Systematic violation of human rights: The incarceration conditions of Palestinians in Israel since Oct 7

Systematic violation of human rights: The incarceration conditions of Palestinians in Israel since Oct 7

Physicians for Human Rights Israel:

Since October 7th, any semblance of restraint has been cast aside regarding the treatment of Palestinians in Israeli incarceration and detention facilities. Forced disappearances, torture, and severe violations of human rights, particularly in terms of health, are now inherent in the practices and policies of Israeli security bodies responsible for Palestinians in custody. These actions have garnered support and, at times, were explicitly demanded by the political ranks. Simultaneously, the judicial system has allowed these blatant deviations from professional and ethical standards to persist without intervention.

PHRI’s newest report, titled “Systematic Violation of Human Rights: The Imprisonment Conditions of Palestinians in Israel Since October 7th,” thoroughly investigates the incarceration conditions of Palestinians since the implementation of the “lockdown” measures following the war’s onset. It extensively explores the restrictions and the systematic violations of the rights of Palestinians in Israeli custody.

In addition, we call for the release of all Palestinians detained without legal justification since the start of the war and a complete end to all forms of torture and abuse. Furthermore, the Red Cross and other human rights organizations must be granted access to visit Palestinians in prisons, and a comprehensive and impartial investigation into the deaths of Palestinians in custody should be carried out.

The number of Palestinians held by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has surged from around 5,500 before the war to approximately 9,000 as of January 2024, including dozens of minors and women. Nearly one-third of those in custody are held under administrative detention. Furthermore, the military has arrested hundreds of Gaza residents while providing no information, even four months later, about their well-being, whereabouts, and the conditions of their incarceration.

Since October 7 and the ensuing war, both the IPS and the military have implemented policies of arbitrary punishment by systematically infringing upon the rights of Palestinians in custody, including the denial of access to adequate medical care. These policies are a direct extension of the legislative efforts led by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir before October 7, which aimed to worsen the incarceration conditions of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The incidents of deaths in custody in recent months underscore the degree of negligence, mistreatment, and violence. Six Palestinians have died between October and November, and regrettably, two more have passed since the report was drafted.

Efforts to push Israeli courts to intervene and prevent the systematic disregard of reasonable incarceration standards have so far been unsuccessful. Similarly, efforts to encourage the medical community to safeguard the right to adequate care have also failed. As a result, Israel’s vindictive policies and unofficial punitive measures in prisons continue – unchecked and unchallenged.

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