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Campaign of disobedience continues in Israeli prisons

Aug. 11, 2015 12:40 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 11, 2015 8:00 P.M.)
Palestinian prisoners walk through the yard of Megiddo prison. (AFP /Menahem Kahana/File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Rimon and Nafha jails on Tuesday continued a campaign of disobedience that was declared on Monday, the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said.

The committee said in a statement that around 560 prisoners in Rimon and Nafha were now taking part in the campaign to protest conditions inside the jails, with prisoners in other Israeli jails expected to join them.

The campaign will continue until the end of August, the statement said, after which time the prisoners are expected to announce an open-ended hunger strike.

"Disobedience" include a boycott of domestic work, daily roll-call, security checks and prison clinics, the statement said.

It added that the prisoners will also refuse to distribute meals, will return meals at irregular intervals, close prison wards, refuse to deal with wardens, and refuse to answer jailers when they call prisoners by their names.

The statement said that the prisoners began the campaign following incursions into their rooms by the Israeli Prison Service, as well as the arbitrary movement of prisoners from one jail to another, and the denial of regular family visits to prisoners.

The head of the PA prisoners' committee, Issa Qaraqe, said that President Mahmoud Abbas was deeply concerned by the dire conditions Palestinian prisoners face inside Israeli jails, adding that they violated their fundamental rights.

He said that Abbas was particularly worried by an Israeli law approved last month allowing hunger striking prisoners to be force fed.

Qaraqe said that the prisoners are demanding that the Israeli Prison Service:

1- End assaults and incursions into prisoners' rooms and wards;

2- Improve medical treatment and close Ramla prison clinic;

3- Cancel all sanctions against prisoners who staged hunger strikes;

4- End solitary confinement of prisoners;

5- Reactivate television channels that have been cancelled;

6- Stop depriving prisoners of family visits;

7- Stop moving prisoners arbitrarily from one jail to another.

The campaign of disobedience was declared after days of chaos inside the southern Israeli jails, where nearly 200 Palestinians went on hunger strike last week to protest their treatment at the hands of the Israeli Prison Service.

On Monday, after six days refusing food, around 120 Fatah-affiliated Palestinian agreed to suspend their hunger strike for a period of two weeks following talks with the Israeli Prison Service.

Separately, Hamas-affiliated detainees last week threatened a campaign of disobedience in prisons across Israel after the Israeli Prison Service said that it planned to move Hamas-affiliated prisoners from Nafha prison in southern Israel to Gilboa prison in the country's north.

There were around 5,750 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails as of May 2015, according to prisoner rights group Addameer.
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