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June 24, 1988 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Palestinian prisoners kill time at the Ketziot Detention Center in the

Negev Desert. Almost 2,500 Palestinians are held there.

Reporters Tour Camps
Detaining Palestinians

HUGH ORGEL

T

el Aviv — For the
first time since the
Palestinian uprising
began, members of the
Foreign Press Association in
Israel were recently allowed
to visit the Ketziot detention
camp, where Palestinian
Arabs are being held in the
Negev.
Because a large number of
correspondents wanted to
take part, it was arranged on
a "pool" basis, with a limited
number of reporters chosen
by the press association, who
then shared their reports
with colleagues.
The pool representatives
were shown sections of the
camp, were briefed by the
camp commander, Col. David
Tzemach, and sat in on a ses-
sion of the camp's appeals
court.
One of the camp sections
visited, where 613 Gazans are
being held, is on a ridge next
to an army base. The other is
in the desert plain, where 800
West Bankers are being de-
tained and where the effects
of wind, dust and heat are
strong.
There are about 200
soldiers per section in both
camps, and these sections are
fenced off and topped with
coils of barbed wire. Burlap
sacking is placed over the
chain link, which soldiers
said cuts down the effects of
the wind but prisoners said
keeps them from com-
municating with neighboring
sections.
The prisoners, dressed in
brown, blue and green
uniforms, live 28 men to a
tent, the sides of which are
rolled up in the daytime and

lowered for sleeping at night.
Prisoners each have a
wooden pallet on which they
place their mattress and
blankets. Each section has a
tin shack for showers (four),
and another tin shack with
squatter toilet stalls.
In the lower camp, known
as the A section, there is a
strong smell of sewerage. The
heat appeared close to 100
degrees, and the dust swirled
up in clouds.
Col. Tzemach told the cor-
respondents that there are
2,483 prisoners in the camp,
of whom 2,061 are ad-
ministrative detainees and
422 are sentenced from 14
days to three months for
throwing stones and gasoline
bombs.
Of the administrative de-
tainees, 1,507 are from the
West Bank and 554 from
Gaza, with the rest
presumably from Jerusalem.
The oldest prisoner is 68,
there were none under 16.
The average age is 25 to 32.

Tzemach said the max-
imum punishments for infr-
ingement of camp discipline
is three days in isolation, and
that lesser offenses, such as
refusing guards' orders or
failures to appear for roll call,
are punished by making the
offender stand in the corner
for a half-hour.
In the past month, appeals
of prisoners have begun.
Three hundred appeals have
been filed, of which 50 cases
have been heard, and a half-
dozen had their sentences
reduced or have been set free.
The appeals panel session
the newsmen were allowed to
attend was held in a
prefabricated but near the
runs of tents in the lower

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