Hundreds of Palestinians rallied on Sunday in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip commemorating Palestinian Prisoner’s Day. The rally in Gaza City, which was organized by a prisoners’ committee representing various Palestinian factions, marched from the Unknown Soldier’s Square in the center of Gaza City to the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Abdul-Hamid Hamad of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) maintained in his speech that Israel “continues to violate the rights of Palestinian prisoners in an obvious breach of international law.” He urged Palestinian leaders to take the prisoners’ plight to the International Criminal Court and other international organizations.
Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of the Hamas movement — said that the “al-Qassam Brigades have enough tools to accomplish an honorable prisoner swap deal with Israel,” likely referring to the four Israelis currently held captive in the Gaza Strip.
“The enemy’s leadership must realize that behind our prisoners stand men who won’t enjoy life until their brothers are freed from their chains. We will prove that we keep our promises,” Abu Ubaida said.
Representatives of prisoner rights organizations and families of prisoners also joined the rally.
In the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, a number of official and non-governmental organizations organized a rally marking Palestinian Prisoner’s Day. Among the organizers were the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, the Center for Defending Freedoms, and the Ramallah governor’s office.
Hundreds rallied in the streets waving Palestinian flags and posters showing solidarity with Palestinians detained and imprisoned by Israel.
Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Chairman Issa Qaraqe maintained that Israel should be put on a “list of shame” because of its violations of prisoners’ rights and crimes against humanity.
According to prisoner’s rights group Addameer, there are 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. Among them are 68 women, 438 minors, including 98 children under the age of 16.
The organization estimates that 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has been detained at some point. Israel currently holds 700 Palestinians under its policy of administrative detention — internment without trial or charge. Six administrative detainees are children.
There are some 1,000 sick Palestinian prisoners, including 24 suffering from cancer, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies. Rights groups have widely condemned Israel for its medical negligence of Palestinians in its prisons.
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