April 24, 2011 by Stephen Lendman warisacrime.org
Since 1979, April 17 annually is Palestinian Prisoners Day, commemorating Mahmoud
Hijazi's 1974 release - the first ever prisoner swap with Israel.
Acknowledging the day, the Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association
highlighted the thousands of persecuted prisoners, launching a new campaign on their
behalf "to raise awareness of specific cases....whose detention (pose) serious
Ayed Dudeen is one of many affected, incarcerated without charge or trial since
October 2007, the longest interned administrative detainee. A father of six, he's,
in fact, been held for most of the past 19 years unjustly like so many others for
shorter or longer periods.
Addressing Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Military Judge Advocate General Avihai
Mandelblit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel's Permanent UN Mission in
Geneva, Addameer expressed "strong concerns" on his behalf.
Serving as deputy director of the Hebron Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance
and emergency services, his detention was renewed 30 times, most recently on April
11, 2011. Yet no evidence proves criminality, political or otherwise. Nonetheless,
he's been denied minimal due process, preventing his right to a just defense.
Addameer expressed outrage about "the manifest breaches of human rights and
international humanitarian law" violations against him, like so many others. As a
result, the organization strongly urged:
-- his immediate and unconditional release, as well as others unjustly held;
-- an immediate end to arbitrary arrests and administrative detentions without
charge for indefinite periods; and
-- respect for international human rights and humanitarian law provisions regarding
arrests, detentions and treatment.
Addameer currently estimates about 6,000 political prisoners in Israeli prisons. The
Prisoners at Risk Campaign highlights cases getting little public attention yet
deserve urgent action. They include:
-- prisoners seriously ill at risk of further deterioration because of willful
-- those held indefinitely without charge of trial;
-- human rights activists;
-- those longest held; and
-- those severely tortured because they refuse to be silent about their ill-treatment.
Addameer's director, Sahar Francis, says:
"This campaign, and its focus on the mobilization of international civil society, is
absolutely essential because the failure of peace talks, including Oslo (and
subsequent sham efforts), to resolve the prisoner issue has amply demonstrated that
without intense external pressure, Israel will never abide by international human
rights and humanitarian law."
On April 17, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined its press
release, "Palestine Prisoners Day - Narratives Behind Locked Doors," saying:
Commemorated annually, the day "support(s) and recognize(s) Palestinians currently
in custody in Israel" unjustly. According to the Adalah Legal Center for Arab
Minority Rights in Israel, the number ranges from the current low up to 12,000 or
more, mostly for political and related reasons, including women and children.
From 1967 - 2008, Addameer reported over 650,000 detained, or about 20% of the total
Occupied Territory (OPT) population and 40% of all males. Moreover, since the
beginning of the September 2000 second Intifada, 70,000 were interned. According to
PCHR, 760,000 have been held since 1967. Currently, it states, about 6,500 are
detained, including over 250 children and 37 women.
Most are held in Palestine, but many others in Israeli civil and military prisons,
in violation of numerous Fourth Geneva provisions, including Article 49 stating:
"....forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons (including
prisoners) from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to
that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their
"PCHR notes with particular concern the many violations of human rights and
humanitarian law that prisoners are subjected to while in Israeli detention. In
particular violations of Articles 7, 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights to which Israel is a State Party."
Moreover, children are treated like adults in brazen violation of the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child (CRC), defining a minor is anyone below age 18. Israel is
a CRC signatory yet violates this law like all other international ones flagrantly.
On June 7, 1967, Military proclamation No. 1 justified detentions "in the interests
of security and public order," subjecting all Palestinians to police state
persecution. Hundreds of other orders followed, gravely harming their rights and
As a result, they may be held indefinitely as well as subjected to months of
abusive, inhumane and degrading interrogations and treatment, then detained without
charge or tried in military courts, denying due process and judicial fairness.
In confinement, Israel willfully and systematically violates international
humanitarian law, including Geneva's Common Article 3, requiring:
"humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing) murder,
mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment (and) unfair
Fourth Geneva's Article 4 calls "protected persons" those held by parties to a
conflict or occupation "of which they are not nationals." They must "be treated with
humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and
regular trial prescribed by the present Convention." They're entitled to full Fourth
Geneva rights. Prisoners of war under Third Geneva have the same rights and those
under Common Article 3.
