Rebuttal on 'Palestinian prisoners'
I take great issue with the article entitled ``Palestinian Prisoners`` reprinted from the Jerusalem Post, that appeared in the weekend edition (May 19-20) of The Korea Times. The article in question attempts to disregard the numerous legitimate complaints by the estimated 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who are currently on hunger strike by referring to two unverified anecdotes. The anecdotes purport to show how well prisoners are supposedly being treated in Israeli jails based purely on their Facebook updates.
The article could, and should, have pointed to a wider overview of facts such as that since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by Israel in 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 women, have been imprisoned in Israeli jails. This represents approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories. There are even 20 elected parliamentarians of the Palestinian Legislative Council currently serving prison sentences.
According to the Israeli Prison Service, there are presently 4,424 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, of which 308 are under administrative detention. This form of imprisonment is a relic of British rule and enables the Israeli state to hold detainees without charges for six months.
Also according to the Israeli Prison Service, as of the end of April 2012 there are 218 minors being held in Israeli jails, of which 33 are under the age of 16. In March 2011, the Palestinian Ministry of Detainee Affairs published a report documenting the torture of children as young as 7 years old. Between January and March 2011, Israeli soldiers abducted 150 children who were all interrogated.
According to reports from various human rights organizations over the years, torture is routine in Israeli prisons and detainees are often completely barred from seeing their families. The real question is thus not about the legitimacy of Palestinian prisoners’ claims, but rather why it has taken so long for these prisoners to take such necessary collective non-violent action to alter their intolerably inhumane conditions.
Inha Technical College