Bethlehem / PNN /
Since October 7th, Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to a systematic policy of systematic abuse, starting with the assault on them during arrest operations, where occupation soldiers brutally beat them in front of their families. Subsequently, they are transferred to detention centers, and their visits by lawyers and representatives of the International Red Cross are prohibited.
Events on the ground and in the prisons indicate that Israel adopts oppressive policies against the prisoners, including racist practices and violations contrary to international laws that guarantee the rights and protection of prisoners, ensuring their access to treatment and food. However, what is happening in the occupation's prisons violates all these international norms. Prisoners face suppression and vindictive attacks from the moment of arrest, through the investigation, and ending in central prisons, where the prison authorities engage in numerous acts of harassment and retaliatory assaults.
A report prepared by the Palestinian News Network (PNN) as part of Investment in human rights project conducted by Alrowwad Cultural And Arts Society reveals numerous violations against prisoners, ranging from raids on their homes, terrorizing their families, and brutal arrests, to physical assaults during arrests, beatings, forcing them to strip naked, and seizing their belongings in prisons, including those already convicted. It culminates in the denial of food, reflecting a humanitarian suffering that extends to their families, who are denied information about the prisoners and their place of detention.
Worst Images of Abuse: Forcing Prisoners to Strip Naked
Photos and videos circulated by settler-affiliated websites and the Israeli military have revealed a new phenomenon where occupation soldiers are forcing prisoners to strip naked, either entirely or leaving them in their underwear. Some videos showed prisoners fully naked, subjected to mockery and verbal abuse by the Israeli soldiers."
Prisoners Subjected to Grave Violations
Several prisoners have been subjected to various forms of torture. The experience of the prisoner Khader Latifi from Aida camp represents one of the many instances of such assaults, where he was beaten brutally by occupation soldiers. Similarly, the prisoner Iyad Banat from Al-Fawwar camp in the Hebron governorate faced brutal aggression by Israeli soldiers. These assaults were documented by the occupation soldiers themselves as a source of pride for their crimes.
Released prisoners who refused to appear on cameras, fearing re-arrest, revealed that the assaults are not limited to the prisoners during arrest operations but that they face torture crimes in the occupation prisons. They are subjected to humiliation, beatings, and starvation during their transfer, as part of a systematic policy led by the so-called Israeli Minister of Strong Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Released prisoners, who spent weeks in detention, stated that they faced various forms of brutal attacks by occupation soldiers. One prisoner mentioned that he was brutally beaten by occupation soldiers after being restrained and forced to walk bent over, with soldiers continuously beating him throughout his detention.
Prisoners who chose not to appear on media, fearing re-arrest, added that the occupation forces do not provide prisoners with sufficient meals. They are given minimal amounts, with one meal distributed among five to seven prisoners present in the detention rooms. Additionally, the morning and evening roll calls involve soldiers attacking the prisoners. It was noted that the counting process takes place while the prisoners are stripped of their clothes.
The prisoners explained that the occupation forces raided the prisons, confiscated all the prisoners' belongings, and threw them into garbage containers. Videos released by the Prison Authority showed its forces engaging in these practices.
PPS: What is happening in the prisons is war crimes against the prisoners and a violation of international conventions and norms.
The reality faced by the prisoners prompted their families and organizations to pressure the International Red Cross through protest activities, but to no avail. Palestinians fear this retaliatory trend that affects the lives of prisoners in all its aspects. Five prisoners have died as a result of torture. Prisoners endure food, water, and electricity deprivation, along with the confiscation of all their belongings, leaving them naked in the prisons.
Abdullah al-Zaghari, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society in the West Bank, responds to the situation, stating that since the beginning of the barbaric and brutal aggression on Gaza, there has been an extensive and intensive campaign of arrests carried out by the Israeli occupation army in various Palestinian provinces. Since October 7, every night, the Israeli army invades various provinces, cities, and camps in large numbers, armed with weapons and police dogs, blowing up doors and invading the isolated citizens' rooms, instilling fear in them.
He further points out that various family members, especially those associated with the arrestees, are attacked. These practices reveal an extremely retaliatory trend characterized by unprecedented and perhaps the most dangerous and difficult brutal attacks in the history of the Palestinians' suffering with Israeli occupation. This is evident in the destruction and looting of homes, extortion of the detainees' families by holding one family member to force them to surrender to the occupation.
Al-Zaghari explains that the occupation has turned the prisons into complete isolation cells, in addition to confiscating all prisoners' belongings such as clothes, pictures, and even their writings and books. He emphasizes that prisoners are left with nothing but the clothes they are wearing.
On the other hand, Israeli prison authorities informed the prisoners that they are now under the jurisdiction of the Israeli army. Subsequently, water and electricity were cut off for long hours, prisoners were deprived of going to the prison yard, and inadequate quantities of poor-quality food were provided. Additionally, lawyers were prohibited from meeting the prisoners, and visits were suspended, leaving their conditions in uncertainty and an unknown fate.
