Women were also subjected to a variety of breaches by the Israeli occupation, which included them in its crimes against Palestinians. In other words, they took away the freedom guaranteed to them by all legal human rights and religious documents by shooting, beating, and imprisoning them.
The director of the Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies, Raafat Hamdona, said in an interview with the PALM Strategic Initiative Center that the Israeli prisons' administration does not distinguish between male and female detainees. In terms of imprisonment, interrogation, and threat, female detainees receive the same treatment as male ones. Female detainees have a right to privacy, which should be respected. However, by subjecting them to difficult conditions, the Israeli occupation broke it.
Al-Damon prison, an outdated prison with subpar infrastructure unfit for human habitation, is a prison where female detainees suffer in silence. On the jail's doors and in the prison yards, there are surveillance cameras as well. The movement and freedom of the female detainees are greatly restricted as a result. Along with military sentencing that can result in life sentences or lengthy terms of imprisonment, they also torment them physically and psychologically.
Hamdona went on to say that the Israeli occupation intentionally practices medical negligence against female detainees. For example, Saadia Farajallah, a female prisoner martyr who died inside Israeli prisons in 2022 as a result of medical negligence of her physical condition, They are also denied the right to education, family visits or phone calls on special occasions, and sent to solitary confinement like the other male detainees.
Released Female Prisoner Experience
Rawda Habib, a female Palestinian prisoner from the Gaza Strip. She was detained in 2007, and was given an eight-year imprisonment sentence. Following a two and a half year incarceration in Israeli occupation prisons, Rawda was released in the Al-Haraaer deal (Shaleet video-recorded deal). Rawda made an interview with the PALM Strategic Initiative Center, in which she described the hardship she experienced inside Israeli jails. She also affirmed that her story is relevant to all female detainees.
“My entire body was accurately and ruthlessly inspected. All of my possessions, including my clothes, were seized. Constant screaming in my face. Insults and ridicule, especially when I wear in jail garb. The clothing was dirty and stinky, and it only covered a small portion of my body. I was also shoeless, without a head covering, as they seized my hijab,” Rawda stated.
Rawda added, “there were eight Shabak investigators in the interrogation chamber, all of whom had frowning faces as if they had come straight from hell. They possessed unique methods of torture, and any form of physical or mental abuse was allowed for them. I endured continuous questioning for at least 18 hours. I had chains over my entire body, including the handcuffs. Likewise, I was unable to move or sleep while I sat on an iron chair that was mounted to the floor. I was unable to eat, drink, use the toilet, or even pray or say tasabeeh. The detective was hitting me with a hammer on my forehead each time I uttered Hawqala “there is no power nor strength except by God.”
She continued by saying that she had endured numerous face-slaps and insulting remarks. Additionally, because her family and children were perceived as her weak points, she was threatened with being killed and having her home bombed on the heads of her family. When the Israeli investigator said, “your son's crying and calling Mama," he was intentionally manipulating her emotions. She was severely beaten until she had severe bleeding. They kept hanging her up, stinging her with electricity, while they continued to question her. She also fainted numerous times.
Terrifying and Dark
Following an interrogation, detainees are assigned to a solitary cell, which is described by the released prisoner, Rawda, as having: “a dim, semi-zero light, no air, no water, no breathing outlet, no difference between night and day. The entire time is similar. No more than two meters long and one and a half meters wide. The wall has protruding glass. The ground is rough. The water is cut off, and the smell is foul. It's terrifying and dark. It lacks the poorest quality of life and has neither a mattress nor a cover.
When their parents come, female prisoners experience a great deal of psychological stress. The occupation keeps irritating them from the beginning to the end of the visit by delaying them due to the inspection, turning off the electricity while speaking with the parents, rushing to ask that the visit be cut short before the allotted time has passed. They also refuse to let them even sit with or touch their children. Only telephone calls from behind glass are made throughout the visit. This in itself is a dagger being thrust into the necks of mothers. Penalties placed on Gaza Strip detainees by the Israeli prisons' administration prevented Rawda from visiting her children. “I would never have liked to see my parents, despite my longing for them. The pain of parting I feel when they leave is the same as when the heart is being burned,” Rawda sorely explained.
One of the stories of Palestinian women detainees who have endured agony and injustice in Israeli occupation prisons is that of released prisoner Rawda. In the same manner, there are 31 Palestinian detainees languishing behind Israeli prison's bars, each with a unique story of anguish and suffering, both within the prison and alongside with the jailer as well. Each of them has undergone tough times, including repression and beatings, naked searches, solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and medical negligence.