A new report on the conditions of Palestinians jailed in Israel says that since the Shalit prisoner transfer deal last month, the situation has improved little, leaving many to wonder if it was a bad bargain.
A report recently published from the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs stated that improved conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails agreed on in the swap deal freeing Israeli IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, are not being implemented.
The report noted that 60 prisoners in Ashkelon jail have been banned from buying goods from the prison store for two months and have also been denied family visits for more than one month.
The prisoners are withheld higher education, room raids are commonplace and beatings from prison administration often occur, the report said.
Walid Daqqa, currently serving a life sentence in Galbou jail, was quoted by Maan News Agency expressing disappointment that PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat and other prisoners are still being held in solitary confinement.
As Shalit was freed last month in exchange for 1,027 Palestinians, steps to improve living conditions inside Israeli jails were settled as a part of the deal.
Also, as the deal was executed it became clear that 9 female prisoners thought to be included would remain incarcerated. The deal did free 27 females, but had been thought to clear Israeli prisons of female Palestinian inmates.
At the time of the swap, a hunger strike was at its peek inside Israeli jails. Palestinian prisoners, led by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Sadaat, were calling for an end to solitary confinement policies and additional violations of prisoners’ rights.
After the deal, the three-week long strike was suspended due to a promise from Israel’s Prison Administration to end arbitrary policies. This was to be ratified immediately after the prisoner-swap had been concluded.
The harsh policies were initiated in July, as Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu meant to pressure Hamas to release Shalit.
But after his release, 9 women are still in prison and 550 prisoners remain waiting to be freed in the exchange that is now one month old.
A Maan report quoted Hamas official Saleh Arouri on Thursday stating that the 9 women would be freed at the latest in two weeks’ time. This has not been confirmed by Israeli officials.
Sources told BikyaMasr.com that around 550 Palestinians are still kept in solitary confinement. According to recent estimates from the Palestinian Authority, 5000 Palestinians are still inside Israeli jails.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe stated recently that the situation for Palestinian prisoners was worse now than before the Shalit deal. These numbers are far from static, as new detentions of Palestinians from inside the West Bank to Israeli jails are reported daily. This past week, 9 Palestinians were detained from the West Bank and Gaza.
The Shalit swap deal did not include any of the 160 children detained in Israeli jails.
Most of the 477 Palestinians freed in the first part of this exchange were allowed home, provided they report to Israel monthly and not travel between Palestinians cities.
Some were exiled to Gaza, cut off from their families in the West Bank (who are not allowed into Gaza), and the most unfortunate were exiled to “third countries” and banned from ever returning home.
A report from: http://bikyamasr.com/