Detentions in Israel

Administrative prison detentions are a big problem in Israeli prisons! During my three-year stay in Hebron, I heard many stories of Palestinian imprisonment from people in my neighborhood. I witnessed six Israeli soldiers with M16s break into the home I was visiting, search for the son and drag him off to prison for six months. No clear charge given. I visited a 15-year-old accused of throwing a stone at a soldier. He served for three months. My friend Hani, like my friend Issa and like many other detainees, was in and out of prison for their peaceful resistance to the occupation. Always, the questions loomed before us: Will he return? When will he return? Every six-month administrative detention can be renewed. And they are!

Feb. 23, Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian man who allegedly threw a rock at a soldier, died of a heart attack in Israel’s Megiddo Prison. However, an autopsy later revealed Jaradat was, in fact, tortured to death under interrogation. Jaradat’s father told the Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse, “His back was full of contusions, some of his ribs were broken as well, and the back of head was swollen (possibly from a blunt blow of an M16). There was dried blood on his face from his nostrils, and his lips were lacerated.”

“According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 203 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli captivity, including dozens who died after their release by a few days, weeks or months due to medical negligence sustained inside the prisons. Seventy-one prisoners died as a result of torture inside Israeli prisons, 51 out of medical negligence, and 74 murdered intentionally after their arrests. The remaining seven were shot with gunfire inside the prisons.”

Whenever a death like Jaradat’s occurs, there are mass hunger strikes and mass Palestinian demonstrations. The lid pops! The angry emotions in the air fuel protests. This has been happening across the West Bank since Jaradat’s death Feb. 23. The number of hunger strikers in prisons has risen to 10, after long-term strikers Ja’far Ezzedine and Tareq Qa’dan suspended their 93-day fast until March 6, when the Israeli military prosecutor will decide whether to renew their administrative detention.

All this goes unreported by mainstream media. As I have been reporting incidents and policies of the Israeli occupation through these last five years in this and other local newspapers, it seems that mainstream newspapers continue to dismiss and boycott all Middle East news coverage that puts a dark shadow over Israeli practices. Even in Israeli newspapers such as the Haaretz, there is much more free coverage of such incidents as the above than here in the United States. Our tongues are tied; our pens have gone dry, it seems, in reporting such injustices.

I thank God The Advertiser-Tribune has the courage to report this and other such articles which take a different viewpoint from mainstream newspapers. I ask the question of all who read this article: Is it not time nationwide to release our bondage and totally blind support of Israel – come what may from ideological Zionists and iron-willed Jewish lobbies like AIPAC? Is it not time to stop the unconditional support of this unjust and illegal Israeli occupation with our $11 million/day which all taxpayers pay for?

Please call your Congress people and urge them to have the courage to vote on the side of truth rather than fall into the groove of all others who depend on AIPAC funds to keep them in office.


Sister Paulette Schroeder, Tiffin