The General Delegation of the PLO to the United States joins Palestinians throughout the world in commemorating Palestinian Prisoners Day. This day serves to remind the international community of the ongoing plight of our people living under Israel’s military occupation who remain subject to frequent unlawful arrests and receive no due process of law.
Israel has detained 1,597 Palestinians this year alone, including 46 women and 311 of our precious minors, many of whom are held without charge or trial. Torture, brutal interrogations, medical negligence, visitation restrictions, and malnourishment are only examples of what our prisoners go through inside Israeli jails. Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned approximately 800,000 Palestinians, which is equivalent to 40 percent of the total male population in the occupied territories today. Israel’s systematic violations, which include mass and arbitrary arrests and inhumane treatment directly contravene international law. In its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, the Department of State cited a Military Court Watch briefing that outlined the Israeli military’s treatment of Palestinian children: 90 percent were hand-tied; 84 percent were blindfolded; 58 percent were physically abused; and 91 percent were denied access to a lawyer. The same report published by the Department of State also states that the Israeli Military Court had a conviction rate of more than 99 percent for Palestinians in 2016.
The Palestinian leadership and people stand with their sons and daughters who languish in Israeli jails, awaiting with heavy hearts, for the day when they are set free to return home.