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Palestinian protests in Ramon Prison set to spread

Palestinian prisoners have staged protests in Ramon Prison in Israel, and during March protests are expected to expand to other prisoners and the broader Palestinian community.
MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL - OCTOBER 16: (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli Prison Service bus carrying Palestinians prisoners leaves Nafha prison on October 16, 2011. in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is to be freed from 5 years of captivity in Gaza in an exchange deal which will see the release of 477 Palestinian prisoners in an initial deal with another 550 to freed after the return of Shalit.  (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Throughout history, liberation struggles have been waged inside prisons as much as outside them. When a national struggle stagnates, it is often the prisoners who remind the rest of the nation of the purpose and goals of their fight. February 2015 has proven to be an especially difficult month for Palestinians held in Israeli jails, in Ramon Prison in particular. Unlike other detention facilities, which have long descriptions and photos on the official Israel Prison Service website, Ramon Prison, located in the Negev Desert, only has a short description on its web page: “This prison is located on Ramon Mountain, right next to Nafha Prison. It was established in 2006 to keep security prisoners in custody.” The security prisoners, that is, the 920 Palestinians being held there, are on the verge of initiating a major protest likely to spread throughout the prison system.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a nongovernmental organization focusing on the situation of Palestinian inmates, during the second half of February, Ramon experienced a sharp increase in tensions after the transfer of four prison leaders — Zeid Buseis, Ahed Abu Ghelmeh, Mohammed Muali and Jamal Abu al-Hijia — and other actions intended to forestall expected protests demanding an end to solitary confinement and administrative detentions.

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