There is little international attention paid to the over 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Yet in the Palestinian street, they are on the minds of most all people. Nearly everyone has someone in the prisons, if not a family member, then a close friend. Mothers hold a weekly nonviolent demonstration in front of the Red Cross headquarters in the northern West Bank demanding the release of their children.
A woman has been on hunger-strike for 10 days now in Israeli prison, another is going on 18 days.
A lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner Society visited Hasharon Prison last Wednesday and met with several people. One of whom is a Ramallah man who was kept in solitary confinement for 80 days. Another from Nablus was interrogated for nearly three months.
The health conditions are worsening for many. The PPS lawyer reports, “labored breathing, heart disease, and psychological breakdowns.”
In Al Naqab Prison a 23 year old has been kept for 50 months. He suffers from problems in the foot and hand, and now has acute problems in his gums which require the immediate attention of a dentist. Twenty-eight year old Mohamed Zidan is from Gaza. He is married, with children, as so many political prisoners are. He is suffering from a problem in his right eye, and now after Israeli guards hit him repeatedly in the left, he can no longer see properly. Zidan is appealing for an eye doctor before he fully loses his sight. He was sentenced to six years in the prison.
The PPS lawyer also met with Faris Issa Ramadan. He is 24 years old and from Nablus. The Israelis want to keep him for four years in Al Naqab Prison, but he suffers polio. The right half of his body does not function properly. He cannot eat or bathe without assistance.
The list of the infirm is staggering. PPS is appealing to the International Red Cross to intervene. Palestinians in Israeli prisons need medical attention, something which they report as being routinely denied.
The only recourse that the prisoners have themselves is to put their bodies completely on the line and hunger strike. This is a major act of nonviolent resistance against the contraventions of international law that they face in the Israeli prison system.