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Ben-Gvir's Palestinian prisoner proposals 'risk explosion'

Israel minister Ben-Gvir's Palestinian prisoner proposals risk 'explosion', advocacy group warns
2 min read
23 August, 2023
The Palestinian Prisoners' Club accused far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of draconian acts which could cause an "explosion" in prisons.
Itamar Ben-Gvir is Israel's national security minister [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty-archive]

Measures called for by Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir could lead to an "explosion" within jails, a Palestinian detainee advocacy group has warned.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club (PPC) said in a statement that Ben-Gvir is trying to use all means to impact Palestinians' lives behind bars.

During a cabinet meeting, the minister called for a ban on security prisoners watching television channels.

He also said detainees should no longer be assigned based on their organisational affiliation, meaning prisoners belonging to different Palestinian factions would have to live in the same cell, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported on Tuesday.

"The measures called for by the fascist minister Ben-Gvir, particularly regarding interfering with the prisoners' organisational structures… will lead to an explosion in the situation within the prisons and an escalation of confrontation," the PPC said.

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Ben-Gvir announced the draconian measures around two weeks after he visited two prisons, after which "suppression operations" took place in several sections of one of the jails, the PPC added.

"We are talking here about an extremely dangerous step that could ignite a war with Gaza, the West Bank and Palestinian factions in southern Lebanon," Israeli security officials said, according to Kan.

The PPC said the prisoners' organisational structures are the basis for detainees to manage their lives.

The advocacy group said that since Israel's far-right government came to power it has sought to impose a "new reality" in its prisons.

In February the prisoner's movement engaged in acts of disobedience against measures brought in by Ben-Gvir.

The rebellion ended with some concessions to prisoners after over a month.

There are 5,100 Palestinians jailed by Israel, with 1,200 of these held in "administrative detention", figures from prisoners' rights group Addameer show.

Administrative detainees have neither been charged with a crime nor granted a trial, and they and their lawyers are prevented from seeing the evidence against them.

The detention orders typically last between three to six months and can be renewed indefinitely.

The New Arab contacted the Israeli embassy in London for comment but did not receive a response before publication.