Collectively Punishing Palestinian Prisoners and Families
Israel wears its racism on its sleeve.
by Stephen Lendman
William Blum once called the holocaust the worst thing ever to happen to Jews. The second worse thing, he said, "is the state of Israel."
It's also been nightmarish for Palestinians. Official Israeli policy persecutes them for praying to the wrong God. According to Israeli officials, it's tantamount to terrorism.
As a result, Palestinians have suffered grievously for decades. Thousands of political prisoners and their families suffer most. When loved ones are unjustly separated behind prison bars, those left behind bear enormous emotional and day-to-day burdens.
Israel compounds them by collectively punishing prisoners and families alike. Doing so violates international law. Fourth Geneva prohibits it. Under Article 33, it states:
"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism, are prohibited."
Addameer condemns "collective punishment of Palestinian political prisoners." It also expresses grave concern for how prison conditions have deteriorated since Netanyahu last summer changed policy and increased harshness.
Since then, Palestinian prisoners lost access to education, newspapers, other publications and books. In addition, contacts with family members and lawyers were restricted.
Gazan families lost all contact with loved ones. Punitive isolation and duration were increased. Other abuses became more common. International and Israeli law bans these practices.
Israel spurns all international law, its own, and rulings by its High Court. That's how rogue states operate. Palestinians can attest to its harshness.
On April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day, hundreds of Palestinians began open-ended hunger strikes. Others join them daily. Hundreds may become thousands. At issue are unjust incarcerations, detention without charge, torture and ill-treatment, deplorable prison conditions, punitive isolation, and denial of all basic rights.
Hunger strikes brought recrimination. On April 19, Maan News reported the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry saying Israel "tightened procedures." Prisoners were punished in isolation without electricity. Threats were made. Family visits were prohibited.
PA officials said 1,600 prisoners began open-ended hunger strikes. In response to Israel's crackdown, Amnesty International's Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Ann Harrison, said:
"We remain very concerned about reports that detainees have been denied access to independent doctors, and that some have been punished because of their decision to go on hunger strike -- including by being placed in isolation, fined, or otherwise ill-treated by Israel Prison Services officers."