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Sit-in staged in front of ICRC building in support of Palestinian hunger strikers

May 7, 2017 1:15 P.M. (Updated: May 7, 2017 1:16 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinians organized a sit-in outside of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah for the third week in a row on Saturday, defying an Israeli decision that banned demonstrations being organized in front of the building.

Jerusalemites held pictures of Palestinian prisoners, roses, and signs depicting water and salt -- the only sustenance that hundreds of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners have been consuming since an open-ended hunger strike launched in Israeli prisons on April 17.

Israeli police were deployed in the area and took pictures of Palestinian demonstrators.

Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, said that despite threats issued by Israeli forces at demonstrators at the sit-in, Jerusalemites would continue to hold solidarity events to support Palestinian prisoners.

Head of Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in Jerusalem Nasser Qaws said that Israeli police deployed in the area about 30 minutes before the sit-in started, noting that Israel has banned solidarity events from being organized there under the pretext that the ICRC is a “municipal public utility.”

Qaws affirmed that the sit-ins organized in front of ICRC headquarters have been completely peaceful, despite claims to the contrary by Israeli authorities.

He argued that Israeli forces have been attempting to suppress Palestinian voices in Jerusalem to shield their struggle from the outside world, but said that “this voice and the prisoners’ voice will not be silenced -- we will continue these solidarity events until the prisoners’ demands for humane treatment are met.”

The ICRC faced anger last year when it reduced the number of monthly visits it facilitates from two times a month to just one.

Last month, three days into the "Freedom and Dignity" hunger strike, unknown assailants opened fire at the ICRC headquarters in Hebron City in the southern occupied West Bank.

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