DUBLIN, Friday, April 17, 2020 (WAFA) – Seán Crowe, spokesperson for Ireland‘s Sinn Féin party on Foreign Affairs, EU, Brexit and Defence, sent today solidarity greetings to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails
He said there is now a real concern of an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, calling for their immediate release especially those highly vulnerable to the disease.
Following is the full message of Dublin South West TD:
"I want to send the solidarity greetings of myself and the Sinn Féin party to all those Palestinians, imprisoned in Israeli jails for resisting the occupation of their homeland. We also want to extend that solidarity to the thousands of families and loved ones of those prisoners; your sons, daughters, and children are not forgotten and are in our thoughts.
Since the beginning of March this year, the Israeli military have arrested over 350 Palestinians and over 1,300 since the start of 2020. This tactic of widespread arrest and arbitrary detention of Palestinians, including children, is used as a tool to suppress the desire for freedom and oppress the resistance to the occupation by the people of Palestine
For decades, Israel has been tightening its repression and trying without success to assert its control over Palestinian prisoners. There are approximately 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, including 180 children, 41 female prisoners, 6 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council members, and 430 administrative detainees held in jails throughout Israel
Access to health care is used to try and break the morale of prisoners. Approximately 700 of these prisoners have various illnesses with more than 200 suffering chronic diseases that need comprehensive medical care.
We share the concerns of Palestinian leaders and prisoners‘ representatives who have expressed their mounting concern and fear over the spread of COVID-19 inside these prisons which are overcrowded, lack adequate ventilation, not maintained to basic hygiene standards, poor nutrition and access to exercise, and which do not offer prompt and quick access to medical care.
Any outbreak of COVID-19 would be catastrophic to the prison population and the risk is only heightened by the ongoing daily arrests and detention of new additional Palestinian prisoners.
Israel needs to stop its occupation, its mass detention of Palestinians, and abide by international and human rights law. We know from our own struggle that inhumane treatment of prisoners and a vindictive prison policy will not break the Palestinian desire for independence, freedom, and self-determination.
We are thinking of you and your families today.
Stay strong, stay united and in the words of the Irish Republican Prisoner Hunger striker Bobby Sands, ‘They have nothing in their entire arsenal to break the spirit of one single political prisoner-of-war who refuses to be broken."