And the longest hunger strike continues
Shops throughout the West Bank (here in Ramallah?) were closed on Sunday June 8th as a gesture of solidarity with the hunger-strikers. No photographer’s credit.
June 19, 2014
Palestinian administrative prisoners being held in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strike for the 56th day which has led to “deteriorating health conditions and threatens their lives”, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said yesterday.
The Director of the Club Abdul Aal Al-Anani said yesterday: “The administrative prisoners’ hunger strike has entered its 56th day, while the administrative detainee, Ayman Tabeish has been on a hunger strike for 111 days.”
Al-Anani told Al Ghad newspaper that “there are serious implications for the health status of prisoners on hunger strike, where 80 prisoners were transferred to eight Israeli hospitals, 20 of them have been referred to intensive care.”
He pointed out that “this indicates the sharp deterioration in their health, where the majority of them suffer from a sharp decrease in weight, muscle weakness and constant dizziness, resulted in several cases of loss of consciousness.
According to the prisoner rights advocacy group Addammeer, Israel is holding some of the hunger strikers in solitary confinement while others have been hospitalised in Israeli civil hospitals in which they are shackled to their beds 24 hours a day. All photos – and more – by Rich Wiles from Al Jazeera article below.
“The striking prisoners consume only water and salt to protest violations of their rights, where their hands and feet are handcuffed to their hospital beds from 8am until 8pm.”
Al-Anani said: “The occupation forces have not shown any step towards searching for solutions, instead it arrested 300 new prisoners since last Thursday, including 51 prisoners who were freed under the Shalit prisoners exchange deal.”
In 2011 Hamas reached, through an Egyptian and German mediator, a deal with Israel which stipulates the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for the release of the Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured in 2006.
Al-Anani noted that “the occupation forces arrested 22 members of parliament in the Palestinian Legislative Council while the majority of detainees were transferred to administrative detention which demonstrates its quest to enshrine administrative detention instead of searching for solutions to respond to the hunger striking prisoners’ fair demands.”
Hunger Strike: Demonstration Against Prisoner Force-Feeding Bill
New bill aims to deprive 1948-territory Palestinians of insurance
By Chris Carlson, IMEMC
June 16, 2014
Dozens of international, Israeli and Palestinian activists and doctors held a demonstration outside the Knesset building, in west Jerusalem, on Monday, in protest of the new bill which promotes force-feeding of hunger-striking Palestinian detainees.
Hebrew and Arabic banners were raised which read, “Water and Salt” and “force-feeding prisoners is torture”, in a call by protesters for an end of Israeli violations of human rights and international conventions.
According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, Physicians for Human Rights Spokeswomen Amani Da‘if said: “This demonstration is staged as the Knesset holds a session to discuss approving a bill for force-feed hunger-striking prisoners in order to end their hunger strike.”
She described the pertaining Knesset sessions as a ‘marathon’, as the Knesset has made a top priority of the bill in its desire to obtain a second and third reading as soon as possible.
Members of Haifa youth movement were also present for the demonstration, where they waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in support of prisoners who have been on hunger strike for nearly two months.
Also in Israeli legislation, up for its first reading in parliament is a bill which aims to deprive Palestinians from 1948 territories of national insurance benefits, should they be released before the end of their sentences.
Approved by the Knesset Labor Committee, the bill was put forward by members from the ruling coalition, while being was opposed by Arab Knesset members, including Hanin Zoabi.
The bill will be presented next Monday for second and third readings, according to WAFA.
Israel extends administrative detentions despite hunger strike
By Ma’an news
June 16, 2014
RAMALLAH — Israeli courts extended the administrative detention of five Palestinians as over 125 prisoners in Israeli jails entered a 53rd day of hunger strike in protest against their indefinite detention without trial Sunday, a statement said.
Fuad al-Khuffash, directer of Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights, said in a statement that Israeli courts recently extended the administrative detention of Muhammad Abu Mariya, Murad Malaysha, Muhammad Aqili, Qudsi Shihab, and Muhab al-Jundi.
