Sunday, Oct. 22
Latest News
  1. Israeli forces raid refugee camp, ransack homes in search of weapons
  2. Israeli forces detain Palestinian for allegedly planning attack
  3. Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teen sailing off Gaza coast
  4. Trump's envoy conditions Palestinian reconciliation on disarming Hamas
  5. Two Hamas fighters injured in training accident in Gaza
  6. Israel demolishes 2 Palestinians homes in Hebron-area village
  7. Armed Israeli soldier wounded by rock in overnight raid
  8. Two Palestinians detained after crossing Gaza border fence into Israel
  9. Israeli forces detain 32 Palestinians in overnight raids
  10. Israel advances more than 2,000 settlement housing units in one week

50 Palestinian political leaders to join mass prisoner hunger strike in Israeli custody

May 3, 2017 5:10 P.M. (Updated: May 4, 2017 11:56 A.M.)
Some of Palestine's most high-profile prisoners. From right to left: Marwan Barghouthi, Ahmad Saadat, Karim Yunis, Nael Barghouthi, Fouad Shubaki
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fifty leaders of the Palestinian prisoners' movement from all major political factions pledged to join a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons that entered its 17th day on Wednesday, the prisoners' committee of the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces said in a statement.

Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners launched the strike on April 17, with scores of others joining in waves in the days since. The prisoners have only been consuming salt and water during the strike, without additives, vitamins, or other supplements.

Among the 50 prisoners set to begin the strike on Thursday are Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Saadat, head of Hamas’ prisoners leadership committee Abbas al-Sayyid, and head of the Islamic Jihad’s prisoners supreme leadership committee Zayid Bseisi.

The statement also called upon all Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and in the diaspora, as well as on all Arab and Muslim nations and international institutions to unite and support the prisoners’ struggle.

Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer said on Twitter on Wednesday that after 17 days of forgoing food, “standing up may become difficult or even impossible” for the hunger strikers -- who are refusing food in demand of basic rights, such as an end to the denial of family visits, the right to access distance higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and imprisonment without charge or trial.

Former political prisoner, PFLP member, and parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar said at a joint press conference Wednesday morning that fellow PFLP leader Ahed Abu Ghulmeh would also join the strike the following day, Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samidoun reported.

The report said that 16 Islamic Jihad members in Ramon prison would also join the hunger strike.

On Tuesday, it was announced that hunger strikers affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) would begin refusing water on May 7 if the Israel Prison Service (IPS) continued to ignore the demands of the mass hunger strike, when the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, also issued an ominous warning to Israeli authorities.

According to Samidoun, three Jordanian prisoners -- Riyad Saleh, Abdallah Abu Jaber and Raafat al-Asaas -- out of the 23 Jordanian prisoners in Israeli custody, have joined the hunger strike. The National Committee for Imprisoned and Missing Jordanians issued a statement on May 3 highlighting their involvement in the strike and urging international and Arab action to support the hunger strikers.

Syrian prisoner Sidiqi al-Maqt, from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, also joined the strike on April 19.

Since the strike began, over 20 prisoners have been taken to hospitals and clinics and a number of prisoners have reportedly fainted during the strike, Samidoun said.

Israeli authorities have also imposed repressive measures on hunger strikers, with a number of them having landed in solitary confinement, while scores of others have been dispersed throughout Israel’s network of prisons in attempt to break the will of hunger-striking prisoners.

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 Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs to allow Karim Yunis, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, to receive lawyer visits, on Tuesday.

The Israeli Supreme Court decided on Wednesday afternoon that lawyers should be allowed to visit hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, adding that lawyer visitations could resume by late Thursday afternoon.

The ruling echoed an earlier decision by the Israeli Ministry of Justice, which Palestinian lawyers had however said was not being observed by IPS, as they said that prison officials had “continued stalling and obstructing visits.”

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Israeli authorities on Wednesday to abide by international humanitarian law and resume family visitations for hunger striking prisoners.

"Families are paying the price for this situation," Jacques de Maio, ICRC head in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. "Since 1968, the ICRC has been facilitating family visits to detainees held in Israel. Let us be very clear however that this is first and foremost the responsibility of the state of Israel as occupying power.”
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2017