Palestinian bloggers called to join prisoner hunger strike


Palestine’s Prisoners – Worldwide Event Oct 12,2011 | Pictures | Topic | Category


+972 Magazine | Joseph Dana | October 10, 2011

On 27 September 2011, activists with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) launched a prisoner hunger strike in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians prisoners in Israeli jails. Rallies have been held throughout the West Bank in support of the hunger strike and now activists are calling on bloggers throughout the world to join.

Prisoner rally in Ramallah last week. Photo by Activestills.org

Prisoner rally in Ramallah last week. Photo by Activestills.org

Ramallah–Protesting the treatment of Palestinian political prisoners, members of the PFLP started a hunger strike in Israeli prisons on 27 September 2011 and set up a number of solidarity tents throughout West Bank cities. In Ramallah, dozens of PFLP and Fatah youth movement members marched through the streets, chanting for better prison conditions for Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was set to visit the main Ramallah support tent at the time of this writing.

Palestinian prisoners in the Gilboa prison have lead the hunger strike demanding better access to lawyers and the end to the policy of solitary confinement. Prisoners throughout the Israeli military prison network are now refusing meals and suffering the consequences of prolonged hunger and thirst. According to Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Karaki, the catalyst for the strike was Israel’s insistence on shackling prisoners during family visits. Among other demands, are that Israel ends its policy of denying prisoners books and newspapers as well as the routine denial of family visits. According to activists, the Israeli prison authorities are not providing the hunger striking prisoners with necessary medical services.

The hunger strike’s demands hinge on ending the isolation for all political prisons and especially that of senior PFLP prisoners such as the group’s general secretary, Ahmad Saadat. Saadat is currently serving a 30 year sentence for his role in the assassination of Israeli politician Rehavam Ze’evi. The Palestinian prisoner support and human rights association Addameer have been instrumental in promoting the hunger strike.

According to the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, Israeli prison authorities have resorted to collectively isolating 53 striking prisoners in a special section in Shatta Prison. Authorities are also reportedly barring lawyers from visiting prisoners on strike.

Bloggers in Palestine announced today a solidarity hunger strike lasting one day for Wednesday. Using Facebook, activists and bloggers have planned a number of solidarity demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Europe. Last Friday’s weekly demonstrations against the occupation and the separation wall were held in solidarity with the prisoners. On Wednesday, a general strike is planned for the entire West Bank and thousands are expected to take to the streets in support of the prisoners.

Few outside observers have been granted access to Israeli military prisons. According to international medical aid and prisoner rights organizations, prison conditions are primitive, with most prisoners housed in outdoor tents throughout the heat of the summer and the cold winter months. Israel is routinely criticized by international NGO’s such as Human Rights Watch and Defence of Child International for their treatment of Palestinian prisoners. Hunger strikes are nothing new for Palestinian political prisoners. In 1976, prisoners in the Ashkelon prison held a hunger strike for 45 days.

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