Egypt’s foreign minister on Monday condemned Israel’s policies toward Palestinian inmates, and specifically the alleged mistreatment of Arafat Jaradat, a prisoner who died on Saturday.
Mohammed Kamel Amr warned that, if continued, Israel’s policies would lead to a conflagration in the Palestinian territories, and could have serious implications for the entire region. Amr blamed Israel for any deterioration in regional stability.
Amr, a former Mubarak-era diplomat, expressed his condolences to the Jaradat family and called on the international community to adopt a strong stance against Israel’s “inhuman practices against the Palestinian prisoners,” according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
The Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv was not immediately available for comment.
In a response to Cairo’s statements, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel that “Israel’s treatment of detainees and prisoners is transparent and up to the best international standards of Western democracies” and that inmates have regular access to the International Red Cross.
“There are disciplinary measures, of course,” he said, in response to queries about accusations of solitary confinement. “Everything at all points is supervised and/or inspected or visited by the ICRC and human rights NGOs.
“We wish our dear neighbors would reach this standard of human rights and penitentiary services at some point,” he added. “We denounce the political manipulation by the PA and Hamas of the issue of due legal process of criminals.”
Cairo’s statements came in the wake of scathing criticism of Israel by Palestinian Authority officials, who accused Israel of torturing Jaradat to death in Megiddo Prison.
“Israel is killing our children with live fire,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at an address in Ramallah on Monday, adding that he wouldn’t let Palestinians waste away in Israeli jails.
PA Minister of Detainees Issa Karake said at a press conference Sunday evening that “the information we have received so far is shocking and painful; the evidence corroborates our suspicion that Mr. Jaradat died as a result of torture, especially since the autopsy clearly proved that the victim’s heart was healthy, which disproves the initial alleged account presented by occupation authorities that he died of a heart attack.”
Israel said Jaradat died of heart failure, and that marks on his body were a result of efforts made to resuscitate him.
The United Nations’ special coordinator for the peace process, Robert Serry, on Monday said he was “deeply saddened and concerned” about Jaradat’s death.
Serry and his deputy, James Rawley, discussed on Monday morning the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention with PA Prime Minister Fayyad and the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, the UN said in a statement.
“The Special Coordinator takes note of the preliminary findings of the autopsy that was conducted on Mr. Jaradat’s body with the participation of Israeli and Palestinian experts,” the statement said. “The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat’s death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible.”
The UN expressed concern “about the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike,” and called on Israel to charge and try those held in administrative detention, or release them, “in accordance with international standards.”