Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said the death of 39-year-old Sami Umour has brought the number of Palestinian prisoners who have lost their lives in Israeli jails to 227, emphasizing that the high figure shows the scope of violations that Israeli prison authorities are committing against them, especially those with health issues.
Abdul-Latif al-Qanu, another Hamas spokesman, also said that Umour’s death exposes the Israeli regime’s brutality and its utter disregard for international law and human rights.
Qanu urged international human rights organizations to assume their responsibilities and work towards protecting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Islamic Jihad: Death of Palestinian inmate in Israeli jail amounts to war crime
Moreover, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement deplored Umour’s death as a result of deliberate medical negligence, and demanded practical measures to save the lives of Palestinians being kept behind bars in Israeli detention centers.
It declared in a statement that the resistance front is actively trying to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners, noting that the death of the Palestinian detainee displays the criminal nature of the occupying Israeli regime.
The resistance movement went on to say that Umour’s death as a result of deliberate medical negligence points to Israel’s intention to exterminate heroic Palestinian prisoners.
A high number of Palestinian prisoners are now being held in “extremely dangerous” conditions, and immediate action is needed to save their lives, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said.
The movement noted that many Palestinian prisoners are now on hunger strike to assert their rights, underscoring that Israeli prison officials have not responded to their demands.
“What is happening in the prisons of the occupying regime is a full-scale war crime, and a grave crime against humanity and international principles. The responsibility of such criminal acts lies with the occupiers,” the PIJ said in a statement.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement then called on international human rights institutions to address the plight of Palestinian prisoners, and end their exposition to various forms of torture, most notably deliberate medical negligence.
The movement also called on the Palestinian Authority to carry out its duties and to raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners at international circles.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement stressed that it is working hard for the release of prisoners in Israeli jails.
Umour died in Israeli custody at Soroka Hospital in Negev on Thursday.
Imprisoned since 2008, he suffered from heart problems that Palestinian prisoner groups say were exacerbated because of Israeli medical negligence and difficult detention conditions.
“He was not taken for regular medical checkups and not given appropriate treatment during his years in detention,” Amina al-Taweel of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said.
“His operation was postponed until his health condition was desperate and there was no longer a possibility of treating him,” Taweel added.
Amjad al-Najjar, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), also said Umour’s health started deteriorating as “he did not undergo the operation he was supposed to have a long time ago for his condition.”
He said prison authorities kept delaying Umour’s medical checkups and operation under the pretext of COVID-19 restrictions despite repeated calls by him and other prisoners to treat him.
Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.
Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression.
Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Geneva Convention.
There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.
Rights groups describe Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to bring its use to an end.