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Ketziot Prison. 'Canned food not the only issue'
Photo: Tamar Dressler
Security prisoners get canned food for Ramadan
Palestinians say that unlike past years, Israel Prison Service preventing them from cooking fast-breaking food, forcing them to settle for canned food. 'We're trying to feel the holiday, but it's not like home,' they say. Gaza residents dine to candle light due to power cuts, fuel shortage

With recent demands calling for a tougher policy against security prisoners, it appears they found ample reasons to become bitter, this time in the spirit of Ramadan. Palestinian inmates held in Israel have been complaining in recent days of the fact that unlike previous years their fast breaking meals do not include cooked food and instead they are eating from cans.

 

The Muslim world is currently marking the month of Ramadan in which believers fast from morning to evening and gather for hardy meals after sunset. However, it seems not everyone is enjoying special dishes this time around.

  

"This Ramadan we eat canned food instead of cooked food," a security prisoner told Ynet. Prisoners said the new menu is different from the one they had in past years and that the deterioration in their conditions is mainly attributed to the Israel Prison Service taking over the penitentiaries from the hands of the army.

 

"In previous years we could still somehow enjoy the food, the army would allow bringing in certain types of food we could cook but since the IPS took charge it has stopped and most of our meals are based on canned tins from the canteen," one inmate from Ketziot Prison said.

 

He further added that he and the other prisoners are making great efforts in maintaining the holiday atmosphere: "We sit in the wing in groups of 10 and eat together in order to feel the Ramadan, but it's not like at home and not just because of the canned food."

 

Prisoners complained that the IPS administration has substantially increased control and searches, and claimed that this constitutes a violation of previous agreements between themselves and the jails' administrations. They also added that the IPS increased physical checks and room raids, including those of the women.

 

The IPS stated in response that meals are made according to a fixed menu and cooked shortly before service.

 

Gas crisis in Gaza

But not only prison inmates are enjoying a less than festive Ramadan – Gaza residents too are encountering difficulties. Hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents are forced to eat their traditional diner in candle light.

 

Residents said that the small amount of petrol brought into the Strip is forcing electricity companies to cut the current more often, thus causing each region to endure three to four power cuts per week. Each such power cut lasts eight hours.

 

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip claimed that Israeli Defense Forces are unwilling increase the amount of gas brought into the Strip and that later in the Ramadan power shortages may occur more often. This, due to increased use of domestic electric devices during the month, in particular kitchen appliances.

 

Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to this report

 

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