The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs has condemned Israeli plans to build a new prison just to hold Palestinians. Mr Issa Qaraqe said that the occupation authority’s announcement “proves its determination to continue the arrest policy” which has seen thousands of Palestinians detained by Israel, some of them indefinitely and without charge.
In a statement issued through official PA media outlets on Wednesday, Qaraqe said: “Building a new prison in the south of occupied Palestine means that Israel is determined to remain a state of prisons and camps, and that the policy of arrests and detention of the Palestinian people is continuing.”
Israel announced that it has allocated forty million shekels (around $11 million) for a new prison to replace Damon and Tirtsa prisons, which have been declared unfit for purpose. This announcement itself was also condemned by Minister Qarage, who described the declaration that the existing two prisons are unfit for use by human beings as “very late”. Damon Prison, he added, has been used by Israel to hold Palestinian prisoners since 1967; during the British mandate period it was a tobacco factory and conditions there are said to be “very grim”.