#PalHunger | Hamas warns Israel: expect the worst if hunger strikers die

Al Akhbar Friday, May 4, 2012

A leader of Hamas on Friday warned Israel there would be consequences if any of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike dies in jail.

“You must realize that the hunger strike isn’t a party, and we could be surprised by the death of some of them,” Khalil al-Haya said at a solidarity tent for the strikers in the center of Gaza City.

“If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected from us,” he said.

Two Palestinians, Bilal Diab, 34, and 27-year-old Thaer Halahla, have been on hunger strike for 66 days.

The two have been joined on hunger strike by at least 1,550 Palestinian prisoners, the bulk of whom began refusing food on April 17.

“We are [prepared] to ready armies to free our prisoners…We have the means to mobilize and for combat,” Haya said.

The two men are protesting against their continued detention without trial, under a system known as administrative detention that allows Israel to detain people without trial indefinitely.

Earlier this year the hunger strikes of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi led to increased international criticism of the system, but since then there has been little indication Israel was considering abandoning detention without trial.

On Wednesday Sahar Francis, head of the Palestinian prisoners’ rights charity Addameer, said it was unlikely Israel would strike a deal, as they had done with Khader Adnan.

Asked if she thought Thiab and Halahleh could die in the coming days, she said, “Unfortunately if Israel is insisting on their position that these people remain in administrative detention, then the detainees will continue in their hunger strike and we will be in a situation where I am afraid that is what will happen.”

“We could lose these two detainees or others of course, because even being 50 days in hunger strike it doesn’t mean you are still in good condition, you never know when the body could collapse,” she told Al-Akhbar.

The Islamic Jihad movement has threatened to no longer observe a truce with Israel if one of the hunger-strikers were to die.

Rallies in solidarity with the prisoners were staged on Friday across the Palestinian territories, with about 2,000 gathering in Ramallah in the West Bank.

The hunger strikers are calling for improved prison conditions, including increased access to lawyers and family visits, an end to solitary confinement, and an end to administrative detention.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)



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