO world.” Its close ties to Western intelligence are well-known. They’re not publicly acknowledged. Doing so would blow its cover.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations (PHROC) called Hamdiya’s death “the latest installment in a long series of war crimes committed by the Occupation State and the IPS against Palestinian prisoners and detainees.”
It expressed concern for longterm Palestinian hunger strikers and other prisoners suffering from untreated illnesses.
It demands UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon act responsibly. It called on him to help. He’ll do nothing. He’s reliable imperial tool.
PHROC wants PA officials “to immediately accede to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
“The Council further calls on the PA to actively engage in legal efforts to hold the Occupation State accountable and to contribute to efforts to boycott and divest from the Occupation State.”
Palestinians must act in their own behalf. PA officials spurn them. Outside help’s not forthcoming. Liberation depends on them. Hopefully they’re up to the challenge.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour