Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, said in a special report today that the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention are often facing “an arduous journey” when having a chance to visit their imprisoned relatives.
“Every visit to prison involves an entire day of arduous travel and physical and emotional hardship – especially for elderly relatives and children,” said the group, as it blamed Israeli authorities for taking no part in facilitating prison visits. It said the task of organizing these visits falls entirely to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
B’Tselem added that Israel has been imposing “numerous restrictions on family visits to prison – including who may visit an how often. These restrictions are applied both to prisons within its sovereign territory – where Palestinians are held contrary to the provisions of international law – and to Ofer Prison, which is inside West Bank territory but beyond the separation barrier.”
The report added, “Israel allows only first-degree relatives to visit their loved ones in prison, and even that is subject to the permits it issues, and only as part of scheduled visit days on which the ICRC organizes transportation.”
“The visit itself lasts only 45 minutes, during which the family members talk to their loved ones through a phone receiver from behind a glass screen. Visitors may give the prisoners only specific items of clothing permitted under prison regulations, and these are inspected before being handed to the prisone.”