(Communicated by the Prisons Service Spokesman)

Israel Prison Service (IPS) Commissioner Yaakov Ganot said this morning (Sunday), 15 August 2004, “I will view the cessation and cancellation of the hunger strike as a success, but not at the price of demands to continue hostile terrorist action or to control the prisons.”

This morning, terrorist security prisoners began violating prison discipline by refusing food and/or prison meals.  Currently, Nafha and Eshel prisons in the south, and Hadarim prison in the Sharon area, are participating in the strike.

The IPS received official notification of the strike, and took immediate action by revoking privileges such as the right to take electrical equipment out of their prison cells, distributing canteen products such as cigarettes, and sweets and other food items.  In addition, family visits will not be allowed.

IPS Commissioner Ganot evaluated the situation this morning and instructed that a number of actions be taken in order to assure that no irregular events occur in the prisons and that no IPS officers are injured.  The IPS medical branch has been placed on high alert, and nearby hospitals have been briefed on various possible consequences.

Today, there are 3,800 terrorists and security prisoners in 20 prisons around the country.  The prisoners’ demand that they should be allowed to continue to plan and direct terror attacks from inside IPS facilities is unacceptable and contravenes all existing security rules.  Over the years, the prisoners have been awarded a number of privileges, which are not defined by law, including access to television (including several channels from Arab countries), radio, newspapers, university education, additional special food (spices, types of meat, canteen goods), electronic games etc.

The IPS is engaged in continuous dialogue with the terrorists in order to maintain discipline within the prisons.