Hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel launch hunger strike

Posted April 18, 2017

Opinion polls suggest Barghouti, who is serving multiple life terms for his role in a violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, is the top contender to succeed Abbas.

According to the human rights and prisoner advocacy organization Addameer, which is urging global solidarity with the detainees, "the hunger striking prisoners' demands include: family visits, proper medical care, end to Israel's practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention, and stopping the use of isolation".

"After consultations with prisoners of various factions, PPP-affiliated prisoners made a decision to join the battle for freedom and dignity on April 17, which coincides with Palestinian Prisoner's Day".

Israel moved swiftly to try to foil a mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strike, transferring the leader Marwan Barghouti to a different prison and putting him in solitary confinement. 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. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners.

Mr Barghouti has spent more than a decade in prison.

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Barghouti began to call for a strike after talks between prisoners' representatives and the Israel Prison Service on improving prison conditions reached an impasse. One of the immediate circumstances of this violation is a perpetual difficulty with family visits to the prison.

The umbrella body highlighted the deteriorating situation of those Palestinian prisoners who fall ill and are often neglected by the Israeli authorities.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, in a statement carried by official news agency WAFA, "called on the worldwide community to save the life of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails".

Israeli authorities argue administrative detention protects at-risk informants and is needed for the country's security.

Marwan Barghouti, a high-profile prisoner who enjoys broad support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, called for the "Freedom and Dignity" strike.

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Barghouti further accuses Israel of "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions, writing that "Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence".

He added that hundreds of detainees intend to join the strike in the coming few days.

"Barghouti is not a prisoner", she said in a statement.

Palestinians consider those held in Israeli jails as national heroes.

According to Shakir, a mass hunger strike is an attempt by Palestinian prisoners to shed light on such practices that raise serious questions about Israel's policies under global law.

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