Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israel will go on an open-ended hunger strike on September 14 to protest against the recent restrictions imposed by Israel. According to the Supreme Emergency Committee of the Prisoner National Movement, the prisoners will continue with the collective strike until their human rights are fully restored.
Far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir recently restricted family visits for prisoners to once every two months from the current practice of once a month. Under Ben-Gvir, the number of prisoners in solitary confinement has increased, as have arbitrary raids in prison cells, the practice of separating and abruptly transferring prisoners has also seen a rise, along with the use of the illegal administrative detention policy, among other forms of mistreatment. His actions have been condemned by rights activists and prisoners’ rights groups, as well as the United Nations.
Responding to the latest restriction on family visits, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) once again called on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with international law. The ICRC stated, “Under international humanitarian law (IHL), Palestinian detainees are protected persons and have a right to family contact. This includes family visits while in detention.”
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) also denounced the move. PPS chairman Qaddura Fares declared that it was part of a “racist and retaliatory approach aimed at harming the prisoners and their families. This decision infringes upon the basic rights of the Palestinian prisoners, in clear violation of both Israeli laws and international legal standards.”