Is­rael to ‘worsen’ con­di­tions for Pales­tinian pris­on­ers

The Miracle - - National & Int -

Is­raeli Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Gi­lad Er­dan has an­nounced plans to “worsen” con­di­tions for Pales­tinian pris­on­ers in Is­raeli jails. The plans, which were the re­sult of a com­mit­tee Er­dan set up seven months ago to make prison con­di­tions harsher for those who “com­mit­ted acts of ter­ror­ism”, in­clude block­ing funds to the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity, ra­tioning wa­ter sup­plies, lim­it­ing pris­on­ers’ ac­cess to tele­vi­sion and re­duc­ing the num­ber of fam­ily vis­its. Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, Er­dan 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,” Er­dan said. He added that the plan also in­cludes end­ing the pol­icy of sep­a­rat­ing Ha­mas pris­on­ers from those af­fil­i­ated with ri­val Pales­tinian fac­tion Fatah, as he said that hold­ing pris­on­ers in cells based on or­ga­ni­za­tional af­fil­i­a­tion re­sulted in “strength­en­ing their or­ga­ni­za­tion iden­tity”. Er­dan 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. He went on to as­sert that the Is­raeli prison ser­vice was ready to “deal with any sce­nario”. “We will not be de­terred by threats and [hunger] strikes,” he said. “We must make con­di­tions worse [for pris­on­ers] to ful­fil our mo­ral duty to ter­ror vic­tims and their fam­i­lies,” he added. 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 be­hav­ior 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 change.” Ac­cord­ing to Er­dan, the Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties are likely to be­gin im­ple­ment­ing the plan in the com­ing weeks, once it has been ap­proved by the Is­raeli cab­i­net. The Pales­tinian Pris­on­ers’ Com­mis­sion de­nounced Er­dan’s plans and said they were an at­tempt to make Pales­tinian pris­on­ers’ lives more un­bear­able. 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. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics, the num­ber of Pales­tinian pris­on­ers be­hind bars has reached 5,500, in­clud­ing 230 chil­dren and 54 women.

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