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Israel National Security Minister announces harsher policy on Palestinian prisoners

January 6, 2023 at 1:40 pm

A group of people, holding photos of Palestinian prisoners, gather outside the International Committee of the Red Cross building to support Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza City, Gaza on January 02, 2023. [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Just days after his internationally condemned visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem, Israel’s new far-right National Security Minister, on Friday, announced a new harsher policy towards Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Anadolu News Agency reports.

On Twitter, Itamar Ben-Gvir said he is proceeding with a plan to adopt a law to impose the death penalty on prisoners accused of killing or attempting to kill Israelis.

READ: Israel arrested over 3,000 Palestinians in West Bank in 2022

“I visited Nafha prison yesterday after building new cells, to make sure that those who killed Jews would not get better conditions than the existing ones,” he said.

He added: “I will continue to deal with the conditions of imprisonment of security prisoners, while I aim to stop the policy that existed until today and issue the death penalty law.”

The Nafha desert prison is 100 kilometres (some 63 miles) from the city of Beersheba, and 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Jerusalem, and it is considered one of the most fortified Israeli prisons with the harshest conditions.

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Campaigning for office last year, Ben-Gvir said he would push for the Knesset to pass the death penalty.

According to Palestinian figures, as of the end of 2022, there were 4,700 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including 29 female prisoners, 150 minors, approximately 850 administrative detainees, 15 journalists, and five lawmakers.

READ: Palestinian official calls for end to political detention