News ID: 125850
Publish Date : 02 April 2024 - 21:19

Palestinians Living ‘Never-Ending Nightmare’ in Israeli Detention

WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Youssef Srour did not know if Ramadan had begun or not. 
Arrested on 18 October from his home in Ni’lin, west of Ramallah in the center of the occupied West Bank, Srour was in an Israeli prison in the Negev (Naqab) desert on 10 March.
“The prisoners don’t have any means of communicating with the outside world. If the jailers find a wire in the room or batteries, all the prisoners are beaten, punished, taken out of the room and all their belongings are confiscated,” he told Middle East Eye, explaining that they all estimated the start of Ramadan based on when they had arrived at the prison.
After six months in the so-called administrative detention, the 49-year-old Palestinian was discharged to hospital a week ago. He was seriously underweight and showed signs of fatigue and neglect. Srour told MEE that he could not count the number of times he had been brutally beaten during those months in prison.
The Israeli army has carried out a massive, ongoing arrest campaign across the occupied West Bank since Oct 7, targeting almost 8,000 Palestinians, including women and children, the sick and elderly. 
According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are currently an estimated 9,100 political prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of which 3,558 are ‘administrative detainees’, meaning they are being held without charge or trial.
Israel has taken prisoners from Gaza, describing this as a necessary part of their operations against Hamas. In February, the Israeli army arrested and imprisoned an 82-year-old Palestinian woman in Gaza under a law aimed at detaining unlawful combatants.
According to lawyers and human rights organizations that monitor Palestinian prisoners, these six months have been one of the worst time periods ever, with Ramadan in jail described by Srour as a “never-ending nightmare” and by others as the worst they have experienced in decades. Prayer is forbidden, as is reading the Qur’an. 
Prisoners have been exposed not just to physical assault, but to other violations including starvation, sleep deprivation, cutting off contact with their families and the withholding of water.
Like other former prisoners, Srour was targeted in the crackdown that followed 7 October. Held without charge or trial, he lost 42kg in prison. Medical examinations carried out after his release showed that he was suffering from a severe nutritional deficiency, so doctors advised him to only eat soup for the next month.
This Ramadan, the food given to prisoners has been no different to their usual diet. There is one meal a day, consisting of 12 tablespoons of rice, three tablespoons of lentil soup and 50 grams of chopped cabbage. Prisoners report that the water they are given tastes like chlorine.