Al-Zaghari added that the International Red Cross did not fulfill its duties and tasks as a humanitarian international human rights organization. It did not communicate with the prisoners to understand their situation inside the prisons and reveal the conditions they are living in.
He stated that they obtain some information through military courts, which have become the link between the prisoner and their families, with lawyers present. Others learn about it from released prisoners who acknowledge that detainees are subjected to the most severe forms of torture and brutal beatings. Their blood flows through all sections and prisoner transports, with medical neglect.
He highlighted that the number of detainees inside Israeli occupation prisons has exceeded 7,500 prisoners, where approximately 2,500 detainees have been arrested since October 7. The majority of these detainees are previously released prisoners targeted by the occupation, either through assassination or administrative detention, which has surpassed 2,200 detainees.
Al-Zaghari explained that the occupation's ugliest practices in the recent arrest operations involve humiliating the dignity of the Palestinian detainees. They are subjected to brutal attacks by Israeli soldiers who sometimes film some detainees during the arrest, handcuffed and blindfolded. In some instances, loud music is played to mock them in blatant violations of all international humanitarian laws. This confirms that the occupation deals with the Palestinian as if they are not human and violates their human dignity, requiring international investigations by various legal organizations to hold this occupation accountable for the various crimes committed against our Palestinian people.
Arrest of 200 Palestinian Children
Israeli Arrests and Assaults Target All Ages, Including Children. Since October 7, Israeli forces have carried out numerous arrests against children, who are protected by international agreements during times of war.
Mohammed Abdul Rabba, the head of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Association, stated that since October 7, more than 200 children have been arrested by the occupation forces and are being held in harsh and inhumane detention conditions. These conditions are unbearable for adults, so how much more challenging is it for children, especially in the face of the dropping temperatures due to winter and severe cold.
Abdul Rabba called on human rights organizations, the United Nations, and the International Red Cross to fulfill their responsibilities towards all prisoners, particularly child prisoners, emphasizing that Israel has violated and continues to violate international norms."
The occupation disabled the Red Cross
As part of its policy to conceal its crimes against the prisoners, the Israeli occupation resorted to ignoring the demands of the International Red Cross. All communications between the occupation authorities and the International Red Cross have completely stopped. The International Red Cross is the authorized body to monitor the conditions of prisoners of war and ensure that the occupying states adhere to the international standards and conventions that guarantee the protection of prisoners during times of war. It ensures the application of international law, which stipulates the protection of their human rights and prohibits their torture or humiliation. Israel, however, violates the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
Officials at the International Red Cross did not conceal the practices of the Israeli occupation as an international organization. Israel does not respond to the requests of the international organization to know the conditions of the prisoners or their places of detention and arrest. Moreover, it refuses to grant them the opportunity to visit the prisons since October 7. Prisoners and their families have spoken about the horrors of crimes and repressive practices against the prisoners.
These Israeli crimes led to the martyrdom of five prisoners in the occupation's prisons since October 7. Families of the prisoners and Palestinian and international human rights organizations fear for their lives in the absence of the Red Cross and the United Nations' ability to force Israel to adhere to international legitimacy and the international conventions that stipulate the protection of prisoners during times of war.
Abdul Qader Hilan, the Media Director at Al-Dameer Foundation, stated that since October 7, the occupation has launched a fierce campaign of arrests against all Palestinians, affecting around 1,500 detainees, with an average of 70 arrests per day. This campaign is not limited to a specific area but has targeted all regions and various categories.
Hilan explained that this campaign is the most severe in the history of the Palestinian people, including attacks, destruction, and torture of detainees and their homes and properties. There are approximately 200 children inside occupation prisons.
He pointed out a new policy used by the occupation to blackmail Palestinians wanted for arrest. This policy involves detaining their families or children as hostages to force the detainee to surrender to the occupation. Hilan mentioned a three-year-old child who was detained to pressure his father.
Hilan added that the occupation is transferring large numbers of detainees to administrative detention without clear charges. He illustrated the brutal attacks and abuses against prisoners inside the prisons, where they face repeated assaults on their sections, including beatings and searches. Electricity and water are cut off, and minimal amounts of poor-quality food are provided.
He emphasized that the occupation employs excessive violence against our brave prisoners, as seen in videos circulated by occupation soldiers boasting about torturing our people. The reality of the prisoners in the prisons is very difficult, and it cannot be ignored. It should be highlighted, and the international community must shed light on it.
Hilan mentioned the martyrs who were assassinated in the prisons, including workers from Gaza. One of them was identified, while the identity of the other remained mysterious. He stressed that this reality is not hidden from the international community and human rights organizations.
Hilan directed his message to all relevant authorities concerned with prisoners, questioning, "Where are you, and where is your role in holding the occupation accountable for its crimes of extermination, assassinations, and arrests?" He noted that he sees no effective effort on the ground from these relevant authorities.
Palestinians have been suffering from repressive practices that have intensified since October 7 on multiple levels. They face genocide, arrests, and torture in camps reminiscent of Nazi camps in World War II. Palestinians are urging the silent world to hold Israeli war criminals accountable. Will these demands find anyone to listen?