22 January 2019 — Electronic Intifada
Israeli forces injured more than 100 Palestinian prisoners at Israel’s Ofer military prison near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in a series of raids since Sunday.
Several Israeli military units raided two other prisons since then, Nafha prison in the Naqab region in southern Israel and Gilboa prison in the north, after allegedly receiving an intelligence tip that members of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian political and resistance organization, had mobile phones, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
This video shows the prison authorities’ special forces unit Metzada raid Ofer prison on Monday:
Soldiers used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, military dogs and sound bombs against Palestinian prisoners, according to Quds News Network. Three rooms were also fully burnt.
Most injuries were caused by rubber-coated steel bullets, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, and many prisoners were transferred to hospitals. About 20 remain hospitalized.
This has been the biggest attack on Palestinian prisoners in more than a decade, the club stated, adding that it poses “grave danger to the life and fate of the prisoners.”
Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan stated that the Israel Prison Service will “continue to act with full force” and “use all means at its disposal” to control what he called “riots,” according to The Times of Israel.
Erdan reaffirmed his intent, announced earlier this month, to worsen conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons and reduce their standard of living to “the minimum required.”
Erdan announced the blocking of prisoner welfare funds from the Palestinian Authority, reducing prisoners’ autonomy and restricting water supplies.
He claimed that prisoners’ water consumption is “crazy” and a way for them “to subvert the state,” according to Haaretz.
The newspaper did not spell out how much water Palestinian prisoners are alleged to use.
The prisoners club called on human rights organizations, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross, to intervene to stop Israel’s brutal assault on prisoners at Ofer, which holds approximately 1,200 detainees.
Israeli occupation forces also raided the section holding Palestinian child prisoners at Ofer, forcing them to stand against a wall and threatening them with guns and military police dogs, the prisoners club stated after speaking to Louai al-Mansi, a representative of child prisoners at Ofer.
Children at Ofer are in a state of panic and terror, the prisoners club said, adding that one 15-year-old went into a state of shock and could not speak until Tuesday morning.
Prisoners at Ofer announced a resistance campaign against Israel’s assault, dubbing it the “Battle of Unity and Dignity.”
“We are facing a new phase of repression threatening our lives as prisoners,” detainees said in a statement.
They warned Israeli political parties and leaders not to try to use them for political gain in the context of forthcoming Israeli elections, by imposing harsher measures on them.
Palestinians protested in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli detention in several cities, including Ramallah:
Activists protested in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus as well:
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip also protested Israel’s attack on prisoners:
Islamic Jihad prisoners condemned Israel’s attack and promised a response.
“We will not allow prisons to be a platform for election propaganda, and we affirm that we have taken a decision to confront and defend ourselves and our dignity,” the political and resistance group’s prisoners organization said in a statement.
The Islamic Jihad prisoners reaffirmed they would burn any cell raided by the “Metzada terrorist unit,” a reference to Israel’s special forces.