The Israeli army’s brutality extends beyond the Gaza Strip. We have recently received an update regarding Prof. Imad Barghouti, a distinguished Professor of Plasma Physics at Al-Quds University. Prof. Barghouti was forcefully taken from his home in the West Bank on October 23rd, 2023, and later sentenced to six months of administrative detention [1].

Despite being detained for over three months without any formal charges, Prof. Barghouti’s family has been unable to communicate with him due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli army. Indirect reports suggest that he is still held in Ofer prison, an Israeli facility located in the West Bank. There is growing concern for Prof. Barghouti’s health, especially given reports from Palestinian prisoners about worsening conditions in Israeli jails. These reports indicate severe issues, such as extremely limited food provisions and overcrowding in cells. It is estimated that Prof. Barghouti has lost between 20 and 40 kilograms during these three months.

Scientists for Palestine urges scholars worldwide to maintain their moral and ethical standards and to avoid double standards that devalue Palestinian lives. Considering the well-documented lack of due process in Israeli abductions and prosecutions of Palestinians, and the absence of international oversight regarding their detention conditions, it is essential to recognize that most Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including Prof. Barghouti, should be regarded as hostages of the Israeli government. Just as there are calls for the unconditional release of Israeli hostages in Gaza, it is equally imperative to demand an end to the illegitimate detention of Prof. Barghouti and all Palestinian hostages in Israeli custody.

[1] Administrative detention is a procedure employed by Israeli authorities to jail indefinitely without trial and without charges and used routinely against Palestinians. It has been condemned by the UN and is in direct violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Administrative detention lasts up to six months, but can then be renewed indefinitely. Professor Barghouti has already spent almost one year in administrative detention in 2020.