Palestinian former minister of prisoners affairs Wasfi Kabha on Saturday said the Israeli occupation authorities have refused to provide Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails with face masks and other safety supplies to protect themselves against coronavirus.
Kabha said the prisoners were asked to use their socks as safety masks by the Israel Prison Service in a blatant disregard for their lives.
Given the overcrowding in Israeli prison cells and the absence of cleaning supplies at the prison canteens, Palestinian detainees are now more vulnerable in light of the coronavirus outbreak, he noted.
Kabha, an ex-detainee, said that most of the diseases affecting Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails usually result from the lack of health care and hygiene supplies.
There is no periodic cleaning of the prisoners’ old and dirty rooms, let alone sterilization, he added.
The former minister said there are 1,000 detainees in Israeli jails with health problems, including 28 suffering from chronic diseases, which means they are at a higher risk to catch coronavirus.
He called on concerned human rights organizations locally and internationally to pressure the Israeli authorities to take all necessary preventive measures that would ensure the Palestinian prisoners’ safety during the coronavirus pandemic.