On Sunday, 14 January 2019, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and the Prisoners’ Committee in the Islamic and National Forces organized a panel titled as, “Israeli Racist Laws and Decisions and Possible Ways to Support Prisoners in the Israeli Prisons”. The panel was attended by the Prisoners’ Committee, representatives of organizations, families of prisoners and former prisoners, activists and media representatives in PCHR’s head office in Gaza City.
Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, opened the meeting by talking about the racist laws and decisions taken against the detainees, including the decisions and recommendations issued by the so-called “Gilad Erdan’s Committee,” which recommends a series of sanctions and measures against Palestinian prisoners, claiming that they live a luxurious life. Sourani refuted the Israeli racist claims and stressed that the Palestinian prisoners’ living conditions do not meet the minimum standards guaranteed by international norms and conventions.
Sourani pointed out that there will be contacts with the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 about Israel’s decisions on arbitrary detention and measures taken by the Israeli Prison Service against the Palestinian detainees. Moreover, PCHR’s calls will be to integrate those measures within torture measures on which PCHR will contact the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in order to ease the suffering of the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails, in addition to filing a submission on the Palestinian detainees to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Lawyer Tameem Younis, brother of the oldest Palestinian prisoner Kareem Younis, gave his testimony via a phone call and talked about the Israeli violations against the Palestinians detainees, clarifying that the Early Release Law does not include security and political prisoners. He added that the Israeli Prison Service has recently confiscated 1800 books and other belongings of the prisoners, violating the minimum standards that the Palestinian prisoners should enjoy.
Yunis emphasized that efforts should be strengthened in order to face the Israeli racist decisions, laws and measures taken against the Palestinian detainees such as the deprivation of medical treatment, arbitrary transfer, solitary confinement, naked search, seizure of their minimum belongings, including winter blankets and clothes, and tough measures that prisoners’ family are exposed to, including depriving them of visits and searching them at the Israeli checkpoints.
Dr. Ra’fat Hamdouna, Director of Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, demanded the Prisoners’ Committee of Islamic and National Forces in the Gaza strip to exert efforts at all levels through human rights, legal and media organizations in order to create a strong united Palestinian voice resisting Israel, which targets the Palestinian struggle and the legal status of Palestinian detainees. Mustafa Mussalamany, a former prisoner who was deported to the Gaza Strip, stressed the necessity of supporting the detainees by unifying the Palestinian efforts and creating a coordination mechanism particularly when it comes to activities.
At the end of the panel, the attendees provided interventions calling for unifying efforts in order to support the cause of Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons in all international forums. They also stressed the necessity of unifying all efforts to expose the Israeli crimes which would guarantee the alleviation and end of the suffering of the prisoners and their families.