Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa and Hadarim prisons voted unanimously to participate in a collective prisoners’ hunger strike that is scheduled to begin on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, 17 April. Discussions within Israeli prisons about a collective hunger strike have been taking place for some time across political factions and throughout all organizations; earlier this month, Fateh prisoners announced their demands for the strike and their representative, imprisoned Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi.

Demands of the strike include a strong focus on family visits, including the denial of family visits to Palestinian prisoners by various Israeli agencies, including the Israel Prison Service and the Shin Bet, as well as the cuts to these visits implemented by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In addition, prisoners’ demands also focus on achieving proper medical treatment for sick prisoners, an end to the abuse of prisoners during transfer via the “bosta” and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention.

Wadah Bizreh, representative of the Fateh prisoners in Gilboa, said that all prisoners’ sections voted to join the strike. The prisoners in Gilboa include 430 Palestinian prisoners associated with Fateh and 70 prisoners from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In Hadarim prison, there are 120 Palestinian political prisoners, held in 40 cells with three prisoners in each; 65 are Fateh prisoners, 27 with Hamas, 16 with Islamic Jihad, 5 with the PFLP and 3 with the DFLP. All voted to participate in the collective hunger strike on 17 April. In addition, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission reported that Akram Abu Bakr, one of the strike coordinators in Ramon prison, was transferred to Gilboa prison, while Hamza Taqtouq and Kamal Abu ‘Ar were transferred from Ramon to Hadarim. Abu Bakr announced that he would begin a hunger strike in protest of the arbitrary transfers meant to undermine the hunger strike.