Prepare a file Prisoners The Palestinians have been an open confrontation front with the occupation since the era of the British Mandate until today, as a symbol of the struggle of wills with the Israeli occupier and a national commitment to perpetuating resistance work.
The basic idea in the matter is that there is a national and moral commitment between the general population on the one hand and those who risk themselves in order to achieve their freedom and preserve their dignity on the other hand. An equation like this enhances the continuity of resistance work and delivers a message of reassurance and encouragement to everyone who wants to follow this path.
The content of this equation is for the people to reward these people and protect their deeds, so they honor their martyr, take care of his family after him, treat their wounded, and expend everything to save those who fall into captivity, care for them, and take care of their families.
On the other hand, the occupation seeks to break this equation by damaging the relationship between the people and their resistance, holding them responsible for the crimes it commits against the general population, criminalizing and prosecuting forms of sympathy and support for the resistance, and being strict in any prisoner exchange negotiations.
This behavior appears clearly in the occupation’s media discourse, in its prevention of the Palestinian Authority from paying prisoners’ salaries, its restrictions on the institutions that care for their affairs and the affairs of the martyrs and the wounded, and in its efforts to pass a law restricting the ceiling of the price that any Israeli government can pay in Prisoner exchange deal As in the draft “Prisoners and Missing Persons” law submitted to the Knesset by former Intelligence Minister Eliezer Stern in 2018.
It is noteworthy that the occupation adopts a similar strategy with regard to its prisoners who are in the hands of others, as there is a historical political and religious commitment to recovering them, which prompted it to conduct 38 prisoner exchanges with Arabs and Palestinians from 1948 until the end of 2011, according to what was documented by a study published by the Ministry of Defense. Palestinian prisoners and freed persons.
Legalization of repression
The British Mandate laid the legal and procedural foundations for the oppression of Palestinians and the confiscation of their freedoms, according to the Interactive Encyclopedia of the Palestinian Question, starting with the Crime Prevention Law issued in October 1920, which gave the government the power to detain or impose restrictions on individuals it felt might disturb the peace, and continuing The Collective Liability for Crime Law of 1921, the Prevention of Crime in Tribal Areas and Villages Law of 1924, and the Collective Punishment Law of 1926 established the legal basis for collective punishment in Mandatory Palestine.
The Mandate authorities also passed the “Sedition Offenses” Act in October 1929, and two years later the British government issued the “Defense of Palestine Ordinance” to provide a legal framework for taking decisive action in the event of another “state of emergency,” as the High Commissioner had the authority to seize property and detain individuals, deport them, or try them before military courts and other authorities.
And during The Great Palestinian Revolution 1936-1939 The British authorities again resorted to the Palestine Defense Council Decree, which they also supplemented with orders that gave the civil administration of Palestine powers equivalent to those granted to the army under martial law.
In April 1936, the High Commissioner issued a number of emergency regulations that allowed the Mandatory government to impose curfews, censor written materials, occupy buildings, make arrests without a warrant, and deport individuals without trial.
The occupation came
After the end of the Mandate, these emergency regulations continued to haunt the Palestinians. After the establishment of the occupying state in 1948, the Israeli government incorporated the Emergency Regulations of 1945, along with many of the Mandate laws into Israeli law through the “Law and Administration” Law of 1948.
These regulations were applied to Palestinians who found themselves under Israeli military rule. Likewise, after 1967, the occupying state claimed that the existing law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip included these regulations, and therefore they were available to impose them on Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation.
In this way, the patterns of collective punishment and extended “emergency” powers that the British used to target the Palestinian population remained the basis of the legal system under which Palestinians lived after the end of the Mandate.
Captivity as a strategy
The huge numbers of those who were captured by the Israeli occupation forces indicate that captivity is a general strategy aimed at subjugating the people and forcing them to submit to the occupation, by expanding and deepening the feeling of pain and suffering in parallel with any escalation in acts of resistance.
In a fact sheet issued on April 17, 2019, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club estimated the number of arrests among Palestinians since 1967 at about one million, including more than 17,000 arrests of girls, women, and mothers, and more than 50,000 children.
In his report dated January 28, 2024, he indicated that the total number of arrests after 7 Last October, it reached about 6,330 Palestinians, and this toll includes those who were arrested from homes and through military checkpoints, those who were forced to surrender themselves under pressure, and those who were held hostage.
On the other hand, the number of prisoners in the occupation prisons, according to a club report dated July 16, 2023, was about 5,000, including 32 female prisoners, about 160 children, and 1,132 administrative detainees.
An Amnesty International report on November 9, 2023 documented the testimonies of released detainees and human rights lawyers, as well as video clips and photographs showing some forms of torture and other ill-treatment to which detainees were subjected at the hands of Israeli forces, which include severe beatings and humiliation. Prisoners, including being forced to keep their heads bowed and kneel on the ground while being counted and being forced to sing songs supportive of the occupying state.
These acts of torture fall within the occupation's strategy to break the Palestinian people's will to resist the occupation and raise the physical and psychological cost of resistance on the prisoners and their social environment.
The last prisoner exchange was in October 2011, that is, nearly 13 years before the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, which is a long period for the prisoners who issued statements in recent years demanding that they not be forgotten in the occupation prisons.
It is a mission that the resistance – especially in the Gaza Strip – has given great priority as it is a symbol of the continuity of the Palestinian struggle, as a return of some favor to these prisoners, and to return them to the arena of struggle and resistance again.
Certainly, this reason was not the only reason for the operation Al-Aqsa floodRather, it is included among other goals, such as confronting efforts to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, liquidate the Palestinian cause, and subjugate the Gaza Strip with a permanent siege, as a document published by the Islamic Resistance Movement showed (agitation) regarding the reasons for the operation on January 21, 2024.
Despite the tightening of punitive measures for the prisoners following Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, there is good news that they will soon be released through an exchange deal sought by the occupying state to restore approximately 136 Israeli prisoners in the Gaza Strip.
On January 26, 2024, the Israeli Channel 12 reported that Hamas required the release of 100 Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli prisoner, in addition to the complete withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip, and a truce of between 10-14 days before releasing any Israeli prisoner. There is a two-month cooling-off period between each stage of the deal.
If a deal occurs with numbers close to these numbers, this means the liberation of all prisoners from the occupation prisons, an achievement that has not been achieved for several decades, and decades of peace settlement negotiations have not been able to achieve this or even release those who were captured before the signing of the Oslo Peace Settlement Agreement in 1993. .
Such a step would give a new impetus to the path of resistance, as the prisoners released in the 2011 deal played an essential role in escalating resistance work, and they formed the most influential part of the leadership of the Palestinian resistance during the past decade.
Doubts about the occupation's commitment
On the other hand, the occupation’s commitment to the terms of any deal is questionable, as it re-arrested some of the prisoners released under the “Loyalty of the Free” deal of 2011, and even re-arrested one of the children who was released under the truce and exchange deal at the end of November 2023.
In the event of the continuation of the war or severe escalation in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, the continued freedom of the released prisoners may depend on the occupation’s inability to recapture them or assassinate them, either through political pressure from the guarantors of any exchange deal, which is doubtful about its ability to deter the occupying state. Or by taking measures that increase the cost of recapturing them, such as disappearance or resisting captivity.
In the end, this issue will remain a front of confrontation and conflict as long as the occupation continues. In reality, the occupation has captured an entire people in an open prison, whether through the siege of Gaza or the separation wall and checkpoints in the West Bank.