Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centers have threatened to go on an open-ended hunger strike in protest at a ban on meeting attorneys, lack of protective measures by guards during searches in their cells, and denial of medical protection gear in the wake of soaring cases of infection with the vitus called COVID-19.
Palestinian prisoners returned their breakfast and lunch servings on Thursday, and during the weekend. They plan to launch a full hunger strike at the beginning of next month.
Human right source said that Prisoners are enclosed in their cells, the source said, adding that Israeli wardens “who deliver food [to Palestinian prisoners] are walking around, handing it out with no gloves or masks….”
Palestinian prisoners have not been tested for the coronavirus, as Israeli Health Ministry regulations in place call for a test only in cases where there exist both exposure to a confirmed patient and symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking member of Hamas said Israeli authorities were denying Palestinian prisoners medical protection gear.
Wasfi Kabha said the Israel Prison Service has ordered the inmates to use their socks in place of masks in a blatant disregard for their safety and lives.
“Given the overcrowding in Israeli detention centers and the absence of cleaning products at the prison canteens, Palestinian detainees are now more vulnerable in light of the coronavirus outbreak,” he commented.
Kabha, a former Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, further noted that most of the diseases afflicting Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails usually result from the lack of healthcare and hygiene supplies.
There is no regular cleaning of the cells, let alone their disinfection, he added.
The former Palestinian minister said there are 1,000 prisoners in Israeli jails with health problems, including 28 suffering from chronic diseases. This means they are at a higher contraction risk.
Kabha called on concerned local and international human rights organizations to pressure Israeli authorities to take all the necessary preventive measures that would ensure the safety of the Palestinian prisoners in the time of the pandemic.
Separately, Israeli police forces have abandoned a Palestinian man suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus at a checkpoint in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency posted pictures of a Palestinian worker lying on the ground near a junction close to Kifl Haris village in the northern West Bank, located six kilometers west of Salfit and 18 kilometers south of Nablus, on Tuesday.