(February 25, 2019 / Israel Hayom) The Israel Prison Service is on high alert after the Hamas terrorist group threatened a violent response the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet’s decision to withhold more than $138 million from the Palestinian Authority over its payments to families of Palestinian terrorists, and the Shin Bet security agency’s efforts to prevent security prisoners from ordering terrorist attacks through the use of contraband cellphones.
About two years ago, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered the IPS to take action to end the use of contraband cellular phones in prison wings holding security prisoners. The Ktziot, Ramon and Nafha prisons complied by installing cell-phone jamming technology.
The cabinet announced last week that it was implementing a law passed last year that allows Israel to withhold funds used to pay stipends to Palestinian attackers and their families from taxes Israel collects on the behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
In response, Hamas distributed leaflets claiming that the Shin Bet had installed “strange tools in Ktziot, which put the lives of prisoners at risk. It is doing this just days after the death of [Palestinian prisoner] Fares [Baroud], whose body is still being held by Israel, as was done with the body of [Palestinian prisoner] Aziz Awisat, who died after being viciously beaten in prison. It is clear to all that the occupation government [Israel] has declared war on us through officials in the Shin Bet.”
Hamas also decried cuts to prisoner stipends, as well as the decision not to allow Hamas terrorists receive visits from relatives who live in the West Bank.
“This is the most serious attack against us in many years. They have declared war on us. We will not leave Ktziot [Prison] alone in the campaign. The fire will spread to all the prisons. If they sentence us to death, we will die as heroes. We will call on the Palestinian people and all of its factions to fulfill its responsibility and support the prisoners,” the group declared.
As a result of Hamas’s announcement of planned protests, the Shin Bet has prepared for various scenarios, including attacks on staff, and the sabotage of machinery and equipment.
The IPS has made it clear to prisoners that any action of the kind will be met with a firm response.