(Photo credit: AFP)
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centers across the occupied territories have begun a sit-in protest in the courtyards of their respective prisons. The protests oppose the harsh measures employed across the occupation’s jails since last year’s infamous Gilboa prisonbreak.
The Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said in a statement on 25 August that scores of inmates left their cells and made their way to their prison yards, to begin what the PPS referred to as a “disobedience and rebellion” campaign launched under the slogan: “United in the face of the jailer.”
Some of the strict policies enforced in Israeli jails include “the constant transfer of prisoners between prison facilities and repeated solitary confinement,” especially for those with high sentences, PPS spokesperson Amani Sarahneh told media.
The protest was unofficially launched on 22 August, with prisoners refusing meals and security check line ups.
They have continued in an effort to reverse some of these strict measures implemented after six Palestinian detainees escaped from the maximum security Gilboa prison last year, sparking an almost two-week manhunt.
In March, Israel accepted the demands of the prisoners to ease its harsh policies, but have recently “decided to resume” their strict prison measures.
“The prisoners decided to go into a full-scale mass hunger strike in September in case Israeli authorities don’t backtrack on their decision,” Sarahneh said.
Tel Aviv is notorious for the extremely brutal methods used against Palestinians in Israeli detention centers, which include physical torture, mental abuse, sleep deprivation, and sexual assault.
According to figures, there are around 4,550 Palestinians detained across Israeli prisons, including more than 600 who are held without charge.
Moreover, a Palestinian advocacy group reported in March that over 850 Palestinian children were imprisoned by Israel in the span of one year.
Many UN agencies have criticized Israel’s incarceration practices, yet no action has been taken against them.