Violating International Legal Obligations: Israel's Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners

12-03-2013

Nearly five thousand Palestinians are held by Israel in a 'parallel' justice system reserved for those accused of offenses against the state. Instead of entering the Palestinian legal system, these prisoners are tried by Israel's military courts and often held in Israel, in conditions that violate international humanitarian and human rights conventions. Children and elected officials are among them, subject to ill-treatment — including prolonged solitary confinement, abuse and a lack of due process— by Israeli military authorities. A number of prisoners have gone on hunger strike and increasing numbers of protestors have demonstrated to demand that Israel guarantee basic prisoners' rights and end its deplorable prison conditions and indefinite detention without charges or fair trial. One prisoner has been on strike for more than 200 days; he and a number of others are in critical condition and require urgent medial treatment. While the United Nations and other international bodies have condemned Israel's systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners as a blatant violation of international law, the situation has only recently attracted widespread international calls for action. The European Union has expressed its concern, but action is now required.

Nearly five thousand Palestinians are held by Israel in a 'parallel' justice system reserved for those accused of offenses against the state. Instead of entering the Palestinian legal system, these prisoners are tried by Israel's military courts and often held in Israel, in conditions that violate international humanitarian and human rights conventions. Children and elected officials are among them, subject to ill-treatment — including prolonged solitary confinement, abuse and a lack of due process— by Israeli military authorities. A number of prisoners have gone on hunger strike and increasing numbers of protestors have demonstrated to demand that Israel guarantee basic prisoners' rights and end its deplorable prison conditions and indefinite detention without charges or fair trial. One prisoner has been on strike for more than 200 days; he and a number of others are in critical condition and require urgent medial treatment. While the United Nations and other international bodies have condemned Israel's systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners as a blatant violation of international law, the situation has only recently attracted widespread international calls for action. The European Union has expressed its concern, but action is now required.