Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners launch mass hunger strike

Apr 18, 2017, 02:00
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners launch mass hunger strike

The inmates' demands, issued by the incarcerated Fatah leader, include the installation of public telephones and television, restoration of bimonthly visits and academic studies, as well as an easing of visit conditions and duration.

More than a thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched a hunger strike Monday, demanding better living and medical conditions for approximately 6,500 prisoners. The strike is expected to expand to 2,000 prisoners Monday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

More than 1,300 Palestinian prisons have joined in the hunger strike.

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Israel is holding captive at least 6500 Palestinians, including 300 children, 19 mothers, and 500 who are held under Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial. Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of global law.

"Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance", he wrote. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions.

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The op-ed, titled "Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel's Prisons", was penned by Marwan Barghouti and appeared both online and in the print edition of the International New York Times.

According to Barghouti, the hunger strike is meant to end these alleged abuses by Israel. This is in addition to medical negligence, denial of visits and other methods of torture. "Some have been killed while in detention", he wrote.

Israeli troops and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 but started a naval blockade after Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

Barghouti has remained politically active from behind bars, and is often touted as one of a few likely successors to the 82-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The strike is a decision of the prisoners".

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Israel, the occupying power, has violated worldwide law in multiple ways for almost 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions. Palestinian People's Party leader Khandaqji said, as cited by Maan news. Unsurprisingly, Barghouti makes no reference to his role in organizing the second intifada, in which Palestinian militants killed nearly 1,000 Israeli citizens despite the generous peace deal offered to Yasser Arafat.

Palestinians consider those held in Israeli jails as national heroes.

A series of protests were also held in Palestinian cities in connection with Prisoners Day, including one in Bethlehem that led to clashes with Israeli forces.

In Fatah's most recent conference, held in November, Barghouti was elected to the Fatah Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, pulling in more votes than any other candidate.

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