On Monday September 6, 2021, six Palestinian political prisoners who were jailed by the settler-colonial Israeli occupation, liberated themselves from their unlawful detention. Mahmoud Ardah, Mohammed Ardah, Zakaria Zubaida, Ayham Kamamji, Yaqqub Qadr and Munadil Naf’at broke free from the clutches of the apartheid prison via a tunnel dug below Gilboa prison, where they were illegitimately confined.
In response to the escapes, Israel has launched a series of retaliatory measures and collective punishment against Palestinian political prisoners and their family members. This includes: arbitrarily assaulting incarcerated Palestinians, withholding meals, ransacking prison cells with attack dogs, and kidnapping and detaining relatives of the Gilboa Six. The Israeli Occupation Forces — emboldened by the Biden regime’s affirmation of Israel’s May 2021 ethnic cleansing that left 256 Palestinians dead and 72,000 displaced — have set up over 200 roadblocks across the West Bank, sweeping towns with “two battalions, six companies, two recon teams, a number of special forces squads and aerial surveillance teams”, in search of the Gilboa Six and family members.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Prisons Service has forced many incarcerated Palestinians into solitary confinement and banned family visits to prisoners.
More than 2,000 incarcerated Palestinians are slated to begin a hunger strike tomorrow, Saturday September 11th, in response to the occupation’s ongoing collective punishment of incarcerated Palestinians and their families. (Collective punishment is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.)
Palestinians across the occupied-West Bank, besieged-Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem have taken to the streets in support of the Palestinian prisoner uprising and the Gilboa Six — who are still on the lam some four days after their historic escape.