Coronavirus: Palestinian inmates fear for their lives in filthy and crowded Israeli jails

Palestinian prisoners sit in a prison cell in Ashkelon in 2004 (photo: Reuters)
Lack of hygiene products and packed cells leave prisoners fearing continued policy of ‘deliberate medical negligence’

By Akram Al-Waara | Middle East Eye | Mar 13, 2020

Palestinians… are concerned that the Israeli government and prison authorities are not taking the proper measures to prevent the spread of the virus and treat those who may become sick.

Fear and panic have characterised much of the past 10 days in the occupied West Bank, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb.

By Friday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that the number of official cases had risen to 35, 34 of them in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

But just as the measures taken by the government to stop the spread of the virus began to restore some sense of calm, Palestinians woke up to more dreadful news: the coronavirus had reached Israeli prisons, where thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are held.

Committee reported that one prisoner from Ashkelon prison had come into contact with an Israeli doctor who had tested positive for the virus.

Qadri Abu Bakr, the head of the committee, announced that the unidentified prisoner, along with 19 others, was being held in quarantine as a result.

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