About 400 Palestinian prisoners belonging to the Islamic Jihad movement began an open hunger strike, in protest against their detention conditions, as well as the abusive practices of the Israeli prisons administration against them, following the escape of 6 prisoners, including 5 from the Islamic Jihad movement last September.
the Israeli Prison Authority imposed more restrictions on Islamic Jihad prisoners in particular, and dispersed in separate prisons.
According to a statement by the Palestinian Prisoners Club on Wednesday, “prisoners of the Jihad Movement are subjected to a number of “abusive measures”, including “their transfer, isolation and detention in cells that do not meet the minimum conditions for human life, in addition to sending a group of leaders to investigation.”
The media coordinator of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Amani Farajneh, stated that “The prisoners of all factions support the strike of the prisoners of the Islamic Jihad movement, and indicated that the strike is part of a “struggle program based on rebellion against prison laws, announced by the National Emergency Committee (factional) inside prisons.”
The prisoners of the Jihad movement are distributed in all Israeli prisons, and “the main demand is to stop targeting them in particular and restore the situation to what it was before September 6, specifically targeting the organizational structure.”
After the tunnel escape, the Prison Authority distributed the movement’s prisoners to all prisons, which means dispersing them and dissolving the Islamic Jihad movement, meaning not recognizing their representatives, as is customary in prisons.
Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawud Shehab said: “The captive movement decided to initiate a series of measures, in response to the Prison Authority’s prevarication in canceling all the measures it had taken against the prisoners of Islamic Jihad.” He added that these measures were taken “as a retaliatory response after 6 prisoners succeeded in breaking the security fortifications in Gilboa Prison, and exiting through a tunnel they dug.”
The hunger strike is the beginning of an escalation with the prison administration, and there is coordination with the various components of the Palestinian prisoner movement, and there is a national, popular and media support plan that will take into account all options, with the aim of not prolonging the strike and not endangering the lives of prisoners.
The coordinator of the National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah, Issam Abu Bakr, said: There is an escalation in the severity and brutality of what the occupation and prison administrations are practicing against the prisoners. He referred to “the solitary confinement and forcible transfer of the prisoners of the Jihad movement, including the six who were re-arrested by the occupying state.”
It is likely that new groups of prisoners will join the strike, in conjunction with steps to expand the popular movement, including sit-ins in front of the headquarters of the International Red Cross and Palestinian city centers, and sit-ins in front of prisons and detention centers in coordination with Palestinian citizens inside Israel and at the level of the Palestinian community abroad.