Israel conducts “secret medical experiments”
on Palestinian prisoners and poisons them
Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs:
Prisoners “are victims of severe crimes...
which expose them to deadly, chronic diseases
resulting from secret medical experiments”
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
One of the ways the Palestinian Authority demonizes Israel is by spreading libels. One such libel claims that Israel conducts medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners, poisons them and deliberately kills them.
Last month, the official PA daily stated that Israel carries out medical experiments and speculated that it “perhaps” poisons them as well:
“The occupation authorities conduct medical experiments on the prisoners, giving them medicines and perhaps poison.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 12, 2015]
Director of the PLO Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake often reiterates this libel. Recently, after visiting a released prisoner, Karake stated that sick prisoners “are victims of severe crimes committed against prisoners in prisons, which expose them to deadly, chronic diseases resulting from secret medical experiments on their bodies, and their deliberate negligence.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 31, 2015]
He has also claimed that:
“[Israeli] prisons have become the source of an epidemic, a source of death and a source of dissemination of diseases in the bodies of the prisoners.”
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2015]
The official PA daily has claimed that Israeli prisons have a “system called ‘slow death’” to do away with prisoners, and has compared Israeli treatment to the medical experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who experimented on Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“[There is] an entire system called 'slow death,' which the Israeli establishment uses against Palestinian prisoners, from the moment of their arrest until they are released... The 'experiments' stage is perhaps one of the most dangerous stages in the slow death of released prisoners, who suffer from diseases, which they contracted in prison. This way, the Israeli jailers attempt to imitate the German Nazis, who were the first to use prisoners as guinea pigs, for testing the weapons and the deadly drugs, which they developed. The Nazi German doctor, Josef Mengele, was the most famous among them."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2011]
Palestinian Media Watch has publicized statements by released prisoners that clearly contradict these libels about prison doctors infecting prisoners with fatal diseases and conducting medical experiments on them. One prisoner stated that Palestinian prisoners “lack nothing,” another said that a typical day in prison is spent “chatting, talking, eating, drinking, joking and playing," and relatives visiting family members in prison explained that they encountered no problems.
If there was any truth to the PA’s allegations of medical experiments, one would expect prisoners and released prisoners to draw attention to such practices. However, in 2011, when prisoners on hunger strike released their demands to change prison protocol, there was no mention of medical experiments or abuse. Indeed, their demands were all related to normal prison routine, including prison luxuries such as demanding “to restore satellite TV channels”:
Headline: "List of demands of the prisoners on hunger strike"
"Yesterday the Prisoners' Club published the demands of the prisoners who are holding a hunger strike in the Israeli prisons. Among the demands:
- To end the policy of solitary confinement, in which about 20 prisoners are being held.
- To end the policy of strip searches.
- To allow prisoners from Gaza visits by family members, because they have been forbidden to visit since 2007.
- To allow all family members to visit the prisoner.
- To allow children [of the prisoners] to continue regular visits after they reach the age of 16.
- To allow a prisoner to visit his prisoner wife.
- To allow Arab prisoners to make telephone calls to their families and to send their families video clips.
- To restore satellite TV channels.
- To improve the visiting conditions for families: to remove the glass partition, to permit children to enter during the visit, to end the policy of humiliating and degrading searches of family members.
- To free psychiatric prisoners and those suffering from incurable illnesses.
- To provide treatment for prisoners who are ill, including surgery, provision of auxiliary equipment, and quick diagnosis of illnesses, and to allow the approved list of doctors to enter the prison easily.
- To end the policy of collective punishment and the imposition of fines on prisoners.
- To re-allow studies, including matriculation examinations, university registration, and to bring in books.
- To end the policy of handcuffing the prisoner's hands and legs during a meeting with family or his lawyer.
- To stop carrying out daily searches in the cells and destroying them.
- To improve conditions in the vehicles for transporting prisoners, especially those transporting [prisoners who are] ill.
- To release the prisoners in administrative detention.
- To allow children to embrace their mothers and fathers.
- To remove the glass [partition] with the net behind it during a visit.
- To improve the food, in terms of both quantity and quality.
- To put prisoners [from the same family], together in the same prison, to make it easier for the family during a visit.
- To allow prisoners who are related to each other, such as a husband and wife, to be in prisons close by each other, to make visiting easier.
