Palestinian inmates escalate hunger strike

2012-05-11 16:26

Gaza - Hundreds of Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli jails said on Friday they would shun vitamin supplements and prison clinics in an escalation of their mass protest against detention conditions.

"We swear we will not retreat. We are potential martyrs. Either we live in dignity or die," prisoner organisers said in a letter announcing the move and which was read out by Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Islamist Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, during a demonstration.

An estimated 1 600 inmates out of 4 800 launched the hunger strike on 17 April to demand improved conditions in Israeli custody, such as an end to solitary confinement and more family visits.

 They have also challenged Israel's policy of indefinite detention without charge of suspected Palestinian militants.

The fate of the hunger strikers has touched a raw nerve among Palestinians, with daily support rallies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and political leaders warning that Israel could face new violence should any prisoner die.

Dozens of Palestinians, including militants and politicians who had served terms in Israeli jails in the past, have gone on hunger strikes in tents put up in solidarity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which witnessed daily heavy attendance by residents and visitors from Arab and foreign countries.

The prisoners include Islamists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which reject peace with the Jewish state, as well as members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's secular and Western-backed Fatah movement.

Defending detention policy

Israel says all prisoners receive adequate medical attention, including in civilian hospitals if required.

A Prisons Service spokesperson said there was no immediate sign of the hunger strike being stepped up.

"As of now, I know that those who should be receiving extra care are receiving it," the spokesperson, Sivan Weizman, said.

Defending its so-called "administrative detention" policy, Israel says some cases cannot immediately be brought to open court for fear of exposing Palestinian intelligence sources that have co-operated with Israeli security organs against militants.

Two inmates who helped launch the hunger strike, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla of Islamic Jihad, were in the 74th day of their fast on Friday.

Anat Litvin of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel quoted Halahleh's doctor as saying his death could be imminent.

"What is very worrisome is the fact that he said that he doesn't want to be saved if something happens to him and he loses consciousness," Litvin said, adding that the Prisons Service's medical facilities might prove inadequate.

"They don't have the equipment, they don't have the expertise; constant follow-up that is very much needed is not available," she said Television in Tel Aviv.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-11 17:54

    keep it up- I am rooting for you- don't let them feed you- you have sworn so you can never eat again

      Jerzy - 2012-05-11 20:39

      If that's the case Tony, don't you believe that the Palestinians have a right to resist occupation and apartheid by any means necessary.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 20:59

      Yes they do Jerzy, except there's no occupation or Apartheid. What an absurd idea. You're still misperceiving the true reality.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 19:54

      The legitimate Palestine, not the made-up one filled with tragic martyr and victim manipulation.

  • michael.falatsi - 2012-05-11 17:56

    our right wing white south africans should go to israel i bet those rasist jews would welcome them with warm hands after all they have the same thilthy mentality they think they are supiriour

      Dave - 2012-05-11 18:17

      michael, we should send our disgraceful super-sized metro cops to their jail, they would survive a hunger strike for about 20years! You racist twat, learn to spell, you are an embarrassment to yourself!

      Jaba - 2012-05-11 18:21

      so are these some of your racists michael... Madiba's very close friends and/or those who helped him with our struggle: Rabbi CK Harris (ztl), Ann Harris, Alon Liel, Helen Suzman, Tony Leon, Benjamin Pogrund, Howard Sackstein, Bertie Lubner, Eric Samson, Meyer Kahn, Raymond Ackerman, Philip Krawits, Mendel Kaplan, David Sussman, Solly Krok etc etc. I will not tell to which family above i belong to - but trust me when i tell you we ain't the racists on this forum. time you took a hard long look in the mirror.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-05-11 18:37

      Israelis have every reason to defend themselves in whatever means necessary.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 19:46

      The racist is you, obviously. Unfortunately you're blinding yourself to it.

  • Jerzy - 2012-05-11 20:36

    Louis, keep it up, I'm rooting for you not to make a comment again.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 21:09

      I welcome your views Jerzey, even though they're completely wrong.

  • dave.kofang - 2012-05-12 04:13

    As a black South African I know how the Palestinians feel.Being killed,humiliated and forcefully removed from their homes everyday.They are called terrorist for fighting for their land.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 08:47

      Wrong. They are pretending to be victimized. They attack Israel almost every day. What do you expect Israel to do? What would you expect South Africa to do if it was attacked almost every day?

      dave.kofang - 2012-05-12 10:28

      @Fred as long as people like you still deny palestian suffering, there will never be peace in Israel.Why cant they just withdraw from the occupied territories?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 15:50

      I don't deny the Palestinians are suffering. Their suffering is obvious. They're creating their own suffering by wanting to destroy Israel, and their unrelenting almost daily attacks on her. They even teach their children in Kindergarten to attack Israel. Children. Kindergarten. There are no "occupied territories". This is a misnomer. Israel was invaded twice, full military invasions, in the 1960's. She managed to survive and push the invaders back. By the rules of war, she got to keep the territory she gained. This is an important rule. It is meant to dissuade invasions. If you don't want to loose territory, don't invade your neighbor. The other part of the suffering, a major part, is a tragic martyr and victim manipulation they're presenting to you and the world. The more they can show themselves to be suffering, the more it appears as if Israel is responsible. Martyr and victim. I attack you, you defend yourself. I cry victim and play the martyr. This is what you're seeing, not seeing through. All they have to do to have peace and prosperity is recognize the right of Israel to exist and end their almost daily attacks. That's it. Two choices, followed by decisions.

  • Garth - 2012-05-12 10:03

    Rightly or wrongly, it takes courage to do what they doing..

      Larry - 2012-05-14 12:50

      Courage is often confused with stupidity. banging your head against a brick wall is not courageous.

  • lenzi.marques - 2012-05-12 18:03 This is picture depicting Palestineian/Isreali territorial shifts in 1946-1948-1967-2000 Words are cheap.. Judge for yourself.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 19:02

      Ethicsbob is a Jihadist website. Wordpress is a blog site.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 19:18

      Correction: they're both blog sites.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 19:53

    The legitimate Palestine, not the made-up one filled with tragic martyr and victim manipulation.

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