Several dozen security prisoners started a hunger strike Sunday morning, according to Arab media reports, and additional prisoners are expected to join the strike in the coming days, leading up to the “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day” on April 17.
Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Commission of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees, told WAFA on Saturday that the prisoners’ main demand is to remove the devices the Israel Prison Service has recently installed in Kitziot prison, which jam contraband cellphones, TVs and radios. Abu Bakr claimed the jamming devices impact the prisoners’ health. The prisoners are also demanding the IPS install public phones in prison yards, and cancel punitive measures against prisoners who recently rioted in the Ktziot and Rimon prisons.
“This is an opportunity to correct the distortion of the summer camp and hotel verdicts imposed by Israeli courts,” said attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who runs in the 7th slot of the Right Wing Union party Knesset elections slate.
“Let them hunger strike as much as they want, and under no circumstances should you feed them forcefully – allow them to die,” Ben-Gvir advised the IPS. “When I am in the Knesset I will work to make the procedure even simpler: terrorists who murdered Jews would be taken to the electric chair, and will not have the option of issuing such and such threats at all.”
The IPS is downplaying the hunger strike, but at the same time preparing for it. Security prisons have been reinforced with physicians and paramedics to contain the strike inside the prison walls, and to minimize the need to send prisoners to hospitals.
“We hope they will give in before it gets to that,” said Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan on Saturday.
National Union chairman MK Bezalel Samotrich issued his own statement about the terrorists’ strike, specifically about the IPS attempts to negotiate with the Hamas prisoners: “Tell me more about Netanyahu being strong right-wing. These absurd negotiations with Hamas prisoners is another record-breaking surrender and weakness. How much more can Israeli deterrence be eroded? Let them hunger strike as much as they want, to the death, without forced feeding. I call on Netanyahu to stop talking to the terrorists in prison.”