Palestinians revolt in Israeli prisons

Palestinians in Gaza City call for the release of political prisoners on 27 July.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A revolt is underway in Nafha and Ramon prisons, in the south of present-day Israel, where Palestinian prisoners say they have shut down entire sections and are staging civil disobedience in the face of repressive measures against them.

Ahmad Saadat, jailed leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said through his lawyer on Wednesday that prisoners lit rooms on fire in Nafha after a massive late-night raid by the elite unit Metzada on Monday.

The prison authorities put prisoners in isolation to punish them.

Saadat added that the prison authorities claimed that they staged the raid because they found several cell phones near the exterior prison wall which were intended to be smuggled inside.

The leftist party head was reported to have been severely beaten as part of the crackdown; Saadat said that it was not an attack on him personally but part of a collective assault on all the prisoners in Nafha.

“This attack on the prisoners in Nafha is part of the general attack waged by the occupation forces on the Palestinian people, especially after the formation of the new occupation government,” Saadat said.

Escalation

Palestinian prisoners closed sections of Ramon prison on Wednesday in an escalation of their protest.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club stated that all seven sections of the prison were closed in protest of the raids in Nafha.

Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian minister for prisoners affairs, described the conditions in Nafha and Ramon, as well as Eshel and Ofer prisons, as difficult and very tense.

Readying themselves for a full confrontation with their jailers, Qaraqe said, prisoners had turned away their dinner and were refusing to leave their rooms for the prison yards and clinics, and weren’t cooperating with security checks.

The Quds news network reported that there have been several raids in Nafha and Ramon prison this week, during which both prisoners and wardens sustained injuries.

Qaraqe warned on Tuesday that the the prisons could explode at any moment, calling for an immediate end to the “madness.”

Hunger strikes

Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners Uday Isteiti and Muhammad Allan were reported to be on their 42nd day of hunger strike on Wednesday.

The Quds network reported yesterday that Isteiti had suffered major deterioration in his health and was beaten and harassed by his jailers when he was transferred to Soroka Medical Center.

At the hospital, his lawyer said, Isteiti was forced to crawl to a toilet because he was refused access to a wheelchair.

Both Isteiti and Allan are on open-ended hunger strike in protest of their detention without charge or trial under “administrative detention” — indefinitely renewable military court orders based on “secret evidence” which is not revealed even to the prisoners or their attorneys.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.