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Israel’s prisons overflowing with Palestine prisoners, hindering new arrests

March 2, 2024 at 10:47 am

Israeli forces detain a number of Palestinians as they raid Tulkarm refugee camp in Tulkarm, West Bank on January 18, 2024. [İssam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli General Security Service Shin Bet disclosed that it released a number of administrative Palestinian prisoners in a surprise move on Thursday night due to the overcrowding of the occupation prisons with prisoners and the lack of space for new detainees.

Shin Bet and the occupation army released dozens of Palestinian detainees from Ofer Prison suddenly and without prior notification, “following an assessment of the situation by various security agencies,” according to a joint statement issued by them.

The statement explained that this step was due to “the lack of space inside the prisons” and that the detention period for these detainees was set to end next month. Therefore, this step “provides space for detainees who pose a greater threat.”

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Extremist Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir denied the story of Shin Bet and the army and relayed in a statement issued by his office: “The administrative detainees who were released last night were not released due to limited space in the prisons, but rather based on direct instructions from the head of Shin Bet ahead of the month of Ramadan. The prison authority has no considerations in the matter.”

Ben-Gvir added: “It is disturbing that on the day two Jews were killed (referring to the killing of Israeli settlers in the Eli settlement on Thursday), the head of Shin Bet chose to honour the killers. This is one day after Shin Bet requested to extend the administrative detention of a Jewish settler for the second time.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Israel’s Channel 12 reported the response to Ben-Gvir’s statements from unnamed Israeli security officials.

The officials stressed that Shin Bet and the army: “Were forced in the last week to cancel the arrests (of Palestinians) they had planned on the eve of Ramadan, but then backtracked due to the lack of a place to arrest and detain them in light of the war.”

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