Palestinian prisoners just launched a mass hunger strike

Jerome Frank
April 18, 2017

On this year's Prisoners' Day, Israel holds approximately 6300 Palestinian political prisoners, 300 children and approximately 56 females (including 13 female children) as well as an estimated 500 Palestinians in administrative detention (including 2 children), held for indefinite periods without charge or trial. He doesn't mention the crimes for which he was convicted, claiming that "an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by global observers".

Some organizations have reportedly voiced their support for the strike, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF), the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), and a number of Hamas prisoners.

"There will be an update later".

Barghouti is serving five life sentences after being convicted in an Israeli court of directing lethal attacks during the Second Intifada, in a trial in which he refused to offer a defence, maintaining the court was illegitimate.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's office called on Israel to respond to the prisoners' demands for "freedom and dignity".

Top Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called on the global community to bring an end to the "inhumane" treatment of Palestinian prisoners, which she said was in violation of the Geneva Convention.

About 5,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons, a number which has grown in the past 18 months after a wave of violence.

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Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Barghouti wrote that Israeli prisons have become the "cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination".

The striking prisoners are demanding access to phones, extended visiting rights and better medical service. Many Palestinians see Barghouti as a potential future leader of the Palestinian Authority, despite his prison sentence.

Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty, declared: "Israel's ruthless policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

It also stated that "in accordance with the policy set by the minister of public security, the Prison Service does not negotiate with the prisoners". He condemned what he called Israel's intransigence in the face of "fair" prisoner demands.

The strike was scheduled to coincide with Palestinian "Prisoners Day," an annual event held in solidarity with the more than 6,000 Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails.

PHROC therefore called on the International Criminal Court to immediately open an investigation into the case of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and bring those who have tortured, extrajudicially executed, forcibly transferred, and arbitrary detained Palestinians to be held to accountable.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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