Israeli Shin Bet security service is encouraging Prime Minister Netanyahu not to negotiate with hunger-striking Palestinian administrative detainees, according to Israeli media.
Israeli daily Haaretz stated that Netanyahu’s decision not to negotiate with prisoners refusing meals, in addition to his recent push for a bill allowing the Israeli Prison Service to force-feed those on hunger strike, is based on a recommendation by the Shin Bet, Ma’an News Agency has reported.
The paper cited sources close to Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen as saying that he believes the negotiations with Palestinian hunger strikers in 2012 was a mistake, and that such negotiations should not be repeated.
However, according to Haaretz, Cohen fears that should any hunger strikers die, mass protests would break out in the West Bank and rockets would be fired from Gaza.
Under the previous agreement, 2,000 Palestinian prisoners ended their hunger strike with a promise by Israel to end the policy itself but, as of March 1, 183 Palestinians were still being held under administrative detention.
About 5,000 Palestinians are now currently being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention.
Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians, including children.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.