Israeli prison officers raided Section 3 of Al-Naqab Prison in the Negev this morning and moved Palestinian political prisoners to an undisclosed area of the detention facility. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Commission for Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs said that the nature of the move and the reason for it remain uncertain.
The incident adds to the ongoing debate about the treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody. It follows a series of similar raids by the Israeli authorities, including a recent raid in Section 26 of the same prison, prompting outrage and condemnation from human rights organisations.
In several sections of Al-Naqab Prison, specially-trained prison officers have conducted thorough searches of rooms, confiscated all electrical devices, banned canteen access and family visits, and imposed collective and solitary isolation on more than 100 prisoners, Al Jazeera has reported. In response, prisoners in several sections have launched hunger strikes and employed a strategy of non-cooperation with the prison authorities.
According to Wafa news agency, the PPS and the Commission have collaborated to raise their concerns about the actions of the Israeli authorities. In a joint statement, they stressed the severity of the situation and placed complete responsibility on the Israeli Prison Service for the health and security of the inmates within Al-Naqab.
“Continuing to tighten the grip on the prisoners will escalate the situation in all prisons,” they warned. “The brutal assault on Block 3 in Al-Naqab Prison was a cowardly act and criminal behaviour that the prisoners will not let pass as a ‘normal’ occurrence.”
There are currently just under 4,800 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, including 160 children, 29 women and 914 being held with neither charge nor trial under so-called administrative detention. The Israeli occupation authorities have issued or renewed 1,302 administrative detention orders since the start of this year.