September 2018 report: 378 Palestinians arrested as Khader Adnan, Omran al-Khatib continue hunger strikes

Photo: Oren Ziv, ActiveStills

In September 2018, Israeli occupation forces arrested 378 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, according to a monthly report by Palestinian prisoners’ associations. The arrests included 52 children and 10 women. The following translation was produced by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Palestinian prisoners’ associations, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, issued the report on Tuesday, 9 October. During September, Israeli occupation forces seized 104 Palestinians from Jerusalem, 56 from Ramallah and el-Bireh, 73 from al-Khalil, 30 from Nablus, 29 from Bethlehem, 19 from Jenin, 13 from Tulkarem, 23 from Qalqilya, five from Tubas, seven from Salfit, three from Jericho and 16 from the Gaza Strip.

These arrests bring the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on 30 September 2018 to approximately 6,000. Of these, 52 were women, including a minor girl. The number of children held in Israeli jails reached around 200. In the context of the policy of administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – the occupation authorities issued 38 administrative detention orders, including 24 new orders, bringing the total number of administrative detainees to approximately 430.

Abuse and execution of Palestinians during their detention

The prisoners’ institutions documented the testimonies of hundreds of Palestinian detainees who were beaten during their arrest. They were most frequently beaten with guns on different parts of the body, including detainees suffering from diseases and ill health.

Many of these testimonies were taken from detainees in the initial detention centers such as Etzion and Huwarra centers, where dozens of detainees confirmed during the visits shortly following their arrests that they had been severely beaten and abused. These testimonies were received from all prisoners, including children, elderly people, wounded and sick detainees. Since the beginning of 2018, human rights organizations documented the deaths of two detainees during the arrest process and due to shooting, beatings and torture, including Yassin Saradih from Jericho, killed during his arrest on 22 February 2018. He was severely beaten during his arrest, and the autopsy revealed that he was killed by a bullet in his lower abdomen fired from a point-blank distance. On 18 September 2018, Mohammed al-Rimawi of Ramallah was killed after being beaten by special forces of the occupation army during an arrest raid on his home.

It is the view of the institutions that the abuse, torture and killing of Palestinian detainees by the occupation army and its special forces during arrest and detention is clearly an excessive use of force that indicates that the occupation’s policy of the extrajudicial execution of Palestinians is continuing. This is being given full cover by the political, security and judicial institutions of the occupation state. Further, they note that the excessive use of force during the detention of Palestinians who do not pose a direct threat to the occupying force violates the rules of international human rights law, which prohibits the use of lethal force against civilians when they do not constitute a real and direct threat or danger. The use of lethal force in this manner is extrajudicial execution outside the scope of the law, especially as Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories are protected persons under international humanitarian law.

Detainees in detention centers face unsanitary conditions

According to monitoring and documentation, detainees held by the Israeli occupation in interrogation and initial detention centers complain continuously of the unhealthy and unsanitary conditions in which they are held by the occupation authorities, especially in the detention centers of Eisayoun, Jalameh and Huwwara.

A large number of prisoners are held in these centers without hygienic or healthy conditions. The rooms are narrow, dirty and have high humidity and little to no ventilation. The detainees receive dirty or contaminated water, and the rooms have a continuous stench and are infested with insects. It is a clear, systematic policy of abuse of detainees that creates a breeding ground for disease and contagion, and is mirrored by the lack of proper healthcare in prisons and detention centers.

Palestinian prisoner Khair Abu Rujaila, 41, from Atara village north of Ramallah, who was recently transferred to Ofer prison, said that during his interrogation at the Jalameh detention center several months ago, the administration intentionally provided the detainees with unhealthy and contaminated water. This resulted in pain in his side, specifically in the kidney area, but the prison administration did not pay attention to the detainees’ suffering and did not provide healthcare.

Adnan and al-Khatib continue their hunger strikes

Omran al-Khatib, 60, from Gaza, and Khader Adnan, 40, from Jenin, continued their hunger strike in Israeli prisons in September 2018.

Al-Khatib, sentenced to 45 years in prison, began his strike on 5 August to see his early release after 21 years in detention. The occupaiton authorities deliberately transferred him from one prison to another as a means of pressure. He has since been transferred to the Israeli hospital, Barzilai, after the deterioration of his health.

Palestinian prisoner Adnan began his hunger strike on 2 September, rejecting his arbitrary arrest on 11 December 2017. During his strike, he has been transferred repeatedly, most recently to the Jalameh detention center, and the prison administration continues to prevent him from seeing his lawyers, saying that his health does not permit him to have a legal visit.

It should be noted that this is the third long-term hunger strike carried out by Adnan since 2012, noting that his previous strikes were against his administrative detention. The first was in 2012 and the second in 2015.

During the month of September, a number of prisoners carried out hunger strikes, including Jamal Alqam, Jawad Jawarish, Ismil Alayan and Salah Jawarish.

Women prisoners protest surveillance cameras, refuse recreation

Palestinian women prisoners at HaSharon prison have refused to go to the recreation yard in protest of the surveillance cameras installed by the prison administration since 5 September. As of the publication of this report, they continue to refuse to go to the yard. Originally, the cameras were covered several years ago after the protest of the prisoners at the time, but the prison administration reactivated them after the visit of the committee designed to withdraw the achievements and rights of the prisoners chaired by Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This followed the first repressive action of confiscating thousands of books from the prisoners. It should be noted that the prisoners have taken measures to protest against this violation of privacy, and the women prisoners are negotiating in order to achieve their demands. 34 women prisoners are held in HaSharon prison, while 20 more Palestinian women are jailed in Damon prison.