Saturday, 15 December, 2018

More Than 1000 Palestinians In Israeli Prisons Go On Hunger Strike

Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 07:45

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails began a hunger strike on Monday.

Israeli media slammed a recent column by Barghouti that was published in the New York Times, in which he explained the rationale for his hunger strike, criticizing the paper for failing to mention that Barghouti had been jailed for murder as a leader of Fatah's armed wing.

The reports about the conversation between Zomlot and Ratney stated that the Palestinian envoy, who is considered one of the closest people to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, emphasized the "dire situation" of the prisoners.

Israel Prison Service, which "has past experience in dealing with hunger strikes and has the means to contain them", was transferring striking prisoners to separate cell blocks, she said in a statement.

As the strike for better conditions involving more than 1,100 prisoners in eight prisons entered its second day, the Israeli authorities moved swiftly to contain the protest, dispersing key figures to different prisons and ordering searches to prevent inmates sending messages.

Because Barghouti highlights two of Israel's most pernicious lies: that there is no one to talk to on the Palestine side (when in fact it is the Palestinians who are still seeking a partner for peace), and that the resistance to Israel's occupation is violent.

Palestinians regard the detainees as political prisoners.

Others are detained under so-called Administrative Detention, which allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals.

Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoners' affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said that "around 1,300 Palestinian prisoners" were participating in the hunger strike and the number could rise.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he had read the Sunday article in the Times that "presents arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a "parliamentarian and leader".

Israeli officials said some 1,100 prisoners joined the strike on Monday.

Palestinians consider those held in Israeli jails as national heroes.

Barghouti, now serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in deadly terror attacks during the second intifada (uprising), accused Israel of "inhumane" treatment of prisoners and "judicial apartheid" in a New York Times opinion piece published Sunday outlining the reasoning for the strike. The Prisons Service did not initially comment on his status. Israeli rule over the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured during the 1967 war and claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state, reaches the half-century mark in June.

In a punitive measure, Israel's prison service transferred Barghouti to solitary confinement in a different prison. Building new settlements in the occupied territories is considered a violation of global law.

The terrorists are demanding better conditions, additional visitations from relatives (cancelled by the Red Cross due to budgetary costs), no more solitary confinement and the release of 500 administrative detainees.