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Medical Neglect in Israeli Prisons

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Peacefully demonstrating is called disrupting public order. Meeting or socializing with a member of a declared illegal association risks being charged with supporting a terrorist organization.

Dozens of other non-threatening aspects of daily life are criminalized. Real democratic societies permit them. Not in Palestine. Not in Israel for Arab citizens.

Prison life for Muslims is hell. Horrific conditions include severe overcrowding, poor ventilation and sanitation, no change of clothes, adequate clothing, wooden planks with thin mattresses and filthy blankets, inadequate food in terms of quality, quantity or 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.

Societies are judged by how they treat prisoners. Dostoyevsky reportedly said "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."

In " Closing the Ring ," Winston Churchill wrote:

"Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization."

Israel inflicts severe pain and suffering. Guilt by accusation is policy. Collective punishment is imposed. Doing so is illegal. Medical negligence is standard practice. 

Long delays are commonplace. Prisoners get substandard treatment or none at all. Transfers to prison hospitals can take weeks or months.

Deplorable detention conditions are bad enough. Chronic health problems result. Easily treated illnesses go unaddressed.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners suffer needlessly. Many are disabled. Some are paralyzed. Prison authorities don't help.

Medical providers don't care. They're part of the problem, not the solution. They do more harm than good. They're complicit with prison authorities in torture, other physical, and emotional abuse.

Reports surface often. The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights reports on deplorable medical neglect. 

So does the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights. International laws and norms are violated. So are medical ethics. Treatment is delayed or denied.

Israel is a serial abuser. Palestinians suffer most. Murder by medical neglect is policy. Gulag prison hell enforces it. Justice is systematically denied.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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