In wake of Adalah's appeal, Israel Prison Service to conduct cancer screenings for Palestinians classified as 'security prisoners'

Adalah still demanding that IPS provide prisoners with full health basket, including preventative treatments, in accordance with rights to life, health and dignity.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) informed Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on 30 August 2016 that it intends to start conducting cancer screenings for male and female Palestinian prisoners classified as "security prisoners."


The screenings are aimed at early detection of breast cancer and colon cancer.


The IPS's decision to start offering cancer screenings came in the wake of a letter sent by Adalah Attorney Aram Mahameed.


"According to IPS regulations, prisoners are unable to turn to health funds to request these screenings; their medical needs are meant to be taken care of within the prison walls and are the full responsibility of the IPS," Attorney Mahameed wrote in his letter of 24 April 2016. "The prison's obligation to provide medical care and screenings to prisoners stems from IPS rules regulations and it is the prisoner's right to receive this medical care."


Dr. Leonid Geft, director of the IPS's medical branch, responded to Adalah's letter:


"The Prison Service plans to conduct fecal occult blood tests of the relevant prisoner population on an annual basis and will conduct mammographies on a biannual basis in accordance with Health Ministry recommendations."


The IPS has yet to respond to Adalah's demand to provide Palestinian prisoners classified as "security prisoners" with the state's full medical services basket, including preventative treatments.


"IPS will consider additional medical screenings – in accordance with specific Health Ministry recommendations and with the organization's budgetary and operational restrictions." Dr. Geft wrote.


Adalah stressed in response that, "the right of Palestinian prisoners to medical treatment should not be conditioned upon the budgetary considerations of the IPS. Prisoners are unable to seek medical treatment on their own and the institution holding them is therefore obligated to provide medical care in accordance with the rights to life, health and dignity.”


"We will continue to demand that the IPS provide Palestinian prisoners classified as 'security prisoners' with the state's full medical services basket."


READ: Adalah's letter to IPS (Hebrew)

READ: IPS's response to Adalah (Hebrew)


(Photo by Alex Proimos/Flickr Creative Commons)