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Palestinian official warns of revolt in Israeli prisons after jailbreak

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Activists sit in a mock prison, during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, on April 9, 2019. (File photo)

A Palestinian official on prisoners’ affairs warns that a mass uprising should be expected inside Israeli detention centers if Tel Aviv presses ahead with its torture, mistreatment and repressive measures against inmates.

Israel has ramped up relocation of Palestinians to other prisons as part of a crackdown following a daring escape of six prisoners from a maximum security jail, Abdul–Nasser Farwana of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Authority said Thursday.  

Israel is enforcing such measures in order to take revenge on Palestinian prisoners and punish them collectively, especially Islamic Jihad-linked detainees, Farwana told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency. 

Prison authorities, he said, have even moved imprisoned members of the Palestinian resistance movement to solitary confinement.

They seek to pressure Islamic Jihad prisoners into divulging information about the six Palestinian inmates, who tunneled out of their cell and escaped from a high-security detention facility in the occupied lands earlier this week.

Farwana said Palestinian prisoners will continue to light fires inside Israeli detention centers, and use other available options to show their dissent.  

He said the Israeli repression of Palestinian prisoners has reached a fairly dangerous level.

In the predawn hours of Monday morning, Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade in Jenin and five Islamic Jihad members tunneled their way out through their cell’s drainage system and escaped from Gilboa prison.

Israeli prison officials were alerted by farmers who noticed them running through fields.

Four of the Islamic Jihad members were serving life sentences, while the fifth had been held without charge for two years under a so-called administrative detention order, according to Israeli media.

Hamas resistance movement has called the escape “a heroic act and a victory for the will and determination of our heroic detainees.” Islamic Jihad has also lauded it as “a powerful blow to the occupation forces.”

On Thursday, Palestinian inmates set fire to their cells in several wings of the Ramon prison after the Israel Prisons Service began to move Islamic Jihad inmates between facilities.

Prison authorities keep Palestinian inmates under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression.

Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.

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