Israeli Supreme Court Rules Against the Health, Safety, and Welfare of Palestinian Prisoners
by Stephen Lendman
The vast majority of Palestinians languishing in Israeli gulag harshness were imprisoned for political reasons.
Along with illegal occupation, collective punishment, assassinations and other forms of murder, state-terrorism, and other breaches of international law against long-suffering Palestinians, mass imprisoning them for political reasons is what the scourge of apartheid viciousness is all about.
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel petitioned its High Court to order "protective guidelines" for Palestinian prisoners at Gilboa prison.
As of July 23, Adalah reported that 30 prison guards and 7 Palestinian prisoners are infected with COVID-19 — 489 guards and 58 prisoners quarantined.
On Thursday, Israeli hardline justices ruled that Palestinians have no right to social distancing or other protections against the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Gilboa is overcrowded with about 450 of what Israel's Prison Service and Public Security Ministry calls "security prisoners" — code language referring to imprisoning them for political reasons.
Adalah attorney Myssana Morany petitioned Israel's Supreme Court on behalf of the families of two Palestinian prisoners in the facility.
In response to the High Court ruling that showed indifference toward the right of all Palestinian victims of Israeli injustice, she issued the following statement, saying:
"Israel's Supreme Court has chosen to accept the fiction pitched to it by Israeli authorities that COVID-19 social distancing policies – essential for everyone else – are not relevant to the Palestinian 'security prisoners' it holds behind bars" unjustly.
"This precedent-setting ruling endangers the lives and health of Palestinians held by Israel – and poses a threat to society as a whole."
"It flies in the face of health and human rights professionals around the world who have called for social distancing within prisons, and leaves Palestinians held by Israel exposed to the virus with no option to protect themselves."
High Court justices accepted the phony argument presented by Israeli authorities that Palestinian prisoners are no different from family members or others living in the same residence.
Adalah stressed that "prisoners are held under duress and Israeli authorities are responsible for their health and the conditions of their incarceration."
The High Court ruling showed no concern for their health, safety and welfare in support of apartheid viciousness.
It also ordered Adalah to pay court expenses, compounding its unacceptable ruling.
Six Palestinian prisoners are held in 22-square meter cells with three bunk beds, sharing a common toilet, Adalah explained.
Since COVID-19 outbreaks erupted and spread in Israel, hundreds of prisoners in overcrowded facilities were released, no Palestinian political ones.
Pre-COVID-19 outbreaks, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that prisoners must have a minimum of 4.5 meters of living space.
The Netanyahu regime ignored the ruling.
Separately in mid-July, Adalah informed the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) about lack of proper care for Palestinians in dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.
By detailed report, it explained that the Netanyahu regime "acted in a discriminatory manner in making interventions to protect people's lives and wellbeing…"
It cited "no equal access to health/medical services, distance learning, and economic financial support," adding:
Its unacceptable actions "deepened the reality of structural discrimination in all fields of life faced by vulnerable groups, primarily Palestinian citizens of Israel, including the Bedouin, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, Palestinian workers from the West Bank, and Palestinian political prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons."
Occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arab citizens are denied proper medical and other services related to health and welfare, along with economic measures afforded to Israeli Jews, largely privileged ones.
Last December, a report by Israel's National Insurance Institute said 469,400 Israeli families, 1.8 million people, around 28% of Israeli Jews, are impoverished.
The number includes 841,000 children, nearly half the total.
Poverty among Israeli Arab citizens was estimated at over 44%.
The above numbers exclude largely Palestinian East Jerusalem. If included, the overall poverty level would likely be much higher.
Among developed countries, Israel is one of the most unequal, the same true for the US, UK, and other Western nations.
Their ruling regimes exploit ordinary people to benefit privileged ones exclusively.
Claims otherwise by their governments are bald-faced Big Lies.
Calling itself the "largest NGO combating poverty and food insecurity in Israel," Latet.org said the following:
"Contrary to the press release by" the Netanyahu regime, policies he and hardliners surrounding him pursue "preserv(e) poverty."
Things are "worsening (for) children…and the elderly."
According to Latet data, 2.3 million Israelis are impoverished, including one million children — around one-third of Israeli Jews.
Around one-fifth of Israeli Jews are food insecure, meaning they're unsure about getting their next meal.
The Israel National Council for the Childen executive director Vered Windman slammed unequal Israeli socioeconomic policy, warning that great disparities in the country "will have far-reaching (detrimental) social consequences ahead."
Labor-Gesher MK Orly Levy-Abekasis said hardline ruling regimes have "forsaken the elderly to die of cold and hunger and left children out in the streets."
"Israeli society is in the midst of one of the deepest social crises it has known."
The above criticism applies to how it treats Jews. For Israeli Arab citizens and Occupied Palestinians, things are far worse.