Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD, has condemned the retaliatory actions of the Israeli authorities in attempting to seek retribution against the families of six escaped Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa Prison, as authorities carry out a series of collective punishments in prisons across Israel.
Teachta Brady said:
“After what Israeli authorities have admitted is an unprecedented event in recent memory, in which six Palestinian prisoners escaped from a high security jail in Israel, embarrassed authorities are hell bent on carrying out a campaign of reprisals against the Palestinian community. This includes the targeting of the escapees’ families in the Jenin area and the collective punishment of all Palestinian prisoners.
“The homes of the escapees’ family members have been raided, a number of relatives have been detained for interrogation, and many more face ongoing harassment by Israeli authorities. This campaign of collective punishment against Palestinian prisoners includes placing many in isolation, closing canteens and laundry rooms, cancelling visits, and the mass transfer of prisoners to different prisons across the state.
“Whilst there is widespread jubilation throughout the West Bank and Gaza at the escape, there are fears amongst residents of Jenin in the West Bank that the Israeli crackdown and harassment since the escape may escalate into a full scale incursion into Jenin by the Israeli forces.
“Recent clashes in Jenin have led to the deaths of several Palestinians, with the Israelis threatening to invade the area. Such an act will lead to widespread violence, and the inevitable slaughter of civilians such as was witnessed during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza earlier this year.
“The harassment of the families of the escaped prisoners must cease, the collective punishment of Palestinian prisoners must cease. And the international community needs to act to ensure that the Israeli authorities do not escalate the situation as a pretext to invade Jenin, which would potentially lead to fatalities on the scale witnessed in Gaza earlier this year.
“I am calling upon Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to use the influence of the Irish government to ensure that the Israeli authorities are prevented from exacerbating tensions to further their own violent agenda against the Palestinian people.”