Prisoners in Israel's Ramle Prison, July 29, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90) (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Israeli prison

Sick Palestinian prisoners refuse medication, as they believe a PA libel that Israel is medically experimenting on them.

By Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch

One of the most common Palestinian Authority libels is that Israel does medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. The PA disseminates the additional lie that Israeli pharmaceutical companies test drugs on prisoners.

This PA libel was so successfully disseminated that Palestinian prisoners who are sick are now refusing medication for fear that they are guinea pigs in an Israeli pharmaceutical company drug trial.

Since there is no truth to this libel, the PA leadership is unnecessarily causing great suffering and damaging the health of the prisoners.

The top Palestinian official dealing with prisoners – director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, explained the terrorist’s dilemma. While announcing that prisoners are refusing treatment, Abu Bakr had the audacity to libel Israel further, saying in the same interview that “there is clear [medical] neglect [by Israel] of the prisoners.”

The following are the PA libels and the Palestinian suffering it has caused as repeated by Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr:

Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr: “There is clear neglect of the prisoners… Let’s say the prisoners who become sick, many of them – as is known from the prisons – refuse to take medicine, because they fear that the medicine they are receiving from the [prison] management will worsen their condition more and more.”

“In the past, they took an aspirin for everything because aspirin doesn’t cause harm… Currently, they [Israeli doctors] are giving the sick [large] quantities of medicine, and according to how the prisoners feel, it is like they are a test lab for the Israeli pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, there is great abstention from taking the Israeli medicine, other than in rare cases.”

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Jan. 17, 2022]

‘Systematic and Deliberate Targeting of Prisoners’

The official PA news agency WAFA echoed these libels in the name of the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, claiming that Israel “targets” the terrorist prisoners “systematically and deliberately” and “misleads and deceives them regarding the diseases from which they are suffering”:

Headline: “The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs: Deliberate medical errors and deliberate neglect against the prisoners in the occupation’s prisons”

“The occupation’s Israeli Prison Service is continuing the series of medical crimes against sick and wounded prisoners in all the prisons. It is targeting them systematically and deliberately, while ignoring all the international laws that guarantee their rights as sick prisoners.

The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs noted in a statement on Jan. 31, 2022, that the occupation authorities are not ceasing to disregard the lives of the prisoners, drag their feet in diagnosing the diseases from which they are suffering, and leave them without treatment.

It added that many times the Israeli Prison Service attempts to mislead the prisoners and deceive them regarding the diseases from which they are suffering, and in addition, it carries out medical errors against them.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Jan. 31, 2022]

Libel on medical abuse of Palestinian prisoners – the PA claims that Israel abuses Palestinian prisoners, through medical neglect, medical experiments, and by intentionally infecting them with diseases.

However, the International Red Cross regularly visits these prisoners and has not documented or accused Israel of any of these claims. Likewise, lists of demands occasionally issued by the prisoners during hunger strikes – such as during one in 2011 – include no demands relating to these claims.

PMW has documented prisoners talking about how they “lack nothing” in the prisons, and that “the worst thing about Israeli prison” is riding in a prison vehicle that has no padding on the seat.

When PMW contacted the Israeli Ministry of Health in 2007 regarding PA claims of medical experiments on prisoners, the ministry responded: “Clinical testing on prisoners in prison was never approved, never performed, and is most certainly not taking place at present.”

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