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Israeli authorities deny families of 12 Palestinian prisoners entry into Israel

Aug. 8, 2016 6:08 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 9, 2016 11:21 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities on Monday prevented the families of 12 Palestinian prisoners from entering to visit their incarcerated relatives held at the Beersheba prison complex in Israel’s Negev region, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Israeli forces also ripped the visitation permits of some of the Palestinian families at the Israeli checkpoints, the committee said in their statement.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) has repeatedly denied family visitation for scores of Palestinian prisoners held in in prisons across the state of Israel, and some families have reported being held at Israeli checkpoints and forced to return their homes in the occupied territory, despite being granted visitation permits.

The committee has said such actions were part of a broader system of punitive measures imposed on Palestinian prisoners and their families, in what they said amounted to “collective punishment” on innocent civilians.

They also urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is responsible for arranging most family visits for Palestinian prisoners, to intervene and stop acts that violate humanitarian laws and the rights of the prisoners.

The incidents came amid widespread protest over the ICRC’s recent cuts to family visitations, reducing arranged visits for male Palestinian prisoners from two days a month to just one.

Since families of Palestinian prisoners often experience rejection or long-term delays of their permit applications to visit prisons in Israel, including incidents at checkpoints that prevent them from crossing even after they have been issued permits, Palestinians are heavily reliant on ICRC-arranged visitations as ICRC buses transport Palestinians to and from the prisons and act as an institutional medium between the families and Israeli authorities.
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