Israeli MK Itamar Ben-Gvir Threatens to Abuse Palestinian Prisoners

As the right-wing extremist Israeli Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir might become the minister of internal security, he has threatened to place unprecedented restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Palestinians said that 2022 is the hardest year for the Palestinian Prisoners Movement, calling for more efforts to prevent Ben-Gvir from implementing his plan, which targets nearly 4,760 Palestinian prisoners, including 33 women and 160 children.

 Ben-Gvir’s plan is not the first of its kind, it was first presented by Gilad Erdan in late 2018, when he was the minister of internal security at that time.

The plan details

Ben Gvir, notorious for his extremist views and violent practices, recently voiced his aspiration to be appointed public security minister in order for him to take tougher measures against the Palestinians, including the prisoners.

During Monday’s coalition talks, Ben-Gvir have presented a comprehensive plan to the newly-elected PM Benjamin Netanyahu that revolves around how the Israeli Prison Authority deals with Palestinian security prisoners, including imposing increased restrictions on them.

The plan will seek to restrict the “independence” of prisoners inside Israeli jails, preventing the organisation of prisoners into groups reflecting Palestinian factions outside prison.

In addition, Ben-Gvir will call for an end to dealing with prisoners through a spokesperson or representative in their name, but instead “identify a variable representative” who will only correspond with prison authorities on public issues rather than on the personal matters of the prisoners.

Ben-Gvir’s plan also aims to prevent prisoners from preparing food within their own prison sections – with food only provided through the prisons authority itself – in addition to reducing prisoners’ water consumption.

Palestinian concerns

The Supreme National Emergency Committee of the National Captive Movement on Monday condemned Itamar Ben-Gvir’s statements against Palestinian prisoners.

The committee further warned of the serious implications of Ben-Gvir’s plan against the prisoners, threatening to draw up a comprehensive plan, which includes escalating resistance in various areas of the West Bank and preparing for strikes inside prisons, which may be the largest in the history of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

We will not stand idly, the committee added.

For his part, head of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission Qadri Abu Baker said that he too is concerned about the possibility of Ben-Gvir taking over the ministry and abusing Palestinian prisoners in an unprecedented way.

He said if Ben-Gvir becomes the minister of internal security, he will prevent the presence of Palestinian organizations inside prisons and make it difficult for the prisoners’ families to pay them visits.

Abu Bakr said that the prisoners would not surrender to such measures and that the Palestinian people would stand in solidarity with them.

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