Israel planning eight measures against Palestinian prisoners

Israel planning eight measures against Palestinian prisoners
Eight new pieces of legislation targeting Palestinian prisoners being considered by Israel, including the use of the death penalty and increasing sentences for stone-throwers.
3 min read
30 July, 2015
New Israeli laws may further increase prison sentences for Palestinian stone-throwers [Anadolu]
Israeli authorities are discussing eight new laws which has been described as "arbitrary" and which will target Palestinian prisoners' rights.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the Palestine Prisoners Centre for Studies said "The occupation is sparing no effort to crack down on prisoners. Recently, restrictions against prisoners have been greatly stepped up, and laws and decrees were issued targeting prisoners' rights with a view to further harass and torment them."

     The occupation is sparing no effort to crack down on (Palestinian) prisoners
From time to time, Israeli authorities deliberately encourage political parties and Members of Knesset (MK), especially from the Israeli far right, to introduce bills for official deliberation and approval.

These laws then enter into force, heading off any possible action by their opponents according to the statement.

The centre overviewed the eight bills introduced in the Knesset over the past months, some of which have been approved while the others are still being considered.

The bills include plans to prevent prisoners from joining university courses, impose the death penalty on Palestinian prisoners who took part in fighting against Israelis, impose further restrictions on prisoners freed under a deal with Hamas in 2011, and punish those involved in resistance activities.

Other plans being discussed include raising the prison sentence given to stone throwers to up to 20 years, imposing life sentences on anyone involved in attempts to capture Israeli soldiers, facilitating forced feeding of prisoners on hunger strike and barring prisoners from using telephones.

The centre called on the international community and human rights groups to break their silence vis-a-vis the crimes of the occupation against the prisoners and their complacency regarding ongoing Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners.

The centre said the failure of the international organisations to intervene equates to collusion with the occupation in ignoring and violating international law.

Settlements approved

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the "immediate" construction of 300 settler homes in the occupied West Bank as his government came under pressure from right-wing Jewish groups.

Settlements in the West Bank are viewed as major impediments to peace negotiations with Palestinians, who see the land as part of a future independent state, and Western nations have called on Israel to halt such projects.

The decision comes amid already strained relations between Israel and the United States, particularly over the recent nuclear deal with Iran, but Netanyahu is also under pressure to hold together his one-seat majority in parliament.

Palestinian officials had not immediately reacted to the announcement, but they have previously strongly condemned such moves.

"After consultations in the prime minister's office, the immediate construction of 300 homes in Beit El has been authorised," a statement from Netanyahu's office said, adding that planning for another 504 homes in annexed East Jerusalem had also been approved.

According to the statement, the 300 units in the West Bank had been promised three years ago following the demolition of other homes in the Beit El settlement.

The approval came after the Israeli High Court earlier Wednesday upheld a demolition order for two structures being built illegally in Beit El.

The planned demolition had drawn protests from settler groups who clashed with police at the site on Tuesday and Wednesday.