A report published Monday by Israeli daily Haaretz said that it was discovered recently, during a trial in an Israeli military court, that Palestinian prisoners had obtained mobile phones to contact their families and speak with detainees in other jails.
The case started a year earlier, according to Haaretz, after phone store owner Nadir Salah was arrested in al-Khader village near Bethlehem, and said that he had bought phone lines from Cellcom and sold them after registering them in his name.
He sold the lines to a third party and paid the bill each month, but in 2008 noticed that the bills on three of the lines were noticeably high and decided to close the lines.
Shortly afterwards, he began receiving calls from Palestinian prisoners asking him to reopen the lines, and decided to capitalize on the arrangement.
He said he met with PA prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe and the pair organized a contract which involved Salah selling access to 50 phone lines to the PA Ministry of Prisoners for 1,850 shekels ($500) per month, of which Salah kept 25 percent.
Salah said that as phones were confiscated by Israeli prison services, the PA would ask him for more lines, which he provided.
Issa Qaraqe said the claims were hypothetical and false.
“It is part of Israeli incitement against Palestinian prisoners. The claims are baseless,” he told Ma’an.