Ref: 09/2013

 

As part of its ongoing efforts in support
for Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli prisons and advocacy for this
humanitarian, legal and political cause, the Palestinian centre for Human
Rights (PCHR) is organizing a number of activities for a delegation that
consists of families of the Palestinian prisoners in Egypt, Switzerland and
France.

 

On Tuesday, 26 February 2013, the
delegation, which includes mothers of 2 prisoners in the Israeli prisons and
another 2 ex-prisoners who served years of imprisonment in Israeli Jailed, headed
by Jaber Wishah, PCHR’s
 Deputy Director for Branches Affairs, left Gaza to Egypt where its members will hold a number of
meetings with each of the following: the Arab League, the National Council for
Human Rights, and parties who are interested in the issue of prisoner.

 

It is scheduled that the delegation
will travel on 01 March 2013 to Switzerland where they will meet with a number
of activists and supporters of the Palestinian people. In these meetings,
members of the delegation will review the latest developments related to living
conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the suffering of them
and their families due to denying them their rights to family visitations.

 

Members of the delegation members
will participate in sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)
in the period 4-6 March 2013.  PCHR had
sent a written intervention to the HRC titled “Torture and Maltreatment of the
Palestinian Detainees and Prisoners by the Israeli Forces.”  Mr. Jaber Wishah will meet with Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights,
and with the special
Rapporteur on Torture.

 

According to the program conducted for the
delegation’s activities, on 05 March 2013, its members will participate in an assembly organized by the Swiss Emergency Association
for Palestine with members in solidarity campaigns with the Palestinian
people.  On 07 March 2013, the delegation
will meet with Secretary General of the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC).

 

On 09 March 2013, the delegation
will head to Bern, Capital of Switzerland, to attend the annual meeting of the
World Council of Churches, and they will then leave Switzerland to France to
hold a number of official and public meetings in Paris and
Nantes.

 

 

It should be mentioned that organizing these
events for families of the Palestinian prisoners is part of PCHR’s ongoing
efforts to internationalize the cause of Palestinian prisoners and to draw the
attention of the international public opinion to illegal practices and
violations against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.  This is not the first time that PCHR
organizes such activities for families of the Palestinian prisoners as it had
organized in period of 13-16 May 2012 a number of activities in Egypt for a
delegation, which consisted of a number of families of prisoners from the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank.

 

On 25 February 2013, Wishah met with the Deputy
Director of the ICRC Bureau in Gaza in the presence of families of the
Palestinian prisoners and members in the National Follow-up Committee on Prisoners.

 

The meeting discussed the conditions of
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in light of their open ongoing hunger
strike, the deterioration of their living conditions and escalation of Israeli
violations against them, the most recent of which resulted in the death of
‘Arafat Jaradat, (30), due to torture.

 

The participants raised with the
international official a number of issues, including: deterioration of living
conditions
of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; medical negligence;
denial of family visitations; visits of ICRC delegates to the prisons; and Israel’s
continued policy of solitary confinement.

 

The participants emphasized the importance of
the ICRC’s role in the Gaza Strip calling for more efforts to follow up the prisoners’
conditions in the Israeli prisons and interrogation facilities, stressing the
need of recruiting a doctor to follow up the living conditions of female
Palestinian prisoners.

 

Wishah addressed during the meeting the peculiarity
of the work of the ICRC office in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s position against
the government in Gaza, under which there are no coordination offices between
the local authorities in the Gaza Strip and Israel as the occupying power
similar to those in the West Bank, which adds more burdens and responsibilities
on the shoulders of ICRC.

 

In light of the death of ‘Arafat Jaradat on the
fifth day of his detention due to torture in an Israeli prison, Wishah called
upon ICRC to pressurize the Israeli authorities to allow ICRC delegates to
visit the Palestinian prisoners after 48 hours of their detention, instead of
the protocol, which currently in effect, that allows the ICRC delegates to
visit the prisoners after 14 days of detention. 
Wishah stressed the importance of the visit in the first days of
detention to check on the health conditions of a prisoner, to ensure the safety
of his conditions and to verify that appropriate procedures of detention are
followed, and to ensure that he is not subjected to torture.  He pointed out that such checking will deter
Israeli interrogators.