Middle East

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails begin hunger strike

Demonstrators take part in a rally in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in Gaza City

Demonstrators take part in a rally in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in Gaza City April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta

GAZA/RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails began a hunger strike on Monday in response to a call by prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, widely seen as a possible future Palestinian president.

Palestinians termed the open-ended strike a protest against poor conditions and an Israeli policy of detention without trial that has been applied against thousands since the 1980s.

Israel said the move by the prisoners, many of whom were convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israel, was politically motivated.

The protest was led by Barghouti, 58, a leader of the mainstream Fatah movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization, serving five life terms after being convicted of murder in the killing of Israelis in a 2000-2005 uprising.

The strike, if sustained, could present a challenge to Israel and raise tensions between the two sides as the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip approaches in June.

Israeli troops and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip, now run by Hamas Islamists, in 2005, but peace talks on the creation of a Palestinian state collapsed with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2014.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Monday, Barghouti said a strike was the only way to gain concessions after other options had failed.

“Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses … Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and medical negligence. Some have been killed while in detention,” he wrote.



Israel denies Palestinian inmates are mistreated and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the Barghouti-led protest was “prompted by internal Palestinian politics and therefore includes unreasonable demands”.

Palestinian officials said some 1,500 inmates affiliated with all political factions including rival Fatah and Hamas were taking part in the protest. An Israel Prisons Service spokesman said some 1,100 inmates at eight jails had joined the strike.

Almost 6,500 Palestinians are being held in 22 Israeli prisons, said Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club that advocates on behalf of the inmates.

The Prisoners’ Club said a main demand was for Israel to halt detention without trial for some 500 Palestinians currently being held, and for an end to solitary confinement.

The strikers also want better medical treatment and that disabled inmates or those suffering chronic illness be freed, access to more television channels and more phone contact with relatives and more family visits.

The strike prompted a large rally in Gaza and a protest broke out near the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem where Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli forces.

Palestinians consider brethren held in Israeli jails as national heroes. Long-term mass hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners are rare, but in past cases of individual inmates who stopped eating for weeks, detention terms were shortened or not renewed after they were hospitalised in critical condition.

Erdan said a field hospital would be erected next to one prison – an apparent move to pre-empt transfers to civilian medical facilities, which could draw wider media attention.

Abbas, 82, said in a statement that efforts would continue to secure prisoners’ freedom. He condemned what he called Israel’s intransigence in the face of “fair” prisoner demands.

(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Ori Lewis, Jeffrey Heller and Alison Williams)


1 reply »

  1. They are terrorist and not prisoners!
    Those terrorists murdered and injured children, women, orders, and tourists!
    The terrorists are not following Geneva war convections.
    They are not entitled to Geneva war protection

    *Definition of Prisoner:
    a person captured in war, especially a member of the armed forces of a nation who is taken by the enemy during combat.
    • Definition of terrorist::
    use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.
    The terrorist Marwan Barghouti, was convicted for his involvement terrorist attacks in Israel killing people and of conspiring to commit a crimes.

    Terrorists should know that acting against civilians seals their fate for life.
    They should be treated like murderous criminals and striped up from any benefits- never released – and should be treated the same way the terrorists treat captured Israelis!

    -Despite being terrorists they enjoy studding, newspapers,watching TV, phone calls and letters with family, defended by lawyers,.
    -Israelis in terrorist captivity don’t have any connection with the outside world.
    Terrorist will not tell an Israeli lives or is death.
    The Palestinian pays a high monthly salary to the terrorist families
    20% of the funds allocated by the international contributors are used to support terrorists.
    The funds should be decreased by the same percentage


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s