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Palestinian prisoners enter 16th day without food in mass hunger strike

May 2, 2017 1:55 P.M. (Updated: May 6, 2017 10:39 P.M.)
Some of Palestine's most high profile prisoners. From right to left: Marwan Barghouthi, Ahmad Saadat, Karim Yunis, Nael Barghouthi, Fouad Shubaki
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities have continued to impose repressive measures on Palestinians prisoners involved in a mass hunger strike, who entered their 16th day without food on Tuesday, while an Israeli court rejected an appeal presented to allow lawyer visitations to hunger striker Karim Yunis.

Some 1,500 political prisoners launched the open-ended hunger strike on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, under the aegis of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, demanding of basic rights, such as an end to the policies of administrative detention, solitary confinement, and deliberate medical negligence.

Since the strike began, Barghouthi and a number of other hunger strikers have landed in solitary confinement, while scores of others have been dispersed throughout Israel’s network of prisons.

Arbitrary prison transfers are a common Israel Prison Service tactic aiming to suppress resistance among Palestinian prisoners. An already exhausting process, the long journeys and inhumane transportation conditions can be unbearable given the hunger strikers’ weakened healths.

The Media Committee of the Freedom and Dignity Strike -- a joint committee formed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs -- reported that number of transfers took place on Monday.

Bilal Ajarmeh and Haitham Hamdan were transferred from Ashkelon prison to the solitary confinement cells in Eshel prison; Nasser Abu Hmeid, Anas Jaradat, and Muhammad Khaldi were transferred from solitary confinement in Ayalon prison to the solitary confinement in Nitzan; Muhammad Abbas was transferred from solitary confinement at Nitzan to Gilboa prison; and Maslama Thabet and Amad Wreidat were transferred from the solitary confinement in Nitzan to an unknown location.
Map of Israeli prisons and detention centers (Source: Addameer)

Hunger strikers have also been subjected to humiliating raids, had their personal belongings and clothing confiscated, and been barred from receiving visits from their lawyers and loved ones, among other suppressive measures.

Meanwhile, after lawyers were banned from visiting hunger striking prisoners -- with the exception of Ofer prison and Askhelon prison -- Israel’s central court in Haifa rejected a petition filed by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs to allow Karim Yunis, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, to receive lawyer visits, according to the media committee.

The media committee’s statement also noted that the mother of hunger-striking detainee Muhammad Dalaysha died Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, as Palestinians and international activists continued to organize solidarity demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel, and abroad, activists from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Shadi al-Darbi and Salah Abu al-Jahim, were hospitalized at Martyr Khalil Suliman Hospital in Jenin after they undertook hunger strikes in solidarity with the prisoners, the committee reported.
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