Over 1,000 Palestinian Inmates to Go on Hunger Strike in Light of 'Violent Repression' of Rights

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People protest in support of the six security prisoners who escaped Gilboa Prison, in Nazareth, Israel, on Saturday.
People protest in support of the six security prisoners who escaped Gilboa Prison, in Nazareth, Israel, on Saturday.Credit: Rami Shllush

On Friday, 1,380 Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum will go on hunger strike as part of a campaign against the recent treatment of inmates in the aftermath of the escape of six high-risk captives, Palestinian prisoner leadership announced.

In addition, prisoners may target and attack wardens and security officials in the Gilboa and Shita prisons, prisoner leadership said, citing the conduct of prison staff towards the incarcerated and the "violent repression against them" as rationale.   

Last week, the security establishment said it is closely monitoring one Hamas prisoner on hunger strike who has been evacuated to an Israeli hospital in a critical condition. It fears that any deterioration in his condition could lead to further escalation.

Five of the escapees, all of whom have been accused or convicted of planning or carrying out terror attacks against Israelis, belong to Islamic Jihad. Four of the six have been found and apprehended by Israeli authorities since their escape. 

Israeli authorities inspect the site of the escape of six high-risk prisoners from Gilboa Prison, northern Israel, last week. Credit: Gil Eliahu

Following the escape, the Prison Service announced that it would be dispersing inmates who belong to the Islamic Jihad movement in prisons throughout the country. About 300 of them have been moved as of last week.

As a response to the decision to move its prisoners, Palestinian inmates affiliated with Islamic Jihad clashed with guards in Israel's prisons Wednesday, and set cells on fire in Ketziot and Rimon prisons. There were no casualties, and prison staff extinguished the blazes.

Prisoner organizations since announced that they have decided not to cooperate with any decisions regarding the transfer of prisoners between prison wings, saying they "have plans" to set more prison cells on fire.

Meanwhile, Prison Service Commissioner Katy Perry has also decided to carry out searches of cells, increase the number of guards in each wing and keep the cells of security prisoners locked throughout the day. 

This came after Israel canceled family visits for Palestinian prisoners until the end of the month as a result of the mass riots in jails across the country, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said Thursday, citing the Palestinian Red Cross.

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