Palestine Rights group: Israel denies Palestinian inmates phone calls allowed to criminals
Israeli authorities prevent Palestinian prisoners from making phone calls but allow incarcerated Israeli criminals to have access to telephone on a regular basis, an Israeli rights group reveals.
Israeli rights organization HaMoked made the announcement Thursday, a day after Israel’s high court partially accepted a petition led by the rights group, prompting the Israel prison service (IPS) to announce that it will allow Palestinian prisoners and detainees to make a one-time phone call to their families during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.
The petition had been filed by HaMoked along with a number of other rights groups, namely Addameer, al-Mezan, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture and Parents Against Child Detention.
According to a report by Palestine’s official Wafa news agency, the court’s decision does not include prisoners from the besieged Gaza Strip affiliated with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, who are also denied family visits.
The petition demanded that Palestinian inmates, who have been classified as “security” prisoners and detainees, be allowed to speak to their families by telephone, given the prolonged cessation of prison visits due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court, however, rejected that the “security” inmates could have regular telephone contact with their families, despite the fact that Israeli criminal prisoners have regular, even daily access to phone calls.
The petition had also called on Israeli authorities to maintain a mechanism for regular family contact for minor Palestinian detainees, a demand that has been partially met by the IPS, which says it allows minor detainees to talk to their parents by telephone only two times a month.
“Most prisoners have not had contact with their families for many long months, so we are disappointed that the court refused to address the principle involved. It is unreasonable to put the burden on individual prisoners who will now each have to file a petition to demand their rights to family life and humane treatment,” said HaMoked’s Executive Director Jessica Montell.
Israeli forces attack Palestinian inmates
On Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said Israeli forces had raided the Israeli Rimon Prison, situated in the Naqab desert, where Palestinian political detainees are held, brutally assaulted the inmates and clashed with them.
It said in a statement, cited by Wafa, that the clashes broke out between the Palestinian prisoners and the attacking units, without giving further details.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.
The administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge, allows authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The duration could be extended for an infinite number of times.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.