Palestinians declare Friday ‘day of rage’ in support of prisoners
Top Fatah official visits families of escaped inmates as Day of Rage commences.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other Palestinian factions have called for a “day of rage” on Friday in protest of Israel’s decision to transfer security prisoners to other prisons following the escape of six inmates from Gilboa Prison earlier this week.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian Authority official warned that Israel’s “repressive” measures against the prisoners could ignite a new intifada.
“Israel is playing with fire,” the official said. “The issue of the prisoners is extremely sensitive. The situation is very dangerous.”
The official said that the PA has warned the Israeli government that the West Bank “is on the verge of explosion” because of the anger over the measures taken against the security prisoners.
On Thursday, Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and former head of the PA General Intelligence Service, visited the families of some of the fugitives who escaped from Gilboa Prison. Tirawi told the families that he was proud of the six inmates, and expressed hope that all the security prisoners would be freed.
“In light of the frenzied attack against our prisoners, we call on our Palestinian people to make Friday a day of Palestinian rage in the face of the arrogance of the occupation and its aggression against the prisoners, and to head toward points of contact and clash with the enemy army,” Hamas said in a statement on Thursday.
The call came after Wednesday night’s widespread protests in the West Bank and east Jerusalem against the Israel Prison Service’s decision to disperse hundreds of Palestinian inmates among various prisons.
The Palestinians are ready to “make sacrifices and fight battles for the freedom of the prisoners,” the Hamas statement read. “The escalation of the resistance and the clash with the enemy army carries a clear message to the occupation and its leaders that we, as a Palestinian people, are united behind the option of resistance and the protection of prisoners and holy sites.”
The National and Islamic Forces in the Gaza Strip, an alliance of various Palestinian factions, also called on Palestinians to step up protests against Israel on Friday in solidarity with the security prisoners and in support of the six fugitives.
The appeal was made by representatives of the factions during a sit-in strike in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip.
“The masses of our people must declare outrage, comprehensive escalation, and an open-ended clash with the occupation to support the prisoners,” said Jamil Mezher, a senior official with the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The factions said in a statement that the Palestinians and the armed groups in the Gaza Strip stand with the prisoners and “will not let them down.”
In Ramallah, Palestinian activists also called for clashes with IDF soldiers on Friday in solidarity with the prisoners.
Sheikh Khader Adnan, a senior PIJ official in the West Bank, also urged Palestinians to participate in the demonstrations on Friday, and called on Palestinians to “rejoice” over the jailbreak, describing the fugitives – five of whom belong to PIJ – as “heroes.”
“The battle for the freedom of the prisoners is the battle of all Palestinians and the free people of the world,” Adnan said.
Also Thursday, the PA government said that it has instructed all its embassies around the world to raise the issue of the security prisoners with governments and various international institutions, as well as the media.
Palestinian diplomats have been instructed to “expose the Israeli aggression on the heroic prisoners, including repression, abuse, provocative attacks, arbitrary transfers, collective and individual isolation, and reducing the amount of food and water,” according to the PA Foreign Ministry.
The ministry claimed that the latest Israeli measures “rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” and called for holding the Israeli government fully responsible for the lives of the prisoners and their families.