Arab League urges ICRC to help end abuses against Palestinian inmates

Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:2AM

Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on April 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on April 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Arab League has turned to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to stand up for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and help end the regime’s rights abuses there.

On Wednesday, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit sent a letter to ICRC President Peter Maurer, calling on the committee to “urgently intervene with Israeli authorities to stop the various abuses being committed against those prisoners of war.”

Since April 17, over 1,500 Palestinian inmates have been refusing food in protest at the conditions of Israeli prisons.

The open-ended hunger strike was initially called by Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against Tel Aviv.

Barghouti has accused Israel of “inhumane” treatment of prisoners and “judicial apartheid” in a New York Times opinion piece published earlier this month outlining the reasons behind the mass hunger strike.

Reports said earlier this week that Barghouti’s health conditions have been critically deteriorating during the past week.

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Israel says the prisoners “are terrorists” and their demands are “unreasonable.”

The letter further urged the ICRC to demand Israel “ensure treating Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike according to norms and standards set in international humanitarian law.”

The Arab League said in a statement that Aboul Gheit’s letter is part of contacts “with international actors to stop violations against Palestinian prisoners of war in Israeli prisons.”

Palestinian demonstrators wave their national flag and Fatah party flags as Israeli forces stand guard during a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

On Tuesday, the Arab League head sent a similar letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, calling on him to condemn Israeli human rights violations.

He also said the world body should take practical measures and make the regime respect international law as the occupying power, based on the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The UN said last week that it is keeping a close eye on the situation of more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners.

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Palestinians have held several protest rallies in recent days to show their solidarity for those behind bars.

The Palestinian Authority has warned that the death of any hunger-striking prisoner may lead to a new Intifada.

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Israeli prisons hold around 6,500 Palestinians, including 300 minors. Some of the inmates are held under Tel Aviv’s policy of administrative detention, which enables confinement without charge.

Israel sentences Palestinian minor to 10 years in prison

Malak Salman

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced on Wednesday a Palestinian girl to ten years in prison over an alleged stabbing attack, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Local sources told Wafa that the 17-year-old girl, Malak Salman, from Beit Safafa in occupied Jerusalem, was accused by the Israeli court of “possessing a knife and attempting to stab Israelis.”

Salman was arrested by the Israeli forces on 9th February 2016 when they stopped her near the Old City’s Damascus Gate (Bab Al-Amoud) and attempted to check her schoolbag. Since then, she was transferred to different Israeli prisons, most recently to HaSharon prison.

She had appeared to court several times and was convicted on 17th February, but the verdict was postponed.

The occupation authorities recently passed laws that allow the passing of heavy sentences against Palestinian prisoners and minors who allegedly attack Israeli targets.

Israel currently holds 6,500 Palestinians in 22 prisons including 29 detained since the Oslo agreement in 1993, 13 lawmakers and 57 Palestinian females, 13 of whom are minors. In addition to another 500 Palestinians who have been held in administrative detention.

Israel places Jerusalem lawmaker under administrative detention

Image of Ahmad Attoun at Qalandiya checkpoint on 7 December 2011 [Issam Rimawi/Apaimages]

Image of Ahmad Attoun at Qalandiya checkpoint in West bank on 7 December 2011 [Issam Rimawi/Apaimages]

An Israeli court yesterday placed a Palestinian parliamentarian under administrative detention “without charge or trial”, Quds Press reported.

Ahmed Attoun, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Jerusalem, was arrested by on 12 April after Israeli forces stormed and searched his home in the city of Al-Bireh in Ramallah.

Israeli news website Arutz Sheva reported that Attoun’s arrest was due to his alleged “Hamas activities”.

Read: Israel braces for Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

Attoun, who is currently held in Israel’s Megiddo prison, is banned by Israel from entering his home city Jerusalem.

His wife told Quds Press that an Israeli court has ordered his administrative detention for four months, which are subject to renewal.


This is not the first time Israeli authorities have arrested Attoun. The lawmaker has spent a total of 16 years in Israeli jails including five years after he became a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006.

Attoun’s arrest last week brings the number of Palestinian lawmakers in Israeli prisons to 13, including Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmed Saadat. Barghouthi, a prominent Fatah member, is serving five life sentences. Saadat is serving a 30-year term.


IsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestine

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