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Israel to reduce bathroom access for Palestinian prisoners

February 13, 2023 at 4:21 pm

A general view of Gilboa prison. [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has ordered the Israeli Prison Service to reduce the time allowed for Palestinian prisoners to have access to bathrooms, Arab 48 has reported. According to the Palestinian Commission for Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs, the IPS informed the prisoners of the new schedule showing the time reduced by an hour.

The move was criticised by rights groups as an escalation of aggression against Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

“Despite the seriousness of the repercussions of this measure on the prisoners in terms of hygiene and the spread of disease, it also reflects the level of degradation and absurdity that Ben-Gvir has,” said Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. “It will be the cause of an explosion over conditions inside Israeli prisons.”

Earlier this month, Ben-Gvir ordered a halt to Palestinian security prisoners working in bakeries in two Israeli jails, saying that he was cancelling “benefits and indulgences”.

READ: Israel holds more than 900 Palestinians in prison with neither charge nor trial

Since taking ministerial office late last year, Ben-Gvir has provoked controversy both in Israel and abroad by pushing for hard-line reforms to the judiciary and security establishment. He has called for the death penalty for Palestinians who Israel considers to be “terrorists” and has pledged to make prison conditions more difficult for Palestinians.

Israel holds about 4,700 Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, according to Addameer, which supports prisoners’ rights. The figure includes convicted inmates, as well as those held under so-called administrative detention with neither charge nor trial.