السجون والمعتقلات الإسرائيلية وآثارها الاجتماعية على الأسرى الفلسطينيين وأهاليهم
زياد علي حسن القواسمه
Ziad Ali Hasan Alqawasmi
This research aimed to identify some of the social impacts of the Israeli prisons and detention centres (detention centers are administered by the Israeli army while prisons are administered by the prison authorities) on the Palestinian prisoners/detainees and their families. It also explored the architecture of these prisons and detention centres, how they manifest colonial knowledge of subjugation, and how these eventually impact the Palestinian prisoners’/detainees’ relations with their families. The study also analyzed the Palestinian prisoners’/detainees’ lives inside the Israeli prisons and detention centres, and methods they developed to reduce the impact of imprisonment on themselves and their family members. The researcher utilized some of the ideas and concepts of Patrick Wolfe and Michel Foucault regarding settler colonialism and the formation and function of prisons within the colonial context. These were merged to inform about the Palestinian situation as manifested in Israeli prisons and detention centers, and their social impact on the Palestinian prisoners/detainees and their families. The research give an overview of the emergence of a Palestinian prisoners’ society within the Israeli prisons and detention centers (the Palestinian Detainees’ Movement) and identified the most important bodies within that society as well its various social relations and the social groups. The study covered the stages in which the prisoners/detainees developed methods to break the forced isolation imposed upon them by cutting them off from their families and their broader community. One of the main steps was the phenomenon of “distant insemination” whereby a prisoner/detainee is able to have his sperm smuggled out to reach his wife who in turn undergoes artificial insemination - this enables the couple to have a family with children despite being apart. Other steps included smuggling cell phones to the incarcerated, and acquiring education and academic degrees during imprisonment and detention. The research refers to (Durkheim’s theory of) social solidarity and the theory of perceptual disorders to understand how the Palestinian Detainees’ Movement confronted the social effects of incarceration upon them and their families. The main research problem the research addressed was to analyze the negative impact of the policies and practices of the Israeli prison/detention administrations on the Palestinian prisoners/detainees and their families. The study adopted two analytical methods – the quantitative and qualitative (described above); it also utilized historical analysis. The quantitative aspect of the research entailed data collected through 143 questionnaires distributed among incarcerated prisoners/detainees; this in addition to three interviews that were conducted: one with a Palestinian prisoner in prison, and another two with Palestinian officials involved in prisoners’ affairs. Furthermore, the researcher’s own personal experience provided additional insight into the research given that he spent over 17 years in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The most important outcomes of the research were: Israeli prisons and detention centers constitute an important apparatus of Israeli settler-colonization to isolate Palestinians who counter their policies to subjugate them while usurping their land. Insight is provided about the architecture design and technical set-up of the Israeli prisons and detention centers, in addition to their internal-systems and regulations over the prisoners/detainees targeting their being, their consciousness, and their spirit – these impact the prisoners/detainees and their families socially particularly as they are isolated from their families and larger community. The study also found that the prisoners/detainees inside the Israeli prisons and detention centers succeeded in establishing their own society to address the social effects of incarceration upon them and their families. Official and unofficial Palestinian institutions have worked in solidarity with the prisoners and detainees to support them in confronting the negative effects of their incarceration upon them and their families. The researcher found that the Palestinian internal factional divisions negatively impacted the effectiveness of countering the effects of incarceration and weakened the strength of the prisoners' community inside the prisons and detention centers. The main outcomes of the research were: Israeli prisons and detentions centers are an important apparatus of Israeli colonization of Palestinian land. Furthermore, the architecture of the prisons and detention centers as well as the systems and regulations therein, constantly monitor the prisoners and detainees targeting their being, conscience and spirit; these have significant impact on the prisoners/detainees and their families. These effects increase as their isolation is increased from family and community. The study also shows that the Palestinian prisoners/detainees inside the Israeli prisons and detention centers were able to establish their own society, which has countered the effects upon them and their families. Palestinian official and unofficial organizations have helped the prisoners/detainees by defending their rights and by providing assistance to their families. However, the research shows that the Palestinian division has impacted negatively upon the prisoners/detainees and their achievements inside the prisons and detention centers, weakening the prisoners’ society. The main recommendations the researcher provides are: the need to develop Palestinian policies that dismantle the settler-colonial thought and practices manifested in Israeli prisons and detention centers, and to go beyond merely describing violations. The researcher also emphasized the need to support the Palestinian Detainees’ Movement in multiple ways as it represents the cornerstone for facing Israeli policies inside the prisons and detention centers; it is also necessary to include Palestinian prisoners/detainees in the Palestinian leadership. The researcher also recommended to support the prisoners/detainees in their steps: to resist the effects of the Israeli prisons and detention centers upon them and their families, to support the process of “distant insemination” as a way to overcome social isolation, to develop academic education in the prisons and detention centers, to make Israeli authorities install public telephones inside the prison sections, and to support the Palestinian Detainees’ Movement in countering the Israeli prison and detention authorizes. Furthermore, the researcher recommended to spare the prisoners/detainees from the Palestinian factional political rivalry and division, and to develop in unity an effective mechanism for prisoners’ release. A final recommendation was to conduct further research and studies covering the various aspects of this topic as a way of giving it the attention it deserves in the academic domain.