This year has been the worst for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons with around 4,400 Palestinians, including 41 women, 160 children and 700 sick patients, currently being held in Israeli detention facilities, according to Palestinian figures.
Qadri Abu Bakr, chairperson of the Palestine Authority's Prisoner Affairs Commission, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Israel has hardened its practices toward Palestinians this year. He said "2020 is the worst year for Palestinian prisoners. The prison administration raids and attacks detainees' sections almost every day."
Underlining that prisoners are also subjected to solitary confinement without humanitarian conditions, he said Israel has passed a law to impose stricter measures. Israel closed Gilboa Prison in November, where 360 Palestinian detainees are held, as more coronavirus infections were reported inside the facility. A total of 137 prisoners were infected by COVID-19 in Gilboa Prison in northern Israel, he said, stressing that Israel did not care about the lives of the prisoners and did not take protective measures.
Israel's perpetual violations of Palestinians' basic rights in its prisons, including torture, repression, assault and the denial of proper medical treatment, have long been under the spotlight. In March, Israel's detention authority decided to reduce rations of bread, water and meat for Palestinian prisoners, exposing once again the ongoing systematic violations of human rights in Israeli jails.
A September 2018 Middle East Monitor report best demonstrates the gravity of the situation, showing that the Israeli occupation forces have arrested 120,000 Palestinians since the Oslo Accords was signed by Palestinian Liberation Forces (PLO) and Israel in 1993. About 2,000 women and more than 17,500 children have been detained since the Oslo Accords, according to the report. More than half of Palestine's deputies, a number of ministers, hundreds of academics and staff of nongovernmental and international organizations have been arrested by Israeli forces over this period. They are detained in harsh conditions, which have led to the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
More than 400 children were arrested by Israeli forces in the first 10 months of this year, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said last month. Since 2015, Israel has been passing new laws that legalize the issuance of long prison sentences for children, in some cases up to life imprisonment. According to PPS, Israel has arrested about 7,000 children since 2015.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club, the Prisoners of Conscience and Human Rights Protection Organization had announced, in a joint statement released in September, the deaths of 216 Palestinians in Israeli prisons since 1967. Among these, seven were shot, 72 others were tortured to death and 59 lost their lives due to lack of medical care. The statement noted that Palestinians in Israeli prisons were being subjected to "inhumane" treatment, including physical and psychological torture. Some 60% of the prisoners have suffered "brutal physical assaults." The statement also urged U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to launch a special committee to look into Palestinian deaths in Israeli prisons.