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Rights group warns Ben-Gvir targeting Palestinian prisoners

August 18, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Israeli Minister of National security Itamar Ben-Gvir [Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

The Palestine Centre for Prisoners’ Studies yesterday warned against Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s continued targeting of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails and his recommendations that they be further limited and harassed.

Researcher, Riyad Al-Ashqar, explained that conditions inside the prisons had severely deteriorated since the beginning of the year, after Ben-Gvir’s visit to the notorious Nafha Prison in January and his instructions to deny prisoners pitta bread, describing it as a “benefit and indulgence”.

“The policy is to deny benefits and indulgences to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, to deny them ‘benefits’ that can be withheld by law and certainly to deny them rights that for some reason only terrorists and not criminal prisoners have,” Ben-Gvir is reported to have said at the time.

This week, however, he said “the policy that I’m leading as the minister in charge of the Israel Prison Service should be known by everyone,” adding that “it’s begun to be implemented”. His policies include “reducing as much as possible the indulgences” prisoners access “and stopping ‘summer camp’ that was going on in the prison wings in the past.”

Some 1,000 detainees have now threatened to go on hunger strike in protest against Ben-Gvir’s latest measures against them. Many are being held under administrative detention – without charge or trial.