Representative of the Ramallah-based Committee for Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-prisoners, Hassan Abd Rabo, expressed on Tuesday the committee’s growing concerns over the safety of the 5,000 Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.
Abd Rabo’s remarks come amidst the internationally-spread Coronavirus, inside Israel and some Palestinian cities, towns and villages.
He was quoted as saying that up to this moment, Israeli Prisons Authority has failed to take necessary steps to provide protection for Palestinian prisoners, including sterilizing prison cells or medical check-ups for prisoners.
Recently, Palestinian prisoners’ bodies, including the said committee, have expressed a great deal of concern over the health status of Palestinian prisoners, of whom a few hundred are patients suffering from chronic diseases with weak immune systems, including women and children.
Noteworthy, the Israeli government decided late on Monday night to enforce a total lockdown on Israeli cities and towns, mainly those with high rates of Coronavirus cases, starting from Tuesday through Friday.
Israeli media reports said that the number of Coronavirus patients has reached 9006, and 60 reported deaths.
In a related statement, Abdellatif Alqanou, spokesperson for the ruling Hamas party in Gaza, was quoted earlier on Tuesday as saying that the international community should promptly pressure Israeli authorities to facilitate entry of all needed medical supplies to enable health authorities in the coastal enclave, to continue the fight against the Coronavirus.
The statement comes hours after the Gaza-based health ministry launched an appeal to all relevant international bodies to swiftly provide medical support, after Coronavirus diagnostic tools have reportedly run out of the ministry’s stores.
Worth-mentioning, Israeli Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett, earlier conditioned helping deliver medical supplies to the Israel-besieged Gaza Strip, with the release of two Israeli soldiers, who went missing back in 2014, when Israel carried out a large-scale attack on the densely populated tiny coastal enclave.
Last week, Hamas’s leader in the territory, Yehya Alsinwar, offered the Israeli occupation authorities a possible prisoner swap deal, in which Hamas may release the two missing Israeli soldiers, in return for an Israeli release of hundreds of elderly, juvenile and female prisoners. The Hamas party said on Tuesday that Israel has not yet responded. The party considered such an offer a humanitarian one that takes into account the current Coronavirus crisis, in a way that would protect the lives of those particular Palestinian prisoners.
Media reports suggested that Israel has shown willingness to start indirect negotiations with Hamas over the party’s last offer for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in return for some Israelis, missing in Gaza since Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza.