“2014 has been the worst year for Palestinian detainees and prisoners,” the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said. Nearly 3,000 Palestinians have been detained in the past six months, bringing the total number detained in Israeli prisons to over 7,000, he said.
Qaraqe came to Cairo Saturday evening for a two-day visit to meet a number of Egyptian and Arab League officials to discuss the Israeli violations against Palestinian detainees. He said a political intervention should occur, especially from the Egyptian side, for the release of Palestinian detainees who were re-detained “for no reason”.
According to Qaraqe, some detainees who were released in a swap deal with Israel in 2011 in return for Gilad Shalit were re-detained. He noted that these detentions are seen by Palestinians as an “act of revenge” and “collective punishment and political retaliation that violates all humanitarian norms and conventions”.
He added that it contradicts the agreement, mediated by Egypt, which included the release of over 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit, who was held in Gaza for over five years.
Out of the total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, 1,500 prisoners suffer ill health. Of those, 80 prisoners are suffering from serious health conditions and are not receiving medical treatment, Qaraqe said.
Israeli Prison Authority spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said that the number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons is, in fact, 5,900. They were detained for crimes and for security reasons, and she added that if any of the prisoners suffer from a medical condition they are provided with medical care.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA has repeatedly reported on the maltreatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.