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Inside/Outside Carceral Citizenships: Post-second Intifada Mobilizations and Politics

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A History of Confinement in Palestine: The Prison Web


This chapter discusses how the detainees confronted Palestinian political fragmentation following the division between two competing authorities, one governed by Fatah in the West Bank and the other by Hamas in Gaza. It deals with the extension of the prison domain with the political incarceration of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, mainly from the split between these two entities: how the existence and functioning of these two prison systems intervene in Palestinian internal politics. As a political and consensual resource, the Prisoners’ Movement and the sacred cause of prisoners have been ferments of unity. However, this shared cause has gradually become the object of power struggles in order to represent it: it has induced a slow process of factionalization. This chapter shows how the hunger strikes that have long constituted ways to improve daily living conditions Inside and political tests vis-à-vis the Israeli prison administration have also become political tests within the national movement itself.

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  1. 1.

    Firas, Umm al-Fahm, July 27, 2015.

  2. 2.

    It also aligned with the 2002 Saudi proposal (Abdullah Plan), which offered recognition of Israel by all Arab League nations in exchange for the establishment of a state on the 1967 borders and a just settlement of the refugee question.

  3. 3.

    “Marwan Barghouti écrit à Shalom Arshav. ‘Les Palestiniens sont prêts à un compromis historique’ 8 avril 2008” (Barghouti 2009b).

  4. 4.

    Based outside Palestine, unlike the OT leadership.

  5. 5.

    Consisting of eighteen elected members, it is the executive body of the party, while the Revolutionary Council has eighty members.

  6. 6.

    “Adresse au 6ème congrès du Fatah 4 août 2009” (Barghouti 2009c).

  7. 7.


  8. 8.


  9. 9.

    In March 2022, he again would win against Ismail Haniyeh with 59% of the vote according to the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey, All websites included in this chapter have been verified in July 2022.

  10. 10.

    Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey,

  11. 11.

    “Tribune en mémoire de Yasser Arafat dix ans après sa mort (en arabe)” (Barghouti 2014); “Entretien avec des journalistes à l’occasion du 13ème anniversaire de son arrestation, 16 avril 2015” (Barghouti 2009d).

  12. 12.

    “Entretien avec des journalistes…”, op. cit.

  13. 13.

    “Réponses à Reuters transmises à travers le Nadi al-Asir, 18 septembre 2014” (Barghouti 2009e).

  14. 14.

    The other dissident Fatah list was supported by Mohammed Dahlan.

  15. 15.

    Ramallah, May 26, 2016.

  16. 16.

    Ramallah, December 5, 2013.

  17. 17.

    The EU mission to support the police in the Palestinian Occupied Territories set up in 2005, notably assisting the construction and renovation of Correctional and Rehabilitation Centres and the training of their staff.


  18. 18.

    Established in 2007 by Hamas, it depends on the Ministry of Interior.

  19. 19.

    The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Ramallah, May 16, 2016.

  20. 20.

    The Revolutionary Penal Code and the PLO Criminal Procedures Law of 1979.

  21. 21.

    In addition to criminal armed gangs.

  22. 22.

    Nablus, July 8, 2012.

  23. 23.

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    According to lawyers from the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Ramallah, October 20, 2016.

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    October 26, 2016.

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    UNHCHR, Ramallah, October 24, 2016.

  27. 27.

    According to figures provided to Human Rights Watch by the NGO al-Haq (2018).

  28. 28.

    Ramallah, November 22, 2016.

  29. 29.

    For example, prison visits and the work of the Independent Commission for Human Rights interrupted by Hamas in Gaza between 2008 and 2012 were restored.

  30. 30.

    Among the 2,000 common law prisoners at that time. Independent Commission for Human Rights, Gaza City, February 16, 2016.

  31. 31.

    In 2015, a first-grade police officer was paid 100 shekels every three months only.

  32. 32.

    Gaza City, July 13, 2015.

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    Gaza City, February 17, 2016.

  34. 34.

    Mahmoud al-Madhoun, Gaza City, 17/02/2016.

  35. 35.

    According to local NGO heads, February 2016.

