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Palestinian Islamic Jihad announces mass protests against repressive measures in Israeli jails

This file picture shows Palestinian prisoners in Ofer Prison, north of the occupied al-Quds. (Photo via Twitter)

The Supreme Leadership Council of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad prisoners has announced the start of a mass protest by imprisoned members of all Palestinian resistance groups and political factions in protest to the escalating repression by Israeli prison authorities.

The council, in a statement released on Saturday, paid tribute to Palestinian prisoners and declared the beginning of the Third Intifada, stating that the popular and concerted action has started off at Israeli prisons and detention centers, will prevail in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, and will continue until the final victory is achieved.

The statement noted that Israeli prison authorities have increased their repressive policies against Palestinian inmates, stressing that the detainees have put aside their previous differences and united for a common cause.

It went on to highlight the joint action of Palestinian prisoners from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, stressing, “We unequivocally reject repressive measures in Israeli jails, either through protests or resistance. This struggle has just begun and will go on.”

The statement called on all Palestinians to revolt against the Israeli regime and its prison service.

“Our common enemy is responsible for our captivity ... persecution and poverty.  It is responsible for taking our lives and shattering our dreams,” it read.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Prisoners Affairs Commission, said earlier this week that the recent measures by Israeli authorities are a continuation of a growing crackdown on inmates.

“The prison administration continues to repress the prisoners and take away what they have worked so hard to achieve over the years, which are simple rights,” Abu Bakr said, describing the crackdown as “collective punishment.”

He noted that Israeli authorities have increased their “repressive policies” since the September prison break last year, when six members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement escaped the maximum-security Gilboa jail.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.

Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of the so-called administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Palestinians and human rights groups say "administrative detention" violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as secret evidence. 

Rights groups describe Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on the regime to bring the practice to an end.

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