Occupied Palestine: The Gilboa Prison Break and the Heroic Resistance of Jenin

Unite in the struggle to fight and defeat the Zionist enemy!

By Yossi Schwartz, International Socialist League (Section of the RCIT in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 08.09.2021, http://the-isleague.com/

There is speculation that the six Palestinian political prisoners that escaped the Gilboa prison are in Jenin. This article tells the story of Jenin’s refugee camp in the framework of the new intifada.

As a result of the ethnic cleansing of 1947-48 by the Zionists in their drive to establish a large state with a Jewish majority, around 900,000 Palestinians became refugees. There are 58 Palestine refugee camps located in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank. The camps were first established as temporary tented cities for Palestine refugees. There are 19 Palestine refugee camps throughout the West Bank. Around 200,000 refugees live in these camps (almost a quarter of the total registered persons with UNRWA).

In these camps from 2,500 to 30,000 people live in overcrowding, poor infrastructure, high levels of unemployment, food insecurity, raids by the Zionist soldiers, and by the PA “security forces” that collaborate with the Zionist state. These are the camps in the West Bank: Aida Camp, Am’ari camp, Aqbat Jabr Camp, Arroub Camp, Askar Camp, Balata Camp, Beit Jibrin Camp, Camp No. 1 Camp Deir ‘Ammar Camp, Dheisheh Camp. Ein el-Sultan Camp, Far’a Camp, Fawwar Camp, Jalazone Camp, Jenin Camp, Kalandia Camp. Nur Shams Camp, Shu’fat Camp, Tulkarm Camp.

Jenin camp is the northern part of the West Bank. It was established in 1953 after the original camp in the area that was established in 1948, was destroyed in a snowstorm. Jenin camp was very central in the second intifada. In 2002, the Zionist military occupied the camp after ten days of intensive fighting. The Zionist army destroyed more than 400 houses, damaged hundreds more, and displacing more than a quarter of the camp’s population. We will never know how many Palestinians were massacred in Jenin in 2002.

According to Yvonne Ridley, a journalist of the Middle East Monitor who managed to enter the refugees camp shortly after the massacre: “In mid-April 2002, the “Israel Defence Forces” (IDF) scrambled to hide one of its biggest war crimes of this century in the occupied West Bank: Israeli soldiers killed at least 52 Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. Having completed their killing spree between 1 and 11 April at the height of the Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada, IDF troops would have left but for one thing: how could they cover up the killing of 52 people and hide the evidence of a massacre? Those in charge of so-called Operation Defensive Shield decided to enforce a siege so tight that no one, despite global protests, could get past Israel’s ring of steel; it was a total lockdown. It lasted for weeks while the Israeli government did its best to keep journalists and human rights observers away from the Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Speaking from — ironically — the King David Hotel in Jerusalem where Zionist terrorists had planted a bomb and killed 91 people in 1946, said that he saw “no evidence” of a massacre. By 23 April Powell was back in Washington briefing senators: “Right now, I’ve seen no evidence of mass graves and I’ve seen no evidence that would suggest a massacre took place.” He wasn’t lying, of course, because he never went to Jenin, so could not have “seen” the evidence even if he had wanted to…. The Prime Minister of Israel at the time was Ariel Sharon who, as Minister of Defence, had “personal responsibility” for the IDF’s complicity in the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in 1982. He told the world that “only” terrorists had died in Jenin, but I saw the bodies of the dead being pulled from the rubble, including children, women, and a man in a wheelchair; they were no reasonable person’s idea of “terrorists”. In their bid to cover up the massacre, the Israelis buried many of the bodies under buildings demolished by a bulldozer; some were still alive when the bulldozer moved in.” [1]

Mohammed Bakri, a prominent Palestinian actor citizen of Israel produced a movie on the massacre by the name “Jenin Jenin” which is testimonies indicating that a massacre had indeed occurred. Bakri gave voice to the perspective of Palestinians which would not reach the media due to the sealing of the city by the Zionist murderers. After a few screenings, the film was banned by the Israeli Film Ratings Board on the ground that it was libelous and might offend the public. In November 2016, Israeli army reserve officer Nissim Magnagi sued Bakri for defamation. While the previous defamation suit had been dismissed on account of the plaintiffs not being specifically identified in the film, Magnagi was found to have had a legal basis for a defamation suit as he had appeared in the film. In January 2021, the court accepted Magnagi’s defamation claim and restored the ban on the film. Bakri was ordered to pay NIS 175,000 in compensation to Magnagi as well as NIS 50,000 in legal expenses. [2]

The Jewish Bible tells us of the story of King Achav who killed Navot and took his vineyard as well. On this mortal sin, the bible says: “Have You Murdered And Also Inherited?!” [3]

The escape of the six political prisoners from the Zionist jail (Gilboa) and the failure of the Zionist oppressive army is encouraging the resistance of the Palestinians.

A solidarity event has been called to take place in the center of Ramallah to “support the prisoners” who have escaped from Gilboa Prison, according to a report from (the Zionist daily) Maariv. There are also planned marches and rallies taking place across the West Bank, including in Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem, the Safa Press Agency reported, as well as in Gaza. Palestinian factions have been calling on people to stand against IDF troops deployed at the prisons in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Information Center. Loudspeakers in a large number of West Bank mosques call for people to take to the streets to participate in marches in support of prisoners after sunset prayers, and to head towards Israeli checkpoints and seam points to confront the occupation.” [4]

In Jenin, the refugee camp is ready to defend the prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi whose family is in Jenin where his mother and brother were murdered by the Zionist brutes.

If Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the six security prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison, returns to the Jenin Refugee Camp, Israel will never be able to capture him, masked gunmen and political activists said on Tuesday. “If Zakaria returns to his home in the camp, everyone here will protect him,” his uncle, Jamal, said as three masked gunmen belonging to the camp’s “monitor unit” set up a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance to the Jenin Refugee Camp. “The camp is the safest place for Zakaria to be in,” he added. “Look how many people are on the streets to stop the Israeli army from entering the camp.” [5]

Thus. it seems that a full new intifada is ready to break out. The Zionists have now two options: to admit a failure in catching the escaped political prisoners which will encourage the uprising or face a battle in various places in the West Bank and Gaza. Any way they choose they have lost the immediate battle.

At the same time, the political prisoners in other prisons are rebelling:”Prisoners at Ketziot set fire to cells after attempts to move PIJ members between facilities; unrest reported at other facilities; new restrictions come after Monday’s jailbreak” [6]

We of the RCIT fully support unconditionally the Palestinians fighting for their liberation!

Down with the Zionist apartheid!

For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!

Free all Palestinian political prisoners!

Destroy the fence in Gaza – break the siege!


[1] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200414-we-must-never-forget-israels-massacre-in-jenin/

[2] “Court bans screening of the documentary ‘Jenin Jenin’ in Israel”, ynetnews.com, January 11, 2021

[3] The book of Kings A 21.

[4] https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/security-prisoner-leadership-holds-event-to-support-prisoners-in-ramallah-678959

[5] https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/jenin-camp-braces-for-defending-gilboa-prison-fugitive-678950

[6] https://www.timesofisrael.com/security-prisoners-riot-at-jails-as-terror-groups-protest-new-curbs-on-inmates

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