Israel willfully denies them. Under the 1971 Israeli Prison Ordinance, no provision
defines prisoner rights. It only provides binding rules for the Interior Minister
who can interpret them freely by administrative decree. For example, it's legal to
intern 20 inmates in a cell as small as five meters long, four meters wide and three
meters high, including an open lavatory, and they can be confined up to 23 hours
daily. As a result, they're subjected to horrific conditions, including:
-- severe overcrowding;
-- poor ventilation and sanitation;
-- no change of clothes or adequate clothing;
-- sleeping on wooden planks with thin mattresses, some infested with vermin;
blankets are often torn, filthy and inadequate; hot water is rare and soap is
-- at the Negev Ketziot military detention camp, threadbare tents are used, exposing
detainees to extreme weather conditions; in summer, vermin, insects, scorpions,
parasites, rats, and other reptiles are a major problem;
-- Megiddo and Ofer also use tents; in addition, Ofer uses oil-soiled hangers;
-- for some, isolation in tiny, poorly ventilated solitary confinement with no
visitation rights or contact with counsel or other prisoners;
-- no access to personal cleanliness and hygiene; toilet facilities are restricted,
forcing prisoners to urinate in bottles in their cells;
-- inadequate food in terms of quality, quantity, and dietary requirements;
-- poor medical care, including lack of specialized personnel, mental health
treatment, and denial of needed medicines and equipment; as a result, many suffer
ill health; doctors are also pressured to deny proper treatment, some later
-- extreme psychological pressure to break detainees' will;
-- widespread use of torture, abuse, cruel and degrading treatment;
-- women and children are treated like men;
-- NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights - Israel and the ICRC are deterred from
-- denied or hindered access to family members and counsel; and
-- enforced conditions subordinating visits to national security priorities,
requiring prisoners not be security risks, that persons applying for visits not have
a security record, and whatever other stipulations Israel imposes.
PCHR noted special concern for about 700 detained Gazans, denied visits, phone
calls, mail or other communications with family members for nearly four years with
rare (usually one-time only) exceptions allowed. This outrageous prohibition,
"exacerbates the already difficult conditions of confinement and constitutes a
violation of international human rights law."
PCHR commemorated Palestinian Prisoners Day by releasing nine poignant narratives,
including "The Mother of a Minor in Prison - Amal Abdul-Allah."
For many years, she endured enormous hardships. Her father was incarcerated for 17
years. Her husband was arrested and released in 1983. Her brother and nephew were
also imprisoned, and in February 2009, Israeli her third-oldest son, Oudai.
"He was arrested on his way to Ramallah, at Beit Iba checkpoint near Nablus. We
realized that he must have been arrested when he did not come home to sleep that
night. He had been arrested in the morning and forced to spend the entire day and
night at the checkpoint. He had to lie on the ground the entire time, until they
took him to Megiddo prison the next day."
Family members weren't told of his whereabouts. The ICRC got spotty information. For
several months, he was repeatedly transfered to new prisons. With one exception,
Amal and other family members were totally denied visitation rights for "security
Family members occasionally get information from released prisoners, Amal learning
that Oudai was healthy but emotionally exhausted, depressed, always crying, and
wanted to go home.
Amal told PCHR:
"I am emotionally in pain because I haven't seen him in so long. The whole situation
is very hard. I can't bear it. Also, when I saw him for the first time in court, it
was very hard for me, especially since I hadn't seen him for (months). I could not
stop crying, but I was afraid for him and I tried to hold myself together as much as
possible. For now, what hurts me most is that I am not allowed to visit him."
Moreover, Oudai, like most other child or adult prisoners, is held on spurious
charges, assuring months or many years of injustice and harsh treatment. Unlike
detained Jews given due process in civil courts, Palestinians get none under
occupation. Nor do Israeli Arabs for their faith and ethnicity in a Jewish state.
On April 17, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said about 1,000 Hebron
protesters marked the day by rallying for release of Palestinian prisoners. "At the
same time, thousands of prisoners joined a one-day hunger strike," protesting their
treatment and legal rights.
Protesters included family members, local authorities, and international activists.
According to former political prisoner Abdul Nasser Farwana's new report, virtually
every Palestinian household has had members jailed. It explains that most of those
detained are unrelated to alleged security issues; that torture is freely used to
extract confessions; that no consideration is given women, children and those ill;
and that overall treatment violates fundamental international law.
On April 17 and throughout the year, remember how abusively Israel treats Arabs for
their faith and ethnicity, and that conduct this reprehensible no longer can be
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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