[Pnews] Israeli occupation vows to 'worsen' conditions for Palestinian prisoners

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 4 11:59:24 EST 2019


*Israeli occupation vows to 'worsen' conditions for Palestinian prisoners

*January 3, 2019

West Bank, ALRAY -- Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has 
announced plans to "worsen" conditions for Palestinian prisoners in 
Israeli jails, including rationing water supplies and reducing the 
number of family visits.

The planned moves, which are expected to come into force in the coming 
weeks after being approved by the Israeli cabinet, were sharply 
criticised by Palestinian leaders and activists who described as them as 
another escalation of human rights violations by Israel.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Erdan said the plan will also see 
jails removing cooking rights and limiting prisoners' access to 
television as well as blocking funds to the Palestinian Authority.

The minister said that family visits had already been halted for 
prisoners affiliated with the Palestinian movement Hamas 

"The plan also includes preventing members of the Knesset [Israel's 
parliament] from visiting Palestinian detainees," added Erdan, who last 
year set up a committee to make prison conditions harsher for those who 
"committed acts of terrorism".

The policy of separating Hamas prisoners from those affiliated with 
rival Palestinian faction Fatah 
<https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/organisations/fatah.html> will also 
come to an end, as Erdan said that holding inmates in cells based on 
organisational affiliation resulted in "strengthening their organisation 

The minister also said that there will be "clear limits" on the amount 
of water a prisoner consumes each day, including a cap on the number of 
times they are allowed to shower.

    'Israel behaving as if above international law'

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative party, 
told Al Jazeera that the Israeli government acts like it has a free hand 
to oppress Palestinians in any way they want.

"The only way to force Israel to abstain from this behaviour is to 
impose sanctions on Israel," he said, speaking from the occupied West 
Bank city of Ramallah.

"Israel is behaving as if it is above international law and this must 

The Palestinian Prisoners' Commission denounced Erdan's plans and said 
they were an attempt to make Palestinian prisoners' lives even more 

Qadri Abubaker, the head of the Prisoners' Commission, called for a 
strong national stand against these measures.

Such decisions and laws "calls for everyone to rally at the official, 
popular, legal, media and human rights level to expose these arrogant 
policies against our heroes in prisons", he told Wafa, the official 
Palestinian news agency.

    *Hunger strikes*

According to official statistics <http://addameer.org/statistics>, the 
number of Palestinian prisoners 
<https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/palestineremix/phone/beyond-the-walls.html> behind 
bars has reached 5,500, including 230 children and 54 women.

Rights groups say more than 1,800 are in need of medical care, with 
about 700 suffering from serious or chronic illnesses.

Many Palestinian prisoners say they have been subject to torture and 
violence while in custody. There have been many protests against poor 
conditions in recent years, including several hunger strikes.

During Wednesday's press conference, Erdan said the Israeli government 
would "not be deterred by threats and [hunger] strikes".

"We must make conditions worse [for prisoners] to fulfil our moral duty 
to terror victims and their families," he added, going on to 
assert  that the Israeli prison service was ready to "deal with any 

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