- To end the humiliating searches of family members and to allow them to take water for drinking on the bus for visitors."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 3, 2011]
The following are longer excerpts of the statements reiterating the libel that Israel conducts medical experiments on prisoners and poisons them:
Headline: “'Post-dated death' - a systematic Israeli policy against [Palestinian] prisoners and released prisoners”
“The only term to describe the policy Israel implements through its Prison Service [prisons] holding thousands of prisoners, is ’post-dated death.’
If the sick prisoner doesn't die within the walls of his cell, he may die shortly after leaving prison. In addition to their medical negligence, whether by failing to provide prisoners proper medical care or by delaying the sick prisoner’s transfer to medical care - the occupation authorities conduct medical experiments on the prisoners, giving them medicines and perhaps poison.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 12, 2015]
“Director of the [PLO] Prisoners’ Affairs Commission [and PA Parliament Member] Issa Karake and a delegation of released prisoners visited the released sick prisoner Na'im Al-Shawamreh in the town of Dura, Hebron [Governorate]. Al-Shawamreh suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, a disease he caught while in prison, and his health has recently deteriorated to the point that he is [now] unable to speak or move.
Together with Karake, the following people participated in the visit: Rizq Salah, Parliament member (Legislative Council) Abu Ali Yata, Khaled Al-Azraq, Adnan Al-Afandi, Issa Abd Rabbo, Khaled Asakra and Muhammad Darwish...
Karake said that Shawamreh and other sick prisoners are victims of severe crimes committed against prisoners in prisons, which expose them to deadly, chronic diseases resulting from secret medical experiments on their bodies, and their deliberate negligence.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 31, 2015]
The following terrorists mentioned in the article were released as part of the 104 prisoners whom Israel agreed to release in 2013 to fulfill the PA's precondition for renewing negotiations:
Na'im Al-Shawamreh - was arrested on March 14, 1995 for placing the explosive device that killed Yossi Hayoun, a police sapper, while he was defusing the bomb (June, 1993).
Al-Shawamreh was released in December 2013 as part of the 104 prisoners despite being arrested after the Oslo Accords were signed, this may have been due to his poor health condition.
Rizq Salah- killed Israeli soldier Guy Friedman and injured two others with a bomb in Bethlehem in 1990. He was arrested in 1993 and was sentenced to life in prison, but was released in October 2013.
Khaled Al-Azraq - placed an explosive device in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda open market on May 28, 1990. The bomb killed 71-year-old Shimon Cohen and injured 9. Al-Azraq was serving a life sentence in prison, but was released in October 2013.
Adnan Al-Afandi - was serving a 30-year prison term for the attempted murder of two young men in 1992. He was released in December 2013.
Issa Abd Rabbo - was serving two life sentences for killing two Israeli university students, Ron Levi and Revital Seri, who were hiking south of Jerusalem on Oct. 22, 1984. At gun point he tied them up, put bags over their heads and then shot and murdered both. He was released in October 2013.
Khaled Asakra - a Fatah member who murdered 64-year-old French tourist Annie Ley (April 29, 1991). He was serving a life sentence, but was released in August 2013.
Official PA TV program Panorama of the Hour hosted director of PLO’s Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs director and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake
Director of the PLO Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake: “Prisoner Jaafar Awad came out of prison sick and suffering from several dangerous diseases introduced into his body in prison.”
PA TV host: “Why did the Israeli hospitals refuse to hospitalize Martyr (Shahid) Jaafar Awad and treat him?”
Issa Karake: “Israeli hospitals not admitting Palestinian patients is nothing new, hence the Palestinian patient, that is, the Palestinian prisoner, suffers while trying to get treatment... it seems that a deadly virus was introduced into Awad’s body in prison... Prisons have become the source of an epidemic, a source of death and a source of dissemination of diseases in the bodies of the prisoners. There is a policy of medical negligence and medical experiments: In the 1990s, the Israeli Minister of Science (see note) admitted having given licenses to more than a thousand Israeli drug companies to test medications on Palestinian detainees.”
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2015]
Note: In the past, the PA has claimed that former Speaker of Israeli Parliament and MP Dalia Itzik asserted that Israel conducts medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners. Reporting on this libel in 2008, PMW checked with then Israeli Parliament Speaker Dalia Itzik and the Ministry of Health. The following are their responses:
Office of Israeli Parliament Speaker Dalia Itzik: "[Israeli Parliament] Knesset Speaker Itzik never made the statements attributed to her. Speaker Itzik is certain that incidents of this kind do not occur in Israel; this is not how Israel conducts itself." 
Ministry of Health's Response: "Clinical testing on prisoners in prison was never approved, never performed, and is most certainly not taking place at present."