A Palestinian prisoner suffering from laryngeal cancer has tested positive for the new coronavirus amid rising concerns over the health condition of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails and detention centers in light of the deadly pandemic.
The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs announced on Sunday that 46-year-old Kamal Abu Waer, whose health has severely deteriorated recently, was transferred from Gilboa Prison in the northern part of the Israeli-occupied territories, to Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center, located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, on July 7 to undergo some tests.
Abu Waer tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday morning.
As a result, prison authorities at Gilboa placed Palestinian prisoners as well as 24 Israeli guards in isolation.
The Palestinian commission held the Israel Prison Service responsible for the serious deterioration in Abu Waer’s health given the deliberate medical neglect he has been subjected to.
It also called for COVID-19 diagnostic test to be conducted on all Palestinian detainees in Gilboa Prison, especially those with serious health issues.
There have been growing calls from regional and international rights groups, including the Europal Forum, to put pressure on the Israeli regime to provide Palestinian prisoners with enough protection against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Palestinian and Arab activists also launched a media campaign earlier this year by using local radio stations and Twitter hashtags to help protest the Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Palestinian Information Center, over 60 official and private institutions from around the world, including societies, unions and media outlets, participated in the campaign.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has also said that Tel Aviv must “take full and direct responsibility for the life and health of the prisoners” as the contagion rages around the world, including across the occupied Palestinian territories.
On April 6, the secretary general of the Arab League appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners from the Israeli jails amid rising coronavirus cases in the occupied territories.
Ahmed Abul Gheit, in a letter addressed to Director General of ICRC Robert Mardini, expressed regret that Israeli authorities had released some settlers charged with criminal offenses, but excluded Palestinian prisoners.
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