Palestinian dies after 18 years in Israeli prison

Portrait of a man

Daoud Talat al-Khatib


A Palestinian died on Wednesday after 18 years in Israeli prison.

Daoud Talat al-Khatib was being held at Ofer military prison near Ramallah.

Preliminary findings point to an apparent stroke as the cause of death, but that has not been officially confirmed, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

The 45-year-old was from the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Israeli forces arrested him during the second intifada.

He was serving a sentence of 18 years and eight months, Israeli media reported. He had only a few months left before he was set to be released.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club assigned Israel “full responsibility” in the death of al-Khatib, adding that he faced health challenges over his years of imprisonment, including open-heart surgery.

Both of al-Khatib’s parents died during his imprisonment.

Al-Khatib’s death brings to 225 the number of Palestinians who have died in Israeli prisons since 1967.

Palestinian prisoners marked his death by banging on doors and refusing their meals on Thursday.

Israeli prison authorities’ special forces unit Metzada raided the section where al-Khatib had been held, fired tear gas canisters at prisoners, attacked them, deliberately poured water on their beds and attempted to spoil their food by mixing it together, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Some prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement as punishment.

Several prisoners suffered difficulties breathing due to tear gas, among them sick and elderly detainees. Israeli prison authorities did not provide aid or medical treatment, the group said.

Metzada injured dozens of Palestinian prisoners in a series of raids last year.

There are some 850 Palestinian prisoners at Ofer, where there was a coroanvirus outbreak last week.

Hours before al-Khatib’s death, two sections at the prison were placed under lockdown after a prison guard tested positive for COVID-19.

Israel holds a number of sick detainees at Ofer, and there is also a section where it detains children.

Israel was holding 160 Palestinian children in its prisons in July. There are currently about 700 sick detainees, including some 200 who are chronically ill.

As of late August, 13 Palestinians tested positive for COVID-19, either during their detention or shortly after their release, including a child and a cancer patient.

Human rights groups Addameer and Al-Haq are calling on the UN Human Rights Council to intervene to protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners during the pandemic.

In a letter to the council, they pointed to Israel’s systemic medical negligence as well as the July ruling by Israel’s high court that Palestinian prisoners have no right to physical distancing.

They accuse Israel of doing nothing to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in its jails and Israel has not heeded repeated calls to release at-risk detainees.

Israeli prison guards take no precautions when conducting searches and counts several times daily, the groups stated.

They are “refusing to wear hazmat suits, protective gloves or medical face masks.”




There is no doubt and even Israel proves this by maintaining military law upon Palestinians that Israel is in war against the Palestinian people. So, why aren't Palestinians in Israeli prison object of RED CROSS' or RED CRESCEND's monitoring, visits, and aid, in accordance with international law in wartime? This other Israeli abnormality should be brought to the attention of the world's public


We are all subject to the constraints of financial obligation. The UN, no less so. Here in the US, the global nucleus of the dominant economic model, we have a phrase; 'them that got's get's'.
What do we expect? Please, stop with this arbitrary moralization of a human reality, that transcends the natural one and doesn't lead us straight to Hell. We should hope. Fine, hope. But remember.
Without respect for the law, we are lost. I don't perceive a common understanding of the importance of that basic element of civilization. We need another lesson in civility. Trouble is, it begins with a doltish politics and inexplicable disregard of the danger posed to humankind and the planet, by our likewise assumed prerogative to do away with it all in an instant.
In the broad spectrum of the challenges posed to mankind by its inability to retain the lessons it's history provides, the Palestinian's struggle for their rights seems a small matter, often ignored, intentionally or to provide corporate media with space for what it spasmodically and ignorantly perceives as larger concerns. But in my view and that of those I commune with, it is of the utmost importance and the resolution of those larger concerns seems inconceivable without a just resolution to this one simple matter!

Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.