An escape from Gilboa Prison in Bisan, northern Palestine, yesterday is reminiscent of the great escape in 1968 and an attempt to escape 20 years ago from the same prison.
The escape operation was a blow to the Israeli security service, as the prisons service and its various agencies take several measures to prevent an escape of this kind. The measures include:
- All floors in the rooms are concrete with a layer of very durable reinforced iron.
- Steel iron, cast with a special strong material, is put on the windows, which have early-warning sensors that warn the jailers when they are tampered with.
- Thick reinforced concrete walls.
- An internal 8-metre high fence with barbed wire.
- Guard dogs spread across the prison walls, covering all the grounds.
- A high barbed wire fence.
- The street surrounding the prison is patrolled continuously.
- Watchtowers are dotted across the area, covering the prison from every direction, both with the naked eye and high-resolution electronic cameras.
The security service in the prison is in charge of preventing prisoners from escaping and is responsible for examining these procedures and ensuring that they are effective on a permanent basis. It conducts periodic checks as follows:
- They examine the floor, walls, and windows by knocking on them 3 times a day with special tools.
- Prisoners who are serving life terms and those who authorities believe may try to escape are continuously moved from cell to cell and prison to prison.
- A label is placed on the ID cards of each prisoner who is likely to be thinking of escaping, so that special attention is paid to them, as well as ongoing surveillance.
- Continuous inspections; include going through clothing and all the contents of the cell in order to prevent prisoners from settling in and to cover up a possible escape.
Despite all the apparent and hidden procedures, the heroes were able to dig with primitive tools without a sound being heard and a huge amount of dirt coming out of the tunnel. The dirt was being disposed of in various ways and means without this complete and integrated system noticing. It is a defeat for the Israeli mind and a victory for the Palestinian mind.
Experience has proven that Palestinian prisoners will continue to try to escape, and prisons have witnessed dozens of attempts, some of which succeeded while others were discovered during the implementation stages. It is an ongoing battle of wits.
This operation is very painful for Israeli security, reminiscent of the 1964 escape from Ashkelon prison, which was described as a Hollywood operation due to its precision, the ingenuity of its planning, and the courage of those who carried it out at the time.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 06 September 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.