Palestinian prisoners complete 20 days of civil disobedience against Israeli jail authorities

The prisoners’ agitation started in response to recent punitive measures introduced by the extremist government in Israel, and is expected to escalate in the coming days into a mass indefinite hunger strike

March 06, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Palestinian prisoners civil disobedience
(Photo: Wafa)

On Sunday, March 5, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners completed 20 days of the civil disobedience movement they had launched against the atrocious prison conditions within Israeli jails and the recently introduced arbitrary punitive measures. 

On Sunday, prisoners decided to escalate their protest as Israeli authorities have not responded to any of their demands. They have decided to continue wearing the prison uniform, and close all the sections of the jail between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm to oppose the prison authorities, Al-Mayadeen reported. The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-detainees’ Affairs also noted that prisoners will hold a session on Sunday evening to decide on their further course of action. 

The Palestinian ministry claimed that if the demands are not met soon, the prisoners will further escalate their protest by organizing a mass indefinite hunger strike. 

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced a series of punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails after coming to power in November last year.

In January, Ben-Gvir announced the suspension of some of the rights available to Palestinian prisoners, such as visitations from Knesset members. He also ordered withdrawal of several other amenities available to them and introduced greater restrictions on their movements inside prisons. He has also withdrawn the right to own electronic devices, and limited the timings of showers. The number of security checks on prisoners have been increased as well, causing greater inconvenience to those incarcerated. 

Ben-Gvir has taken steps to shut down the bakeries run out of some Israeli prisons, which used to provide fresh bread to prisoners. He even claimed that he wants to make sure that Palestinian prisoners do not eat fresh bread inside jail, likening the availability of fresh bread to being in a restaurant. 

Palestinian prisoners are demanding the roll back of all these measures. 

Even after the announcement of the civil disobedience movement, the punitive measures have continued. Ben-Gvir’s party was one of the sponsors of a bill in the Israeli parliament to restrict medical treatment available to prisoners.

Ben-Gvir has also termed all Palestinian prisoners “terrorists.” He has said that “the death penalty should be enacted for terrorists but until then, they should be treated as terrorists.”

Currently, there are over 4,700 Palestinian prisoners inside different Israeli jails, including 160 children and 29 women.