According to a report Monday morning, Palestinian police cannot provide food for prisoners detained in its prisons because there is no money to pay for it. In addition, a senior Palestinian official told London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi that all units of the Palestinian security forces have had no food for two days.
Palestinian police chief General Ala Husseini confirmed the newspaper reports that prisoners and forces have not had any food for two days. Husseini said that the matter has been reported to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as well as Interior Minister Said Siam. According to Husseini, the situation is worsening dramatically, and Abbas and Haniyeh are holding a series of meetings in attempt to solve the crisis.
According to the newspaper report, Palestinian police asked citizens to prepare food for their imprisoned relatives and bring it to the prisons. So as not to starve the prisoners, the authority was considering released many of them. A police commander from the criminal unit told the newspaper that the severe shortage of food for prisoners began one month ago, and if no money comes soon, there will not be a thing to feed them.
One of the prisoners who was released two days ago said that when his former prison-mates are fed – it is in extremely small quantities of food. A prison warden said that the guards were asking local civilians to prepare food because what they could provide was less than enough for even one meal.
The newspaper continued that prison guards have been sharing what the prisoners’ families bring them. One policeman said that they get as little as a loaf of bread three times a week and a few vegetables on other days.
Lately there have been worsening reports of the financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority (PA) after workers were not paid salaries last month due to the lack of funds. Just Saturday it was reported that many Palestinians had begun to sell their jewelry to get money for food.
According to the report, not only Gaza’s poorer populations but also women working for the government sector and those married to government members who haven’t been paid for two months are taking such desperate measures to get money.
It is becoming more and more evident that not just PA clerks are suffering but also other sectors of the Palestinian economy. Supermarket owners have stopped selling to PA clerks due to the large debts they have accumulated. Some reports note that Gaza barbershops have started to shut down because customers failed to pay.
*this article was reprinted from Yediot Ahranoth newspaper