Israel to significantly degrade prison conditions for Palestinians: report
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
Israel is allegedly set to announce a dramatic worsening of prison conditions for Palestinians, local media reported Thursday.
A committee launched by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan will shortly present its conclusions which introduce a series of dramatic recommendations aimed at downgrading the conditions of Israel’s security prisoners, Israeli channel Hadashot TV reported.
The report is said to recommend reducing the conditions of prisoners to the minimum standards that international law dictates.
The planned changes include recommending that Israel significantly reduce family visits for security prisoners.
Israeli prisons would also put an end to the practice of separating prisoners based on terror group affiliations, which would result in members of rival factions such as Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad sharing prison cells and wards.
The proposed changes are likely to incite anger from Palestinian leaders, who have long argued for the critical need for improvements to the prison conditions.
Additional recommendations noted include limiting the available television channels, closing canteens in the prison ward, and security prisoners would no longer be allowed to cook meals in their wards or cells.
The report noted that there could be dramatic repercussions from the proposed measures both inside of the security prisons as well as on the Palestinian streets.
In June, Minister Erdan first announced the formation of the public committee in an attempt to pressure Palestinian terror groups to release Israeli citizens and the bodies of fallen soldiers being held in Gaza.
At a counterterrorism conference in June, Erdan claimed that some Palestinians commit terror attacks to be caught and jailed in order to run away from problems at home, the Times of Israel reported.
The committee was established in the hopes that if Israel worsened the conditions of the prison systems, some of the possible “incentives” for carrying out terror attacks could be reduced, Erdan said.
The conditions of security prisoners in Israel has long been a concern and talking point for Palestinians and prisoners have launched numerous mass hunger strikes in recent years.
In March, Palestinian prisoners launched their largest hunger strike, with 1,600 prisoners striking for over forty days.
The strike, like many in recent years, was led by prominent Fatah figure Marwan Barghouti who is serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising. Barghouti was negotiating with the Israeli authority on behalf of the prisoners in an attempt to end the strike before Ramadan.
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were refusing food over conditions for about 6,500 Palestinian inmates. Among their other demands were access to telephones, improved medical care and an end to punitive solitary confinement.
The strike was reported to have ended in May following a reported deal which allowed an increase of visits from family members from one to two times a month.
A decrease in the allowed family visits for security prisoners runs the risk of inciting anger from Palestinians and potentially dissolving in yet another mass protest from Israel’s security prisoners.
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Let the food strike until they die.