Report: 308,000 Palestinians imprisoned since First Intifada 1987
Despite imprisoning large numbers of Palestinians since 1967 and subjecting them to inhumane conditions, Israel has failed to quell Palestinian resistance and their struggle to regain their basic rights.
More than 308,000 Palestinians have been forcibly detained [Ar] since the beginning of the First Intifada on 8 December 1987, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies [Ar]. Nearly 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested since 1967, reported the NGO, also known as the Asra Centre.
Those imprisoned include men, women and children of all ages and social classes, who have been detained for periods ranging between several hours to many years.
A total of 210,000 were arrested between the beginning of the First Intifada and the Palestinian Authority’s establishment in mid-1994. An additional 10,000 were arrested between 1994 and the beginning of the Second Intifada, also known as al-Aqsa Intifada, on 28 September 2000. Since then, a further 88,000 have been arrested.
In the report, issued on the 27th anniversary of the outbreak of the First Intifada, the Asra Centre argued Israel’s policy of arresting Palestinians had failed.
Israel hopes to intimidate the Palestinians into ending their resistance and their struggle to regain their basic rights, the report read.
During the First Intifada, Palestinian prisoners were kept in much worse conditions than they are today. They lived in cramped conditions, lacked basic facilities such as sheets, blankets and clothes, and food was limited and of poor quality. Many were denied visitors and physically abused.
During the First Intifada, 43 prisoners died. Internationally banned methods of torture killed 23, while 11 died from intentional medical negligence, two were shot, and seven were murdered soon after being arrested, according to the report.
Many more were detained during the First Intifada than the Second Intifada, forcing Israel to open new prisons to accommodate all its prisoners. One of the biggest and most infamous at the time was Ktziot Prison in the Negev.
More than 120,000 Palestinians were detained here, and reportedly subjected to all forms of humiliation and torture.
The Asra Centre also confirmed that 30 inmates arrested before and during the First Intifada were still in prison.
Israel has refused to release them. They include 14 Palestinian citizens of Israel, the oldest being Karim Youssef Younes who was imprisoned in 1983; nine from the West Bank, the oldest being Mohammad Ahmed al-Tous from Hebron who has been in prison since 1985; five from Jerusalem — Samir Ibrahim Abu Neama is the eldest, jailed since 1986; and two from Gaza, the oldest being Fares Ahmed Baroud who has been in prison since 1991.
The Asra Centre called on institutions to document all arrests and violations against inmates, so they can bear witness to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. Any evidence accrued will also be used to file international lawsuits against the occupation.