The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has warned against restrictions initiated by far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir against Palestinians currently in Israeli prisons across the occupied territories.
In a post published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday PLO Secretary General, Hussein al-Sheikh wrote that the harsh Israeli measures would explode the already volatile situation in the occupied lands.
“The racist measures against Palestinian prisoners announced by racist Ben-Gvir threaten to manifest in explosive situations,” al-Sheikh said.
“This requires the immediate retraction of these decisions and the direct intervention of international human rights organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross," he added.
Earlier on Friday, Ben-Gvir declared that Palestinian prisoners would now be permitted family visits only once every two months instead of once a month, stating that the measure will take effect as of next Sunday.
The decision was met with opposition from Israel's so-called Internal Security Service, Shin Bet, and the Israel Prison Service (IPS). Both institutions cautioned that this might exacerbate the prevailing tense environment in the West Bank and elsewhere in the occupied territories.
Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners have threatened to go on a hunger strike in protest at Ben-Gvir’s restrictions. They indicated that the strike would commence on September 14.
Earlier this week, Ben-Gvir revoked a policy allowing for the early release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
Earlier this year, he attempted to enforce stricter regulations on the duration of showers and ordered the elimination of ovens specifically used for baking pitas. As a result, he was mockingly referred to as "the pita minister" by opposition members.
There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Palestinian prisoners are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted, which is in sheer violation of human rights. Advocacy groups describe Israel’s use of detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to end its use.
The IPS keeps Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
According to the Palestine Detainees Studies Center, about 60% of the Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails suffer from chronic diseases, a number of whom died in detention or after being released due to the severity of their cases.