Two thirds of the Palestinian detainees in an Israeli detention facility at the illegal Etzion settlement bloc, south of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, are minors, the Detainees and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs Commission revealed today.
It said there were 24 Palestinian minors in the detention facility of Etzion who account for two thirds of the total number of detainees there. The majority were subjected to various forms of torture – both physical and psychological – during their detention and interrogation.
It added that they were beaten, thrown to the ground and trampled on, and hit with the rifle butts all over their bodies, sworn at and kept for long hours at an army facility with their hands cuffed and without any food before they are taken to prison.
There are currently 39 Palestinian detainees held at the Etzion facility, the commission said.
Qatari envoy to the region and head of Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Mohammad Al Emadi, said on Tuesday that his country laid down mechanism to deliver aid to those in need in Gaza that keeps up with international standards.
Speaking to QNA, Al Emadi said that his country had developed the mechanism of delivering the assistance in cooperation with the UN Agency for Palestine Refugee (UNRWA) and other international partners.
Qatar, he explained, will continue offering aid based on this mechanism, as well as continuing to defend Palestinian rights and the Palestinian people.
The Qatari aid has been important to help Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip cope with life under the stifling Israeli siege.
He stated that his country has been offering aid to Palestinians on low incomes and worked to maintain the flow of electricity in cooperation with the UN.
Germany yesterday signed a joint cooperation agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), pledging support €100 million ($117.8 million) in support for the government over the next two years, Wafa news agency reported.
The German donation aims to finance vital projects in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem.
PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh expressed his appreciation and thanks to the government and people of Germany for their generous and continuous support and commitment to the rights of the Palestinian people to liberation, independence and the right of return for refugees.
“We hope our friends in Germany, the European Union, and the international community will help put pressure on Israel to allow elections to be held in all the Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem,” Shtayyeh said.
For his part, the representative of Germany to Palestine, Oliver Owcza, praised the historical relations and bilateral relations between Palestine and Germany.
He reiterated his country’s support for a negotiated two-state solution, holding elections in Palestine and respecting human rights and public freedoms.
Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad Al Nakhala, said yesterday that his movement “is ready to be part of the prisoners’ action aimed at confronting oppressive Israeli measures” inside prisons.
In a message addressing Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel’s high security Gilboa Prison, Al Nakhala said that his movement is following up closely on what is going on inside the occupation’s jails since the “courageous heroes” escaped.
Referring to the six escapees as the Freedom Brigade, he said: “The knights of the Freedom Brigades caused unprecedented Palestinian, Arabic and international sympathy with the Palestinian prisoners.”
“Our brothers, Mahmoud Al Arida and his colleagues, became symbols of challenge, courage and will,” he said, adding: “They were admired by all free people around the globe.”
“I am telling you that we will be with you until the end of your battle,” he told the prisoners. “We will not hesitate to confront the Israeli occupation as an extension to your confrontation behind bars,” he continued.
“Be confident that your choice is ours and we will not hesitate to be part of your battle.”
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has said that Israel will not be removing any illegal Jewish settlements from the occupied West Bank and will maintain them in the long term, Foreign Policyreported yesterday.
Speaking to the news site, he addressed several issues related to Iran, the region and Palestine, saying: “We need two political entities here.”
Gantz met with the Palestinian Authority (PA) President two weeks ago and discussed several issues, including stability in the occupied West Bank and security cooperation.
“Abbas is still dreaming of the 1967 lines [as the basis for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and an end to the conflict] – this won’t happen,” Foreign Policy reported Gantz saying.
He stressed: “He [Abbas] has to realise we’re staying there [in the occupied West Bank]. … We’re not taking down settlements.”
In spite of the criticism he came under after the meeting, Gantz said maintaining ties to Abbas and his authority is “a value of the highest importance.”
Around half a million Jewish settlers live in more than 250 illegal settlements and outposts built on occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. All are in contravention of international law.
Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, yesterday warned that raiding the West Bank city of Jenin could become an inevitable choice, Israeli TV Channel 12 reported.
Al Maydan News Agency reported the Israeli TV channel as quoting Kochavi saying the Israeli army would raid the city to “purge” the armed Palestinian factions.
Kochavi expected that one of the Palestinian escapees could have reached and entered Jenin, and could be receiving assistance from there.
He said that the investigations with Zakaria Al Zubeidi, who was recaptured, revealed that the escapees planned to go to Jenin.
“If we became sure that they arrived in Jenin, a large amount of the army would be ready to raid the city, rearrest them and put them in prison again even if this affected the rest of the West Bank,” he said.
He added that if the two remaining escapees are found to be in a different West Bank town, the same scenario would be implemented in that area.
Kochavi said that the Palestinian Authority has become weak in the occupied West Bank and Israel would not allow the Palestinian organisations to “raise their heads.”
Lawyers for two of the Palestinian prisoners who managed to escape Israeli prison on September 6, on Wednesday, confirmed that the escapees have suffered torture at the hands of the Israeli forces, the Associated Press (AP) has revealed.
For the first time, since they were captured, on September 11, lawyers were permitted to interview two of the detainees.
Attorney with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) Raslan Mahajna, met with political prisoner Mahmoud al-‘Arda, one of the six Palestinians who escaped from Israeli prison, who informed him of the harsh details of interrogation and the systematic denial of basic human needs.
Israeli human rights lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, told AP that his client, Zakariyya Zobeidi, said that security forces handcuffed him, asked him his name, and when he stated “Zakariyya”, they proceeded to brutally assault him, causing him two rib fractures and a fractured jaw.
“They didn’t have any intention to commit any kind of terrorist attack.”
On September 12, one day after his capture, the health condition of Zobeidi, 46, deteriorated, so he was transferred to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for medical treatment, according to Hasan Abed Rabbo, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Detainees Affairs Commission.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Zakaria Zubeidi, one of Gilboa prison breakers, has met his lawyer for the first time after being rearrested last Saturday.
Zakaria told his lawyer that he only knew about the escape plan a few days before it and that he did not ask anyone outside to help.
Zubeidi’s lawyer said that the health condition of his client is good although he was beaten by Israeli forces when they arrested him.
In the same context, the Commission of Detainees and Former Detainees said that Zubeidi and Muhammad Al Aridah were beaten and tortured when they were rearrested. Zubeidi has fractures in his jaw and ribs.
The commission added that Zubeidi was taken to a hospital but he was given only painkillers.
“They [the four prisoners] have not asked anyone outside for help to protect them from any Israeli punitive measures”, the lawyer cited Zubeidi. “They did not also drink after the whole time and they were eating fruits from orchards in their way.”