July 2016 Report: Occupation arrested 574 Palestinians during the month

icrccThe following is a report issued by several Palestinian prisoner organizations (Prisoners Affairs Commission; Palestinian Prisoners’ Society; Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.) Translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. File photo for illustration purposes only.

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions (Prisoners Affairs Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Asociation, and Al-Mezan Human Rights Association) issued a statement on 2 August reviewing key statistics and notes regarding Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians in July 2016. 574 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were arrested during the month, including 111 children; 12 of those arrested were women, including one girl child. This increases the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015 to 6900 citizens.

189 Palestinians from Jerusalem were arrested, 130 from al-Khalil, 55 from Nablus, 50 from Bethlehem, 44 from Jenin, 31 from Ramallah/Al-Bireh, 27 from Qalqilya, 13 from Tulkarem, 11 from Jericho, six from Tubas, two from Salfit and 16 from the Gaza Strip. Approximately 350 Palestinian children remain in Israeli prisons, particularly in Megiddo and Ofer prisons. There are 62 women prisoners, including 13 girls under 18. 21 Palestinian journalists are imprisoned as are six members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. There are approximately 7000 total prisoners in the Israeli occupation prisons.

127 administrative detention orders were issued in the month of July; there are approximately 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Continuing policy of arbitrary arrests in the Gaza Strip

The occupation forces continue arbitrary arrests in the Gaza Strip in a systematic manner with no regard for international humanitarian or human rights law. This is particularly highlighted through heavy shooting targeting the fishermen, forcing them to disrobe and swim long distances and subjecting them to insults and profanity prior to arrest.

In addition, the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing remains a trap for the arrest of the Palestinians; applicants are sometimes approved for permits and then arrested when they arrive at the crossing. This comes in addition to the continuing denial to hundreds of patients in Gaza of permits for transit to hospitals outside Gaza. In July 2016, 16 Palestinians from Gaza were arrested, including 13 fishermen practicing their trade at sea, 2 traders at the crossing and 1 patient seeking treatment at Beit Hanoun/Erez. It is clear that traders have become a group targeted for arrest and cancellation of permits, subjecting their business operations to severe pressure.

Nahed Alghorani, the brother of the detainee Shadi Alghorani, 33, of Gaza City, noted that at about 8:00 am on Tuesday, 26 July, Shadi went to the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing after receiving an approval for transit to the West Bank for the purposes of trade and import of goods as a merchant. At 2:00 pm his family lost contact with him; his brother traveled to the crossing, but the Palestinian liaison told him that Shadi had been detained by the Israeli occupation forces at the crossing.

Battle of empty stomachs

The prisoner Bilal Kayed is on his 49th day of hunger strike in protest of his order to administrative detention on the day of his release after he had served 14.5 years in prison. Approximately 100 prisoners are also on hunger strike, joining the strike in successive groups, including Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front. Kayed is held in Barzilai hospital, shackled to the bed, consuming water and subject to constant harassment by the prison guards as his room is subject to extensive surveillance and alarms.

Kayed suffers from severe pain in the head, the stomach, fatigue, severe tiredness and insomnia; his eyes are yellowing and he has lost a significant amount of weight. He is showing serious heart muscle damage and the risk of a stroke according to tests conducted in an an emergency situation after serious health deterioration.

A number of other prisoners also engaged in individual hunger strikes to protest various aspects of their condition, including the wounded minor prisoner Jalal Sharawna, 17, who engaged in a five-day strike to protest the difficult conditions in the Ramle prison clinic despite his health difficulties.

Four prisoners are engaged in a hunger strike against administrative detention, including Mahmoud al-Balboul and Mohammed al-Balboul, and joined by Ayed Herama and Malik al-Qadi since July 15. Their fellow prisoner Muhannad Mutahna joined them on strike which ended with his release. Four more prisoners, Ahmed Barghouthi, Mahmoud Sarahna, Ziad al-Bazza, and Amin Kamil, went on hunger strike since 18 July in protest of the Red Cross’s decision to cut visits to once per month per prisoners.

Prison conditions heading towards escalation and explosion

In the past month, the Israeli prison administration conducted dozens of night raids in many prisons, including breaking into sections and rooms of prisoners, ransacking and damaging personal belongings, as well as the continuing medical negligence against hundreds of ill prisoners, increased administrative detention rates, solitary confinement, the arrest of women and children, and the imposition of heavy financial fines against the prisoners. Hundreds of prisoners have been deprived of family visits. The serious conditions inside Israeli jails are heading in all directions toward explosion in light of the continued escalation of repressive measures against the prisoners as dozens of Palestinian prisoners join the battle of the open hunger strike.