Rabat - Around 1,500 Palestinian inmates held in Israeli prisons have started a mass hunger strike to denounce the conditions of their captivity. They are led by Fatah prisoner and leader, Marwan Barghouti. A Palestinian official made the announcement on Monday.
Rabat – Around 1,500 Palestinian inmates held in Israeli prisons have started a mass hunger strike to denounce the conditions of their captivity. They are led by Fatah prisoner and leader, Marwan Barghouti. A Palestinian official made the announcement on Monday.
The protest includes members of Fatah as well as prisoners from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
Spokesperson for the Israeli penitentiaries administration, Assaf Librati, confirmed that “700 prisoners announced on Sunday their intention to start a hunger strike.” The strike has widespread political support given the fact that it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the Palestinian territories and with the annual Palestinian Prisoner’s Day.
According to Sky News, the Palestinian Prisoners Club is quoting the number of hunger strike participants as 1500. As far as demands are concerned, the prisoners are asking for access to phones, better visitation and improved medical care. Israel’s Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, is calling the demands “unreasonable,” according to Israeli public radio.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, and the Palestinian National Council have announced their support for the strike.
Fatah prisoner and chief architect of the strike, Marwan Barghouti, is currently serving a life sentence for his part in the 2nd Palestinian Intifada.
According to the same source, as part of an article for the New York Times, Barghouti explained that “Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation… In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.”
Approximately 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons. Of this number, it is estimated that about 300 are minors and 500 are classified as administrative detainees, meaning they can be held indefinitely without charges or trial.