Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on Israeli authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Palestinian prisoner and cancer patient Kamal Abu Wa’ar, who today tested positive for coronavirus.
The PLO secretary general warned that an outbreak of coronavirus inside prisons would bring about an inevitable catastrophe, which Israel is responsible for, saying it will lead to an implacable explosion.
Erekat said in a statement today that calls that the Palestinian leadership has been reaching out to all relevant international bodies to exert pressure on Israel to release sick prisoners, the elderly and women, in light of the danger of an outbreak of coronavirrus that poses a threat to their lives.
Abu Wa’ar, who is suffering from throat cancer and is serving a life sentence, was recently taken by prison authorities to a hospital in Ramle due to his deteriorating health condition, where he was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19.
“We have warned the international community over the past months of the risk of the virus spreading in prisons, and we have appealed to all countries and human rights organizations to interfere,” Erekat said in the statement.
“Israel’s disregard to Palestinian and international demands, its lack of compliance with international humanitarian law, and the death of prisoner Sadi Gharabli, 75, of prostate cancer and due medical negligence by the Israel Prison Service, means that the international community shall not stand by, but to intervene immediately to hold Israel accountable for its violations,” he said.
Erekat reaffirmed his demand to open Israeli prisons for an international committee for inspection and investigation to ensure that the occupation authorities take preventive measures against the spread of the virus, and to ensure their safety and protection.
He called on the International Criminal Court to expedite the opening of a criminal investigation before it is too late.