Tuesday, May 09, 2017
It is time the global community rallies more forcefully to join the Palestinian people in supporting the almost 900 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, who have succeeded in taking their hunger strike into a fourth week. The prisoners seek the restoration of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial. It is very encouraging that both leading political parties have demonstrated their solidarity with the prisoners. West Bank-based Fatah has been behind them from the start, and the new leader of Gaza-based Hamas, Ismail Haniya, has made a point by visiting the solidarity tent soon after his election. They have been backed by the vast majority of Palestinians who have rallied all over the Occupied Territories to show their support for their fellow Palestinians.
The Israelis are taking increasingly drastic action to try and break the strike. The Israel Prison Service has escalated raids and use of solitary confinement against prisoners and has banned them from using the prison yards. This has meant that many hunger strikers have been forced into solitary confinement and have been dispersed all over Israel’s prisons, where they face assault, nightly cell raids, confiscation of personal belongings and terrible conditions in their cells. One hunger striker is Mohammad Al Qiq, famous for undertaking a 94-day solitary hunger strike that brought him near death in 2016. This time, he has lost six kilograms and is suffering from chronic dizziness and vomiting. But the strike will continue with all the strikers facing grave risks to their health.
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