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Nativity Church deportees in Gaza to undertake solidarity hunger strike

May 9, 2017 4:24 P.M. (Updated: May 9, 2017 7:12 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians who were deported to the besieged Gaza Strip following the deadly Israeli siege of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem in 2002 said they would undertake a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with hundreds of Palestinian who are on the 23rd day of a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

A representative of the deportees, Fahmi Kanaan, said in a statement that they, along with their family members still residing in Bethlehem, would launch the strike on Wednesday, May 10, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of their exile.

Kanaan said that Nativity Church deportees in both the Gaza Strip and in European countries, as well as their families, have been supporting the hunger strikers and their demands since the beginning of the mass hunger strike on April 17.

“We were also prisoners in Israeli jails and know well the suffering our heroic prisoners are facing," he added, affirming that the deportees would not give up on their “national duty” to support political prisoners.

The deportees in Gaza will hold their annual news conference at 2 p.m on Wednesday in Gaza City to officially announce their hunger strike.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs has called upon the Palestinian people and all their supporters worldwide to undertake an international day of fasting on Thursday in solidarity with the mass hunger strike.

A number of prominent figures have also launched solidarity hunger strikes in recent days, including Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church, who reportedly announced Sunday his intentions to undertake a strike the following day, while Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khalid and Catholic patriarch Gregory III Lahham who announced their strikes on Saturday.

In addition, protests across the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel, and abroad have been staged daily since the hunger strike began.
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