A London-based forum has hosted webinar that highlighted Israeli racism against Palestinian prisoners and medical negligence inside Israeli jails.
On 17 April 2020, Palestinian Prisoners Day, EuroPal Forum hosted the webinar via the ZOOM communications platform titled ‘5000 Prisoners: Israeli Racism and Medical Negligence Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak’.
The webinar, which heard from Motasem Dalloul, Akram Satari, and Charlotte Kates, sought to bridge the lack of coverage on the issue of Palestinian prisoners through facilitating a forum to better understand the current status quo for Palestinians in Israeli jails amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
In this light, the webinar was opened by EuroPal Forum’s Public Relations Officer, Robert Andrews, who noted that the webinar consists of just one action in EuroPal Forum’s broad campaign to highlight the dynamics of the prisoners’ issue.
Andrews noted that EuroPal Forum have pursued a number of initiatives to this end, including a letter campaign that has seen the NGO write to a number of public officials, foreign ministers, and parliamentarians with the expressed aim of raising awareness about the plight of Palestinian prisoners.
The first speaker of the webinar was Gazan-based journalist and political commentator Motasem Dalloul, who concentrated his segment on looking at both the history of the denial of health care to Palestinian prisoners and the gravity of the threat to Palestinian prisoners in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dalloul started his segment by noting that the abuse of Palestinian prisoners is not a novel phenomenon and is not limited to factors of a specific nature.
Rather, he noted that Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to continuous widespread and systematic abuse that can be traced to the start of Israel’s illegal occupation beginning in 1967.
This abuse can be clearly seen, according to Motasem, through both the means and methods through which Palestinians are arrested and taken into Israeli custody, as well as the complete denial of health care once within the prison system.
Since the start of March, according to Motasem, Israel’s systematic arrest campaign has seen the detention of 357 Palestinians (including 48 children and 4 women), while since the start of 2020 Israel has arrested close to 1,300 Palestinians (including 210 children and 31 women).
Other speakers, including Akram al Satari, a former prisoner in Israeli jails, and Charlotte Kates, the international coordinator of Palestinian prisoner rights group Samidoun, spoke about other angels related to the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners.
Al Satari spoke about his gloomy expeirnce inside the Israeli jails and how he was treated inside the “slaughterhouse” which the Israeli prison Service considers as a clinic.
Meanwhile, Kates focused on the different initiatives available to raise awareness about the situation facing Palestinian prisoners.
She noted that with the global pandemic of COVID-19, the prisoner issue has become more critical on a health level than ever before despite being critical on a political, social, and human level prior to the outbreak.
In this context, it is important, as he notes, for international activists to focus on the case of Palestinian prisoners because the ‘potentially devastating impact of the spread of this virus among the prisoners is really quite clear’.
These prisoners, 5000 in number, are ‘mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, teachers, students, community organisers, women’s leaders, workers’ union leaders, freedom fighters, people who are engaged in all aspects of struggle and all aspects of society locked away in Israeli jails and threatened with death by the spread of COVID-19’.
Palestine Post 24