Israel Allows Gaza Child to See Imprisoned Father for first time in 12 Years

RAMALLAH, February 23, 2015 (WAFA) – A Palestinian Female child from Gaza was allowed to visit her imprisoned father, detained in Israeli jails, for the first time since his arrest in 2003, reported the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club on Monday.

The prisoner’s family informed PPC that 13 year-old Fatma al-Qadi, whose father was arrested when she was only a year old, was allowed by the Israeli authorities to visit Khaled Hassan al-Qadi for the first time since his arrest almost 12 years ago.

Prisoner al-Qadi, who was sentenced in 2003 for 14 and half years in jail and is currently detained in Rimon Israeli prison, suffers from Hepatitis liver disease as a result of being denied the proper medical care by the Israeli prison service.

Palestinian prisoners are subjected to a policy of medical negligence by the prison administrations across all Israeli jails, leaving almost 1,500 prisoners to suffer from serious diseases.

According to data offered by Gaza’s Ministry of Prisoners’, there are 424 minors in the Gaza Strip whose fathers are incarcerated in Israel; yet only 164 – those under the age of ten – may visit, said B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, in a report issued in May 2013.

The center said that, “Israel sets strict criteria for these visits, allowing only inmates’ parents and wives to visit. All other relatives, including children, siblings and grandparents, were not allowed to visit.”

“Visitation rights were extended to inmates’ children under the age of eight only in May 2013, and to children under the age of ten in September 2013. No official explanation was given, at any stage, for the age limit on children’s visits, which is not applied to children of security or criminal inmates from the West Bank and from Israel,” added the center.

In recent months, B’Tselem gathered testimonies from Gaza children over the age of ten who have not seen their imprisoned fathers since 2007, and from siblings of such prisoners. In their testimonies, the children describe their longing to be reunited with fathers, as well as the difficulties they face because of the separation.

B’Tselem yet again called upon Israeli authorities to act with regard to Gaza inmates as they do with those from Israel and the West; to allow all first-degree relatives, and especially children under the age of 18, to visit their loved ones being held in Israel.

The visits last approximately 45 minutes. A glass partition separates the inmate from his visitors, and they communicate via a telephone.

These restrictions on family visits to Gaza inmates in Israel contravene Israel’s obligation to enable such visits. This obligation stems from the right of the inmates and of their relatives to family life, which is enshrined in both international and Israeli law.

International law not only prohibits arbitrary disruption of family life, but obliges the state to actively ensure its fulfillment. Moreover, detaining or imprisoning a person and the consequent limitations to his freedom of movement do not justify restricting other basic rights, except when those are explicitly denied him by a court of law, stated the center.

The center published a video of children describing their agony over being denied visitation rights to see their imprisoned parents: