Subcommittee Discusses with Palestinian Minister and Israeli Officials the Situation of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Prisons

Subcommittee on Human Rights met with Mr Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Minister of Detainees, to discuss the situation of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. The meeting was attended also by two Israeli officials, Brigadier General Dan Avimer, head of intelligence unit at the Israel Prison Service and Major Naftali Smulowitz, deputy legal advisor of Israel Prison Service.[:]In introducing the issue, Minister Qaraqe stressed that the treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody is first and foremost a humanitarian issue, while the conditions raise many equally humanitarian concerns. He raised several concerns as to the conditions, noting in particular how detainees are moved around between facilities, long sentences and arbitrary detention, weak protection of the rights of children and restrictions on families to visit the detainees. However, most alarming of all are reports of torture and ill-treatment. He furthermore emphasised that resolving the issue in question is a prerequisite for peace.

Members of the Subcommittee expressed concern over these and many other similar reports over abuse and arbitrariness with regards the detention system.

While Brigadier General Dan Avimeir, and Major Naftali Smulowitz of the Israel Prison Service did not substantiate their disagreement with the aforementioned issues, they insisted on the full accordance of Israel with Israeli and international law with regards their detention policy and treatment of prisoners.

All the speakers appreciated the opportunity to discuss this very important issue and it was agreed to continue the discussion in the future, perhaps by way of an European Parliament visit to the prisons in Israel.