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  • A man waves the Palestinian flag in the occupied West Bank

    A man waves the Palestinian flag in the occupied West Bank | Photo: EFE

Published 25 March 2020

"Israel is in violation of its obligations under international law, the Geneva Conventions and human rights principles that demand Israel, as the occupying power, to take full and direct responsibility for the life and health of the prisoners."

Palestine on Wednesday urged Israel to immediately release over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners from its jails amidst an outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

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In a press statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) is not providing proper health protection to Palestinian prisoners, despite an alarming increase of coronavirus cases in Israel.

"Israel is in violation of its obligations under international law, the Geneva Conventions and human rights principles that demand Israel, as the occupying power, to take full and direct responsibility for the life and health of the prisoners," said the statement.

"Palestine will continue to follow up on the health conditions of the prisoners in light of the outbreak of this pandemic with the relevant international parties, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross," it added.

Earlier, a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli prison located in the south of Israel set fire to a room used by the prison guards in protest of the prison authorities "neglect of the health conditions for the prisoners," according to official sources.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Detainees Affairs Commission, said IPS reduced the medical staff in jails to only one nurse in every facility, warning that this situation could lead to serious reactions from the prisoners.

Last week, Palestinian and Israeli sources said that four Palestinian prisoners in Megiddo prison were quarantined after they were suspected of contracting coronavirus disease from an Israeli interrogator.

Abu Bakr urged the International Red Cross and other human rights organizations to intervene on behalf of the prisoners to make sure they get the proper health care amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

There are over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including around 300 children, according to official data.

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