Hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel launch hunger strike

Apr 18, 2017, 01:27
Hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel launch hunger strike

No injuries or damage were immediately reported as a result of the demonstrations.

Palestinian prisoners and detainees are staging a mass open-ended hunger strike to protest their conditions in Israeli prisons.

Some organizations have reportedly voiced their support for the strike, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF), the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), and a number of Hamas prisoners.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) said that 1,187 prisoners were refusing food as of Monday. Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences for murder for his role in the deadly uprising of the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s.

Top Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called on the worldwide community to bring an end to the "inhumane" treatment of Palestinian prisoners, which she said was in violation of the Geneva Convention. The hunger strike was expected to expand Monday to over 2,000 participants.

It also stated that "in accordance with the policy set by the minister of public security, the Prison Service does not negotiate with the prisoners".

The strike is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah movement who is seen as a potential successor to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian prisoners have launched one of the biggest hunger strikes in recent years in a protest against prison conditions.

Since 1967, more than 50 Palestinian prisoners have died due to medical negligence inside Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The strike comes in the wake of reports of increases in torture and other human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of Israeli authorities.

He called his own sentencing a result of "a political show trial".

Abbas made no mention of Barghouti in his statement on WAFA. The global community, it insisted, should bear its "legal and ethical responsibilities" to oblige Israel to respect worldwide law by dealing with the Palestinians it is holding as prisoners of war.

The hunger strike is a way of "bringing prisoners closer to their basic rights and demands and preventing the occupation from harming the dignity of the Palestinian prisoners", he said in a statement.

Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners occur regularly, but rarely on such a large scale. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, as well as Hamas leaders in Gaza, have announced their backing.

Throughout the op-ed, Barghouti only vaguely alludes to the reason he is in prison.

"Israel is holding prisoners within its territory, breaching the rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

Strikers have also said they want access to more television channels and compassionate release for disabled prisoners or those sufferings from chronic illnesses.

Of the 6,500 Palestinian detainees, 62 are women and 300 are minors. Some 500 are held under administrative detention.

Others are detained under so-called Administrative Detention, which allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals.

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