Israel’s national security minister has ordered the closure of Palestinian prisoner-run bakeries in the country’s jails.
Itamar Ben-Gvir’s office said in a statement that the move was aimed at denying “benefits and indulgences to terrorists” in Israel, which it said were denied to regular prisoners.
Palestinian prisoners in Rimon and Ketziot security prisons operate in-house bakeries which provide bread to other inmates.
Speaking to Israel Hayom, Ben-Gvir said he “went crazy” after learning of the existence of the bakeries.
“Prisoners cannot get such a privilege. How can they get fresh bread every day? What is this absurdity,” he was quoted as saying.
The move was criticised as vindictive by rights groups and the Palestinian Authority.
Muhammad Shehada, heads of communications at Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, tweeted that the move was “small minded”.
“Does he get a kick out of being redundantly cruel?”
The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs also condemned the “extremist” Ben-Gvir’s decision in a statement, describing it as “terrorist aggression” against the prisoners.
Since taking the role last year, Ben-Gvir – head of the far-right Jewish Power party – has provoked controversy both in Israel and internationally for pushing for hardlined reforms to the judiciary and security.
Within the first week of the new government’s formation, he announced his plans to implement several punitive measures against incarcerated Palestinians. (MEE)