Since the hunger strike began, Israeli courts have extended the detention of over 30 prisoners, the statement said.
Hunger strikers are demanding Israel end its policy of administrative detention, by which prisoners can be held in custody without charge or trial indefinitely.
UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon has called on Israel to either charge or release Palestinian hunger strikers “without delay.”
East Jerusalem shuts down in solidarity with Palestinian hunger-strikers
Demonstration planned outside local Red Cross headquarters.
June 12, 2014
Arab shopkeepers in Jerusalem’s Old City and elsewhere in East Jerusalem shut down Thursday in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, who are protesting Israel’s widespread use of imprisonment without charges, Al Jazeera reported.
The move follows similar actions in West Bank cities in support of the hunger strikers. A demonstration outside the Red Cross headquarters in East Jerusalem was planned for Thursday evening.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking him to pressure Israel into ending its practice of administrative detention.
“We call on you to call on Israel to annul the policy of administrative detention and to condition deepening your bilateral ties with Israel pending Israel’s fulfilment of all its obligations,” Erekat wrote in English. The UN leader recently said Israel should either try the administrative detainees – who account for some 200 out of the 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails – or release them.
Erekat said about 400 prisoners were on strike, including some 130 who have refused food for six weeks. The Israel Prisons Service, however, put the number of strikers at 250, with 80 of them hospitalized. It added that this was the longest mass hunger-strike by Palestinian prisoners ever.
The government is taking a hard line against the protest, refusing to meet their demand to do away with administrative detention, while the Health Ministry is refusing to let private doctors visit the prisoners.
The Knesset last week gave preliminary approval to a law allowing the state to force-feed prisoners, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noting that America uses the tactic against prisoners in Guantanamo.
Force-feeding is considered torture and forbidden by the Israel Medical Association’s code of ethics and various international resolutions. Doctors who force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, even if protected by Israeli law, could be successfully prosecuted abroad, the Israel Medical Association chairman told Haaretz.
“Doctors who do that are liable to be denounced by the global medical community, and it will be hard to defend them if they are prosecuted,” said Dr. Leonid Edelman.
The Ramallah offices of the ICRC were closed down by youth activists early in the morning on May 28 amid calls of ‘Do Your Job or Leave.’ The ICRC staff was refused entry to its offices by activists and doors were taped shut.
In Pictures: Palestinians hungry for freedom
Activists support ongoing hunger strike by prisoners in Israeli jails, now the longest strike in Palestinian history.
By Rich Wiles, Al Jazeera
June 16, 2014
The ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian detainees entered its 46th day on June 8 and became the longest running collective hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners. The strike started in April by prisoners being held under Israel’s system of Administrative Detention.
Administrative Detention is Israel’s policy of holding Palestinian detainees without charge or access to legal defence for indefinitely renewable periods of up to 6 months.
Since the hunger strike began, it has spread widely among Palestinian detainees across various prisons where they are held.
Activists prepared a list of demands calling for the defence of prisoners’ rights which was handed to ICRC staff and later at the UN offices in Ramallah, to the UN staff. Activists have promised to step up these actions unless the hunger strikers’ demands are met.Photo by Rich Wiles
Few issues hold greater sway in the Palestinian street than the prisoners’ case; and solidarity actions that began when the strike broke out are intensifying across the 1967 occupied lands as well as among Palestinian citizens of Israel. These include protests, political public art performances and solidarity tents.
Day 46 of the hunger strike was marked with a national strike across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ramallah’s bustling city centre was brought to an economic standstill as all shops were closed down for the day. It was followed on June 9 with three simultaneous demonstrations which converged on Yasser Arafat Square for a large rally.
Israel is currently attempting to pass legislation through the Knesset in order to begin force feeding hunger strikers despite firm rejection by the Israel Medical Association. In its declaration on hunger strikers, the World Medical Association has also firmly stated: ‘Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable.’