The scenario that the security establishment is preparing for is threatening. The scenario envisions the security prisoners launching a hunger strike, setting fire to their cells, trying attack the guards, severing all contact with the prison authorities, refusing all visits by the Red Cross and family members, while their relatives will demonstrate outside the prisons and will enlist Israeli Arabs to the cause as well.
Israeli security officials said that the Palestinian Authority is behind the planned prisoners’ strike, which is expected to include a hunger strike and rioting in the larger prisons in Israel—similar to the strike that was held in the prisons in 2004, when the security prisoners rioted for 18 days. Israeli officials said they anticipated that the signal to launch the strike would be given in the course of the next number of weeks.
The assessment is that the Palestinian Authority will also launch a parallel “soft attack” that will involve the enlistment of Arab and other international media stations, as well as taking legal action to help shore up the prisoners’ struggle.
It will be interesting to see if the “legal actions” will tackle a major issue that has largely remained under the radar: the 10,000 or so Palestinian prisoners are held in Israel in direct breach of international law.
On March 25, 2009, Yesh Din along with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual filed a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding that prisoners and detainees who reside in the West Bank not be held in facilities within Israel, and that arraignment hearings for such detainees also not be held in courts outside the West Bank.
The petition argues that holding Palestinian detainees in facilities located within Israel, a practice employed by Israeli authorities since 1967, violates Geneva Convention norms and infringes on detainees’ and prisoners’ right to due process, right to counsel, as well as visitation rights, as their lawyers and families are unable to meet with them.
In March 2010, following a hearing, the HCJ rejected the petition, stating that this issue was discussed and decided upon in a previous ruling. In that ruling, the HCJ refused to apply the International Humanitarian Law on this issue – and accepted the Israeli government’s position on the matter. [More here]
Palestinians planning prisoners strike
Alex Fishman, Yediot, December 2 2010 [Hebrew original here and at the bottom of this post]
The security establishment is bracing for the possibility that the Palestinian security prisoners who are incarcerated in Israel will launch a general strike, which is being planned by the Palestinian Authority.