Jerusalem (Islam Times) – Minister of “Palestinian Detainees & Ex-Detainees Affairs”, Issa Qaraqe said in an interview with “Al Bayan” that Israel is not allowing the International Commission of Inquiry to be informed of the prisoners’ situation in the Israeli jails, noting that the Palestinian Authority are in constant contact with various international parties to put pressure on Israel to allow the Observer Mission to access the Palestinian territories and inspect the prisoners’ conditions inside Israeli jails who are subjected to harassment and violations of basic human rights and have engaged in a hunger strike since the seventeenth of this month.
Qaraqe pointed out that “the Ministry of Detainees is working on activating the prosecution of the leaders in Israeli prisons for crimes committed against the prisoners, which are classified according to international law as war crimes.”
The Minister of detainees sent an urgent letter to UN Secretary-General ‘Ban Ki-moon’ asking him to quickly intervene to stop the prisoners’ suffering given that more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike for a week, and some for 56 days especially Bilal Diab and Hassan Safadi who’s health have deteriorated.
In his letter, Qaraqe asked to form a committee to study the ill-legal violations exercised by the Israeli Government against the prisoners, stressing that an international third party should interfere to advocate for the prisoners and protect them.
Qaraqe told “Al Bayan” that: “the Israeli government is pursuing a revenge policy on the prisoners, and is denying them of the most basic human rights which violate the principles of international and humanitarian law.” He stressed that the prisoners’ demands are very possible and humble regarding the respect of their rights as human beings, such as the right for visits and education, and ending the series of attacks and sanctions imposed on them.
An international conference
Qaraqe added that “the First International Conference on Rights of Palestinian prisoners” held at United Nations Headquarters in the Swiss capital Geneva last month, under the slogan “work for justice”, conducted several important recommendations that should be implemented regarding the release of prisoners from Israeli jails.
He noted that the most important of these recommendations: Sending an international investigation committee to investigate the prisoners’ suffering, prosecuting Israeli leaders for violation of prisoners’ rights, reviewing the international agreements with Israel given that it doesn’t respect international laws and norms, and activating the role of the International Red Cross to follow up and protect the prisoners.
The Hunger Strike
Qaraqe assured that the hunger strike comes within a peaceful framework after all other efforts have failed to achieve their demands, adding that the detainees’ messages confirm that there is no trace of division among them, and that they refuse to be affected by any political bickering. He also pointed out that their success depends on their unity and people’s support.
(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 29.04.2012)