Hamas: Crackdowns on hunger strikes will increase prisoners’ will


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[ 05/10/2011 – 08:57 PM ]

GAZA, WEST BANK, (PIC)– Hamas has said crackdowns in the face of a mass hunger strike rocking the Israeli prisons would only bolster the determination of the Palestinian captives as solidarity with them has been expressed in the Palestinian street in many ways.

In a fresh statement; Hamas downplayed a series of crackdowns in response to the hunger strike joined by thousands and lauded the Palestinian prisoners for standing firm in their demands.

“We promise that that we will remain faithful to (the prisoners) and their cause and that (their cause) will remain at the top of our national priorities, and we will strive to liberate them, and we assure them and the entire world that Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit will not enjoy freedom until our captives enjoy it,” Hamas said on Wednesday, urging for more solidarity and support for the prisoners’ cause.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hamas called on the media to support the prisoners as they face more and more suppression and tighter restrictions as the hunger strike gains momentum.

Hamas warned that prisoners have experienced “suppressive raids on cells in order to discourage them from continuing the strike and break their will” after the hunger strike was declared some eight days ago.

Prison authority rejects demands

Waed prisoner rights society, which has been closely following the hunger strike since its onset, has warned that conditions in the Israeli prisons would soon take a turn for the worst after the Israeli Prison Service has refused to listen to the demands of the prisoners unless the hunger strike is broken.

Since the strike began, intelligence officers inside the prisons have made threats of further restrictions and crackdowns if the strike continues, Waed said, quoting sources inside the prisons.

MP Khalid Taqish (Bethlehem) met noon Wednesday with the director the Red Cross in Bethlehem, West Bank, to discuss some of the most important matters pertaining to the Palestinian prisoners.

The Popular Resistance Committees in Palestine called for the capture of more Israeli soldiers to exchange for Palestinian captives, confirming that the prisoners’ cause is a top priority for the resistance.

“The only way to save our captives from the ‘fangs of the Zionist cells’ which eat away the flesh of their lives is through resistance,” the PRC said.

Demands or death

Nael al-Barghouthi, the dean of Palestinian prisoners and longest held prisoner in the world, has confirmed that the Palestinian prisoners would continue the strike until their demands are met or until they achieve martyrdom, in a letter to Waed prisoner society in Gaza.

The Palestinian Freedom Movement has described the hunger strike as a battle of determination and will as the “Zionist enemy has not only deprived the prisoners of their freedom but deprived them of their rights guaranteed by international law”.

In a statement on Friday, PFM (Ahrar) spokesman Mustafa al-Qayshawi declared that supporting the Palestinian captives at the time of strike was comparable to supporting Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Outburst of solidarity

Thousands rallied in Al-Khalil and the families of the captives declared a hunger strike during a sit-in at Martyrs Circle downtown Nablus in response to calls by Hamas for “an outburst of solidarity” with the prisoners on strike.

On Tuesday, hundreds of university students in Gaza joined the Islamic parliamentary bloc in the first of a series of rallies organized by Hamas, as the party has vowed not to forsake the prisoners.

Marchers headed for the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza demanding the immediate release of the prisoners.

The march was also joined by a delegation of aid workers from Malaysia. The delegation confirmed that the prisoners’ cause is a cause pertaining to all Arabs and Muslims.

Moreover, the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said a group of former Palestinian captives in the Israeli prisons have declared an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners who remain behind bars.

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