  36. 36.

    Figures from the Gaza Ministry of the Interior (Human Rights Watch 2018).

  37. 37.

    While former PA civil servants—30,000 belonging to the Security Services and 30,000 others—have been paid since 2007 to stay at home, those currently employed by the prison services receive only 30 to 40 percent of their salaries, depending on the fluctuating means of the Hamas government. The payment of all civil servants by the Sulta is the subject of reconciliation negotiations: about 40,000 of them are waiting for this to be taken over by Ramallah. The Gaza prison service is under the authority of the police and therefore of the Ministry of the Interior. The prison system’s reintegration into a joint Ministry of the Interior is one of the most difficult issues to resolve, along with everything related to security and the military.

  38. 38.

    It concerned eleven people in 2012 and at least twenty-three in 2014.

  39. 39.

    Firas, Umm al-Fahm, July 27, 2015.

  40. 40.

    The military wing of Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees (an armed entity that has nothing to do with the non-violent popular resistance in the West Bank) and Mumtaz Duqmush's Army of Islam.

  41. 41.

    Ramallah, December 5, 2013.

  42. 42.

    The amounts allocated in 2010 for university courses were 1.8 million shekels—about 555,000 dollars—and 1.5 million for vocational training, about 461,000 dollars (the Ministry of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs budget division 2010).

  43. 43.

    There were about 5,000 at that time.

  44. 44.

    Around the leaders Saleh Nimr, Abu Moussa, and Abu Khaled al-Omla.

  45. 45.

    Ramallah, November 6, 2018.

  46. 46.

    Less than ten remained incarcerated.

  47. 47.

    Twenty were freed beforehand in exchange for a videotape showing Gilad Shalit alive in October 2009.

  48. 48.

    307 out of 477.

  49. 49.

    East Jerusalem, May 8, 2015.

  50. 50.

    AFP Afrique, “Prisonniers palestiniens: Israël bloque des millions de dollars pour Ramallah”, February 17, 2019.

  51. 51.

    Jerusalem, May 28, 2015.

  52. 52.

    A proportional election voting system was also required in lieu of the obsolete quota system for party representation. It was, however, renewed in spring 2018 without any structural reform.

  53. 53.

    Notably Mahmoud Sarsak, a Palestinian football star from Gaza who was detained as an illegal enemy combatant.

  54. 54.

    Statement n° 8: Statement of Victory by the Strike Leadership, May 16, 2012.

  55. 55.

    Without a written version that constitutes a mobilizable legal instrument, it is not really binding.

  56. 56.

    That are not promoted because they reduce the effects of collective strikes by fragmenting mobilizations, but also because of their excessive length. They are carried out with recourse to vitamins and some adjuvants that prolong the body’s resistance.

  57. 57.

    More than half had been there for more than six months.

  58. 58.

    Since June 2022, he is the head of the prison branch of the FPLP.

  59. 59.

    Marwan Barghouti, “Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons?,” The New York Times, April 16, 2017.

  60. 60.

    Notably by some MPs.

  61. 61.

    Prime Minister between June 2021 and July 2022.

  62. 62.

    “Qassam Brigades give Israel 24 hours to meet prisoners' demands (in Arabic)”, Al-Ayyam, May 3, 2017.

  63. 63.

    They criticized them for representing only a handful of Palestinians and a globalized educated elite, for focusing on overly localized demands, for being ineffective, for addressing only international opinion, and even for promoting normalization through activism with Israelis. The parties in favor of armed struggle challenged their pacifism.

  64. 64.

    Fares 2015.

  65. 65.

    Qaddura Fares, Ramallah, May 26, 2016.

  66. 66.

    Samidoun, May 15, 2017.

  67. 67.

    Sama News, “Fadwa Barghouti: Members of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority are trying to derail the prisoners’ strike (in Arabic)”, May 18, 2017,


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Correspondence to Stéphanie Latte Abdallah .

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Abdallah, S.L. (2022). Inside/Outside Carceral Citizenships: Post-second Intifada Mobilizations and Politics. In: A History of Confinement in Palestine: The Prison Web. The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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