Three Palestinian prisoners jailed in a prison in southern Israel said during the weekend that they plan ask the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to allow them to sell their kidneys in order to send money to their children for food, Palestinian sources told the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.
IPS officials said in response that they were not familiar with such a request.
The Palestinian Authority clerks have not been receiving their salaries for three months now, leading to increasing reports on different aspects of the economic distress in the Palestinian Authority, including the food distress in the PA prisons.
Following the reports, the Palestinians have considered releasing prisoners, and have simultaneously launched a comprehensive donation campaign on the part of the residents, some of whom have donated jewelry, cash and even assets. It seems, however, that the new report has marked a new high in the attempts to deal with the suspended salaries.
According to the report, Palestinian families are surviving thanks to reduced governmental pensions which they used to receive on a monthly basis. However, since the Hamas-led Palestinian government stopped transferring the salaries and pensions in March, the families' situation has worsened, and this caused three prisoners to reach a decision to sell their kidneys in a bid to allow their families to live in economic safety.
A number of prisoners in the Negev jail reported that three of their friends have decided to file an official request letter in English to the prison manager, in which they suggest selling their kidneys and sending the money to their families.
The prisoners explained that they were taking this step due to the harsh living conditions their families were suffering from, the lack of pension payments and the need to guarantee food and milk for their babies.
IPS: Policy prohibits donations for financial purposes
If the IPS does in fact receive the prisoners' request, it seems the chances the proposal would be accepted are slim.
Dr. Alex Adler, the IPS' chief medical officer, explained: "According to the policy in the IPS and in the State of Israel, anyone who wants to sell an organ from his body does it by 'informed consent.' According to this policy, prisoners are not allowed to donate organs because their consent is not only derived from a personal opinion, since they may be threatened by people from inside or outside the prison."
"More so, we do not approve transplants for financial purposes. It is impossible for a prisoner to donate an organ for NIS 30,000 (about USD 6,720), and the entire cost of his treatment – worth tens of thousands of shekels – would be imposed upon the IPS. In addition, we are responsible for the prisoners' health and we won't lend a hand to endangering the prisoner," the doctor said.
According to Dr. Adler, there are special cases in which an organ donation may be approved.
"When a prisoner is fit to donate an organ to a family member in order to save his life, we approve it. If there is, for example, a prisoner whose son needs an organ transplant and the father is fit to donate to him and will be saving his life, we will grant him an approval," he said.
Prisoners may return to canteen
Meanwhile, al-Quds al-Arabi reported that Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Nasser el-Dein al-Shaer stated Thursday that his government transferred a sum of NIS 2.25 million (about USD 504,000) to the canteen account of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israeli.
Recently, following the new government's failure to transfer the funds for the canteens, the prisoners were forced to settle for the food served to them in the prisons, which they defined as "very bad."
Al-Shaer also stated that the money would be divided between the prisoners' different account. He added that all prisoners would enjoy the funds and that the government would treat the prisoners equally and without discrimination in light of to their organizational affiliation. He expressed his hope that the pensions and salaries would be paid in the very near future.
Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to the report