Report from Inside Ketziot Prison

25 October 2007

Palestine Solidarity Project has received a report from a prisoner, Ma’moun, from inside Ketziot prison three days after prison guards attacked several prisoners and killed one. Ma’moun was being held in the same tent block as Mohammed Al-Ashkar who was fatally wounded during the attack. Ketziot is made up of nearly 100 “blocks”, each block is a walled-in open courtyard, divided into quadrants with three tents in each quadrant. Each tent holds 20 people, with 240 people total in each block. Here is Ma’moun’s account of what happened early Monday morning:

At approximately 2 am Israeli prison guards entered the tents in the block and began searching them. When prisoners would not move quickly enough, the guards began beating the prisoners in their beds. The prisoners began shouting at the guards to stop beating people and to leave the tents. Guards then threw several sound grenades into the tents. Then, from the guard tower on the corner of the block, guards began shooting tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition into the tents from above. The tear gas canisters, which are extremely hot when shot, set some of the tents on fire. Dozens of prisoners were shot and nearly everyone in the block suffered from gas inhalation, as they were prevented from leaving the area even after the assault.

The Israeli Occupation Forces have said that they used only “non-lethal” methods of control. Obviously, as someone was killed, the methods were nothing but lethal. Long after the assault, Mohammed Al-Ashkar was brought to an Israeli hospital, where he died the next day.

Demonstrations were held throughout Palestine yesterday in protest of Al-Ashkar’s murder and the general conditions Palestinian prisoners face in Israeli jails. Today there was a general strike called and all shops and businesses were closed in solidarity with the over 11,000 Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons.