The Israel Prison Service has agreed to a joint meeting of the leaders of Hamas security prisoners in several prisons across Israel, Haaretz reported Monday night citing Arab and Israeli sources. The gathering was permitted in light of the current tension in security prisons and the Hamas prisoners’ new threat to launch a hunger strike.
According to the report, once an agreement had been reached regarding the installation of public telephones in the security wings, the prisoners have come up with new demands, synchronized with Hamas prisoners in Ramon Prison who on Monday returned their meal trays untouched.
According to an Arab source close to the prisoners, the meeting of the Hamas leadership was held at Ramon Prison, where some prisoner leaders were transported from Eshel and Ketziot prisons.
Among the participants in the conference were Abbas a-Sayed, who was behind the massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya; Muammar a-Sheikh, who recruited the suicide bomber for the same attack; Mohammed Arman, who was behind the terrorist attacks at the Moment Cafe and the Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem; and Ashraf Zagier, who was convicted of transporting the terrorist who carried out the attack on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv.
The IPS responded, saying: “We do not intend to address operational issues in the prisons.”
Public telephones have recently been installed in the security wings, with the approval of the Prime Minister and the Shin Bet, as part of the agreement to end the prisoners’ hunger strike over IPS’ disrupting of cellular reception.
About two weeks ago, IPS installed public phones in the Hamas wing in the Ketziot prison. On Monday, four phones were set to start operating in an additional wing of Ramon Prison, but it was delayed for technical reasons.
The phones in Ramon Prison will serve 13 Hamas prisoners from the Gaza Strip, and four inmates affiliated with ISIS, who were involved in the terror attack in the Sarona shopping mall in Tel Aviv.
According to an April deal, the prisoners could talk to their families for fifteen minutes, three times a week. But now the Hamas leadership in prison insists on five fifteen-minute sessions each week, and demands public phones in the Damon prison, where female security prisoners are being held. They also demand the removal of the cellphone disrupters for health reasons.
An Israeli senior security apparatus official estimated that Hamas is attempting to tally more achievements, on the assumption that the Netanyahu administration would be more likely to comply ahead of the upcoming elections.
Another source said in this context: “Just a few months ago, Hamas officials ordered Ketziot prisoners to stab officers, and now they are treated to a special meeting to discuss their demands.”
“It’s clear who runs the prisons,” said the same source.