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Dozens of Palestinians protest outside Israel's Barzilai hospital in solidarity with hunger strikers

Aug. 9, 2016 9:33 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2016 4:07 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians protested on Tuesday in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinians held in Israeli prisons in front of Israel’s Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, where hunger striker Bilal Kayid has remained handcuffed to a hospital bed as his health continues to deteriorate.

Palestinian members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, as well as other Palestinian leaders and activists in Israel took part in the protest, according to Israeli media.

On the other side of the street, some 100 right-wing Israeli Jews protested the action.

Israeli media reported that both protests were under heavy security by the Israeli police due to fears that clashes would erupt between participants of each group.

Solidarity hunger strikes were first launched among Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)-affiliated prisoners in support of Kayid, now going on 56 days without food, and quickly spread across Israel’s prisons in protest of Israel’s use of administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial used almost exclusively against Palestinians.

Kayid is one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike before he was finally released in May.

Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul also began hunger strikes in the beginning of July in protest of being sentenced to six months of administrative detention. Like Kayid, whose condition has been described as “near death” by his lawyer, the brothers’ conditions have been rapidly deteriorating since the start of their strikes.

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