Palestinian Escapees, and The Israeli Prison Industrial Complex

Photo Courtesy of

Nizar Masri, Staff Writer

On September 6th at 1 a.m.  in northern occupied Palestine, six political prisoners from various factions escaped via a 22-meter tunnel which was created over the course of a year. Their success was short-lived. Four were captured as the result of tips from Israeli citizens. And the other two, Ayham Nayef Kamamji, and Monadel Yacoub Nafe’at, fearing the safety of their harbourers, gave themselves up on September 19th.

Nafe’at, the youngest of the group, was held for two years under administrative detention with no trial. The other five adopted a John Brown style doctrine in resisting and undermining occupation and repression. The most senior of the group,  commander of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Jenin is widely believed to have orchestrated the escape.

While they were eventually recaptured after a two weeklong manhunt, Palestineans view the escape as inspiring. For many Palestineans, especially youth who have lived under an occupation which presents itself as invincible, the escape was a bold testimony of the opposite.

“When they were rearrested, my family and I were all depressed, but at the end of the day, what they did is proof that liberation is assured, and hopefully they will get out in an exchange deal.” Said Reem Shehadeh, 20-year-old Palestinean student to Al Jazeera.

There are currently 4,650 Palestinean political prisoners held in Israeli prisons, 520 are administrative detainees held without charge or trial. 200 are child prisoners, 544 are serving life sentences and 499 are serving longer than 20 years.

The Israeli prison system is one of the most cruel and inefficient in the world, detainees are made to sign confessions and agreements in a language they don’t understand and remain in jail for years before a trial. The Israeli prison system is the most effective and brutal arm of the occupation, meant to break the will of the Palestinians who remain in the occupied territories.