Israeli prison standards to be lowered in effort to deter terrorism

The party is over," Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said at a press conference.

January 2, 2019 13:52
Israeli prison standards to be lowered in effort to deter terrorism

A Palestinian prisoner, convicted of security offences against Israel, looks out of his cell at Nitzan jail. (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)


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Israel will lower the prison conditions for terrorists to make them as rigid as possible while still respecting international law, in an effort to deter would-be terrorists from committing acts of violence against Israelis. 

"We will not be deterred by threats and hunger strikes," Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Wednesday at a press conference. "Making the terrorists' conditions worse is necessary both to create deterrence and to fulfill our moral duty to terror victims and their families."

Erdan explained that security and criminal prisoners should be treated differently.

"When it comes to security prisoners, one of the main goals of imprisonment, rehabilitation, does not exist, because prisoners are infused with a terrorist ideology that does not regret their actions," Erdan said.

Prisoners from rival Hamas and Fatah factions will no longer be separated in Israeli jails, despite tensions between the groups.

The party is over," he said at the press conference.

Seven months ago, Erdan set up a committee to determine what steps Israel could take to make incarceration conditions harsher for those who committed acts of terrorism . He decided to fully comply with the recommendations.

Some of the recommendations include reducing water consumption for prisoners, cutting potential canteen allotment in prison and mixing Hamas and Fatah prisoners in the same wing.

Convicted terrorists often keep the water faucets open at all times of the day as an act of defiance against the state, Erdan said, which at times means a Palestinian terrorist in prison wastes as five times more water than an Israeli citizen.

Erdan noted that convicted terrorists currently enjoy the right of cooking for themselves, a situation he admitted allows them to enjoy food that is "in some ways superior" to the meals given to criminal inmates. The new regulations will put an end to that.  

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly vowed to continue paying security prisoners jailed by Israel.

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