Ramallah

- Against the backdrop of the Israeli Prisons Administration's decision to shorten the period of the "surge", which is the release of prisoners from their rooms to the external arena, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons announced the dissolution of the regulatory bodies and the cessation of communication with their administration.

And the Prison Authority administration had decided to impose new procedures for the prisoners’ exit for the immediate, in a step that retracted a previous agreement with the prisoners’ representatives to stop the measures it had taken after the six prisoners escaped from Gilboa Prison in September 2021, including this decision.

Usually, the prisoners of the section are fully released to the fortress at one time for a period of 6 hours divided into two periods, the first from eight in the morning until 11 in the afternoon, and the second from three in the afternoon until five in the evening.

But according to the new procedure, half of the department’s rooms will be released for an hour and a half, and the remaining rooms in the remaining hour and a half of each period, meaning that each prisoner spends only 3 hours in the fort, and the prisoners will be deprived of meeting together.

The "future" constitutes the lifeblood of the prisoners inside the prisons, and the prisoners will not accept touching it, as the head of the Prisoners Club Qaddoura Fares told Al Jazeera Net, which made them respond by dissolving their organizational bodies, representing all prisoners in the prison administration, "despite its importance in organizing their daily lives."

Qaddoura Fares: The prisoners will not accept infringement of their rights (Al-Jazeera)

What are regulatory bodies and how are they formed?

The formation of organizations inside prisons began in the early seventies, coinciding with the formation of Palestinian factions outside prisons. The prisoners from these factions worked to form bodies that would be an extension of the parent factions abroad, which transformed the prisoners inside prisons from a “dispersed group into an organized army,” according to what he says. The prisoner, the editor who follows up on the issues of prisoners, Ismat Mansour, told Al Jazeera Net, who added that "these organizations have become the backbone of the captive movement in prisons."

With time, and the increase in the number of prisoners, these organizations crystallized and internal regulations were put in place commensurate with the conditions of life inside the prison, so that the prisoners were able to impose these regulations on the administration and recognize their representatives before the administration.

According to Mansour, the prisoners were seeking, through the formation of these organizations, to establish them as prisoners of war, and to turn the prison into an arena of struggle, clashing with the occupation.

Before the formation of these organizations, the prisoners who led the prisons were the highest in terms of military ranks, and sometimes the strongest. The conflict with the administration at that time was physical.

The prison administration, which at the time was directly affiliated with the occupation army, dealt with each prisoner individually.

Over time, the organizations developed internal regulations and organizational structure, and began to choose their representatives through elections. Within one section, a representative of each organization, and among the representatives, the representative of the section was elected to be part of the higher detention bodies representing the whole prison at the Prisons Administration.

Qadura Fares says, "These organizations are a microcosm of the Palestinian factions emanating from them, but taking into account the privacy of the prison, the organization of the social, cultural and struggle life of the prisoners during the period of their detention is taken into account."

Walid Al-Hodali: Before the formation of the prisoners’ organizations, the occupation used to treat them as criminal detainees (Al-Jazeera)

Comprehensive regulation of prisoners' lives

These organizations were of great importance in shaping the awareness of the captive movement, and confronting the occupation’s plans to deal with prisoners as criminal prisoners and rob them of their international status as prisoners in the face of the occupation, according to the writer specialized in prison literature, Walid Al-Hodali.

Al-Hodli, who spent more than 15 years in prison, and has many books on their conditions, told Al Jazeera Net that before the formation of these organizations, the occupation used to deal with prisoners as criminal detainees, which made these organizations and since the beginning of their formation engaged in confrontation through hunger strikes on issues Fateful, such as refusing to work for prisoners in the Israeli military industries, and trying to impose a humiliating way of dealing with the jailer, such as bowing to him when he enters the wards.

These organizations were also able to remove entitlements on which the captive movement built a lot, such as having each prisoner have a special bed for sleeping, then a “Porsche” bed, and determining the quality of food provided to them and the duration of isolation and other issues of life for prisoners.

Also, through these organizations and their leaders, each faction was able to preserve the jihadist and patriotic spirit through its organizational regulations and the development of cultural and national programs that suit its ideology.

From these bodies, an official for each room in the department emerges, who is responsible for the division of labor within it, as well as cultural committees, and security committees that maintain the security of the detainee from penetration of the prison intelligence service. “These organizations provided prisoners with a comprehensive and organized cultural and social life inside the prison,” Hodali continued.

Ismat Mansour: These organizations have become the backbone of the captive movement in prisons (Al-Jazeera)

What after the dissolution of these organizations?

In the face of this state of organization, the Prison Authority administration did not find a way other than to submit to the administration of the prisoners, and to deal with its representatives.

It was a tacit agreement to facilitate her daily work in the departments in exchange for privileges that the prisoners would receive, according to Kaddoura Fares.

For example, during the process of counting prisoners, which is carried out by the prison administration 3 times a day, it is difficult for the administration to do it without the cooperation of the prisoners by standing up and not creating confusion, and in return the prisoners are able to go out to the “fora” and exercise without obstacles.

Also, in the face of any defect in this process and others, the representative of the department, not the prisoner himself, is reviewed, and the opposite is what dissolving the organizations means, so the prison administration has to deal with each prisoner;

This creates a charged atmosphere and a state of tension that leads to each prisoner expressing his rejection or anger in his own way, sometimes leading to stabbings of prisoners by the prisoners.

Mansour says about this, "This means that the prisoners will return the conflict to the chaos stage it was in before the formation of these organizations."

The fear for Mansour is that this chaos will affect the internal relations between the prisoners themselves.

Fares minimizes this fear, saying that the prisoners' announcement of the dissolution of the regulatory bodies is only related to their representation of prisoners before the prison administration, but that does not mean that they stop managing the prisoners' internal affairs.

He pointed out that the prisoners, based on this decision, now have additional pressure papers that can be used to force the administration to reverse its decision, such as non-compliance with the number and lack of cooperation during the daily procedures carried out by the jailers.

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